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Adventures in democracy : a history of the vote in New Zealand / Neill Atkinson.

By: Atkinson, Neill.
Contributor(s): New Zealand. Electoral Commission.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Otago history series: Publisher: Dunedin, N.Z. : University of Otago Press in association with the Electoral Commission, 2003Description: 319 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 1877276588 (pbk.) :.Subject(s): Women -- Suffrage -- New Zealand | Democracy -- New Zealand -- History | Elections -- New Zealand -- History | Voting -- New Zealand -- History | Political culture -- New Zealand -- History | Suffrage -- New Zealand -- History | New Zealand -- Politics and government | New Zealand. Parliament | Elections -- New Zealand | Electoral Processes | New Zealand -- Politics and governmentDDC classification: 324.60993
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Copy number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Heritage & Archives Alexander Library | Te Rerenga Mai o Te Kauru
Heritage Collections
Reference - not for loan 324 ATK 1 Reference Only T00389756
Total holds: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In the first comprehensive history of the vote and elections published in New Zealand, Neill Atkinson traces the evolution of a distinctive democracy since the beginning of representative government in the 1850s. From the creation of Maori seats in 1867 and the world-leading women's suffrage legislation of 1893, to the dramatic transition to proportional representation in the 1990s, New Zealand's democratic innovations have been shaped by pragmatism, principles and personalities. Illustrated with over 100 photographs, cartoons and posters, this book also looks at how elections were organized, how candidates and political parties ran their campaigns, and how the new media of radio and television changed elections forever.

Includes bibliographical references (p. [257]-264) and index.

2 5 7 11 12 22 27 74 89 102 115 149 159

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Foreword (p. 7)
  • Acknowledgements (p. 8)
  • Introduction (p. 9)
  • 1 'Lilliputian Politics and Teapot Tempests', 1853-70 (p. 23)
  • 2 From a Privilege to a Right, 1870-90 (p. 53)
  • 3 Liberals, Feminists and Wowsers, 1890-1908 (p. 81)
  • 4 Turbulent Years, 1908-35 (p. 115)
  • 5 Two-Party Politics, 1935-66 (p. 145)
  • 6 A Crisis of Confidence, 1966-84 (p. 177)
  • 7 Searching for a Better Democracy, 1984-2002 (p. 201)
  • Conclusion: Pragmatism and Principle (p. 235)
  • Appendices
  • A Key Dates in Electoral Reform, 1852-2002 (p. 241)
  • B General Elections, 1853-2002 (p. 244)
  • C Seats Held by Political Parties after General Elections, 1890-1993 (p. 247)
  • D Seats Held by Political Parties after MMP General Elections, 1996-2002 (p. 252)
  • E Electoral Administrators, 1905-2002 (p. 254)
  • Bibliography (p. 257)
  • Notes (p. 265)
  • Index (p. 311)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Atkinson's study on the evolution of New Zealand's electoral system, which explores "the central role of the vote in shaping New Zealand's self-image as a democratic social laboratory," is a fascinating portrait of that nation's political history from 1853 to the present. Despite the fact that New Zealand's political culture inherited key elements from the British Westminster model of parliamentary government, colonial pragmatism and a clear preference for content over form gave rise to significant precedents: the establishment of special Maori representation in 1867, "one of the most distinctive and enduring features of New Zealand politics," and the extension of the franchise to women in 1893, the first country in the world to do so. In the most recent democratic experiment, New Zealand abandoned its "first-past-the-post" system in 1993 for a mixed member proportional (MMP) structure. According to Atkinson (History Group, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NZ), growing pains associated with MMP combined with "public disillusionment with parliamentary politics and signs of increasing disengagement from the political process" demonstrate "that the search for a better democracy is not yet complete." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. O. Gump University of San Diego