Election flashback: 'He's won on a nothing policy' – watch bitter Muldoon concede to Lange in 1984

The plan to call a snap election in 1984 by the then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon was a decision which would go down in history as a plan which spectacularly backfired on its mastermind.

We take a look back to 1984, with National dealt a stunning defeat in an election which saw the highest official turnout of voters in NZ history. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Muldoon surprised the country when he called a snap election for July 14.

He was hoping to catch his opponents unprepared and help boost seats for his party which held a slim two-seat majority in parliament.

"Give me a majority for what we’re trying to do," Mr Muldoon pleaded with the country in the lead up to the election.

July 14, 1984 saw the highest turnout of voters in New Zealand history. A record 93.7 per cent of New Zealanders cast their ballot.

That night a charismatic Labour leader swept Mr Muldoon away and was voted in as the new prime minister of New Zealand.

"He's won on a nothing policy," a bitter Mr Muldoon told reporters on his defeat.

Following the election Mr Muldoon was deposed as leader and sat on the back benches until he resigned in 1991.