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Film showing scenes from the 1954 election

Video file

This feature shows politicians on the hustings during the 1954 election campaign. This election was notable for the first appearance of the Social Credit Political League, which challenged the two-party dominance National and Labour had enjoyed since the late 1930s. The clip also shows voters entering polling booths on election day and people listening to the results being broadcast on the radio that night.

Transcript of narration

Once again, election year!
Political promises, biscuits and beer!
All over the country, the old sweet song
Vote for us, we can do no wrong 

Walter [Nash] had stories of all he had done
To keep those millions in the consolidated fund
Now look at those figures – ten million short!
A lot of baloney, the others retort

Sid [Sidney Holland] claimed prosperity was not just good luck
He’d once ridden a bicycle and that took pluck
Dear voters regard the way that you live
There’s nothing much left in the kitty to give
Nylons, whiskey, imported jam
Well we might give each voter a free Christmas ham 

For those who couldn’t afford to relax
Mr Owen [Social Credit leader, Wilfrid Owen] would wipe income tax

November 13th, election day
The pubs are shut, the politicians pray
It only takes ten minutes to put in your vote
But the country’ll go broke if they shut up the Tote [TAB]

Poor, humble, common man
Always feels like an also-ran
Until it comes to election day
He hardly ever has a say
Then he can stalk into the polling booth
And really let loose 

[sound of election results being read out on radio]

Election night comes once in three years
Another excuse to down a few beers
Walter stays out, Sid stays in
He’s lost a few players
But they managed to win!

Good luck to Hilda [Ross]
Good luck to Sidney
Now, keep down the cost of our steak ‘n’ kidney


Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Reference F11127. Video extract from The elections, Pacific magazine 7, 1954. Courtesy of Pacific Films.

Not to be reused without permission.

How to cite this page

Film showing scenes from the 1954 election, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated