Why fighting for a Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority is worth it and how easy it is to win


When I helped set up MANA it was because no matter how many times I did the math, the Greens and Labour could never be the majority. They always ended up relying on NZ First and when it comes to genuinely progressive legislation, NZ First is one giant brake pedal.

So I argued forming a small party to the left of the Greens using a sub 5% threshold strategy might be the difference.

Last election it could have been.

We forget just how close the last election was even with National winning 47.31% of the vote. Key only managed to form a one vote majority. This election National are facing more challenges from far more serious contenders and are doing so with ever decreasing coalition prospects.

Despite the depressing polls – the reality is that NZ could be in for one of the most progressive Governments it has ever had.

A Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority could offer passage on real reform the like we haven’t seen in 30 years of neoliberalism.

Consider this graph…


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…the difference between kicking this Government out of office and replacing it with a dynamic one that welds social justice back into the framework of the economy is a reality this election. That’s what is so frustrating about the political apathy, so few understand, that under MMP, your vote really does count.


This Government have given us nothing from this economy.

Relying on unsustainable dairy farming, housing speculation and a rebuild from a natural disaster is not an economic policy.

Borrowing billions for tax cuts which in turn subsidises those same elites purchase of state assets that we once all owned is not an economic policy.

Small business moralising rhetoric to hide outrageous corporate welfare is not an economic policy.

John Key is a smile looking for a murder. His easy going dad routine is as manufactured as the downplaying of his  actual wealth. He is a ruthless political foe whose interests are innately his own and have nothing to do with the wider welfare and prosperity of ordinary NZers.

The day a NZ Prime Minister has a Hawaiian holiday mansion is not a day for us to celebrate.

The empty mindless aspiration candy that Key peddles with his so-laid-back-he’s-horizontal style of politics must be overcome with genuine enthusiasm that we can change this little country away from the ruthless corporate warlords towards intelligent and reasonable people as leaders.

David Cunliffe is  a warm, intelligent, funny, smart as hell guy who can work relationships the way a coalition leader will need to. We would be lucky to have the chance of him being PM. Metiria Turei is one of the most trust worthy, honest, hard working, passionate NZers I’ve ever met who could do more for NZ in one term than anyone else I know. Russel Norman has a fierce intellect and command of the economy second to none on the political left. Hone Harawira is one of the great civil rights leaders this country has had in modern times and joined with Laila Harre, a leader of immense intelligence and talent who is universally respected and feared will be a force for progressive politics this country has not seen the likes of.

So how does this all come to pass?

Watch for the Greens to surge: The Greens have shown an MMP sophistication that deserves to be seen as one of the best played so far in the election. Their carbon tax cut and decriminalisation of abortion policies were a deep raid into National’s soft blue vote who have very little loyalty and will see Key flirting with Colin Craig as a total affront to what all their education has taught them. Greens are on track for 15% because of this clever move into National’s soft blue vote.

Cunliffe on the campaign trail: Beyond the manufactured smears and sensationalised news headlines, Labour as a Party Machine is a terrifying thing to behold. They are battle hardened and tested. The surge of members Labour has generated has birthed a renaissance in the electorate offices and this is never acknowledge when considering Labour’s chances. Cunliffe will fire the base the way Goff couldn’t last election, and this will in turn generate momentum during the campaign. Getting Labour up to 32% is all David needs to do.

Where Internet Party are picking up voters: My initial suspicion as to who would be the members and vote seems to have been born out when talking to those inside the Party taking memberships. Asian-NZers are a large part, those who didn’t vote are a next largest and the largest membership increase is from young male urban national voters who voted National by default not design. They saw no room for welcome in the Labour or Green Party’s so have just voted National. They don’t source their income from National’s love affair with Dairy, so see investment into the internet as a major plus they can rally around. They were never particularly ideologically right to begin with and have no problems working with the IMPs broad collection of voices.

MMP tactics and the role of social media: Tactical voting is only effective if a large number of people do it, the problem is getting the same tactic heard everywhere, that’s why social media changes this immensely. Tactical voting guides can be passed from friend to friend virally online and recommended as the means to change the Government. This could be our first real MMP election where the voters are all actively strategic with both their votes.  The Daily Blog will post a progressive voter guide, electorate by electorate for the election.

So what are the hard numbers here for a change of Government? Greens 15% – Labour 32% that leaves IMP to bring 3.5%.


I blogged many moons ago that the meltdown of neoliberalism meant there was no political middle ground any longer and that  the extreme parts of the political spectrum would decide the fate of NZ. The next Government will be decided by either the Conservative Party or Internet MANA.

The very soul of our democracy will be fought over – are we real left or far right?

A Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority is worth fighting for.


  1. Morning Martin, good to see you agree with Key that this election is one between the centre-right and the extreme left. What other ways can you think of to describe the left and right options? crony captialism v sustainable future? …

      • Let’s not cede anything to right wing fantasies here. This is a very pragmatic, reformist, possibilist social democratic left forming up against the centre-right, with a few socially conservative jackanapes tagging along for the ride, pace National’s droit de seigneur

        Far left? I don’t mean these remarks as some carping ultraleft criticism of the parliamentary forces coming together in this election. But one can hardly confer upon these forces the epithet ‘far left’. They are not anti-capitalist except in the fantasies of certain deluded marxoid social democrats, and the paranoia of the right.

  2. Was talking with a Mana Party activist last night at protest action outside Te Papa, where the Nats were have a social function.

    One of the things we discussed was that the Labour, Green, Mana-Internet parties must – as a matter of critical strategy – get behind the Labour candidate in Ohariu.

    Now, I have little love for several Labour Party MPs who were vitriolic in their criticism of the Mana-Internet alliance. Their outbursts were unnecessary, nasty, and ultimately, counter-productive.

    But if we’re to eliminate one of National’s allies (as well as the admittedly unlikely prospect Dunne would pull in an extra MP on his coat-tails, by winning Ohariu), then all Green and Mana-Internet members, supporters, and voters need to cast their electorate vote for the Labour candidate.

    At the 2011 election, Dunne got back in by a majority of electorate 1,646 votes.

    Green candidate, Gareth Hughes, received 1,775 electorate votes.

    That’s 1,775 wasted electorate votes that served no useful purpose.

    Had those Green-supporting voters cast their electorate votes for Labour’s Charles Chauvel, history would have been somewhat different. Dunne would have been thrown out.

    This year, the campaign in Ohariu must get behind the Labour candidate.

    Anyone who sez different is de facto supporting Peter Dunne, and a third term of National.

    • Labour have a strong candidate in Virginia Andersen who will be an outstanding MP as she has strong social justice values. Green voters in Ohariu must vote strategically to rid us of the nasty Nats.
      Dunne is so undeserving of another term he has let NZ down far too often to be allowed to continue to be the MP for Ohariu. Dunne is the Quisling of NZ Politics time for him to be removed from Parliament

      • One of the problems with the GP standing a candidate is that there will always be people who are out of the political loop who will vote GP because they think it’s the right thing to do. Either they don’t get tactical voting, or they missed any subtle or not so subtle messages about the importance of Ōhariu and candidate voting Labour. I don’t know how that can be overcome short the of GP candidate explicitly saying vote Labour, which they will never do.

        Don’t get me started on Labour and the Māori seats.

        • So why do the Greens continue to put up candidates in Ohariu, if they don’t want people to vote for their candidate? Stupidity is one possible explanation.

          • The amount a political party can spend is directly tied to how many electorates they stand in, so for Green to be able to promote the Green Party Vote nation wide they have to stand candidates in every electorate.

  3. Well said.

    The banks have done brilliantly under National. Our debt continues to go through roof and they are the winners.

    Dairy farm debt accordingly goes up as speculation in land for dairy farming goes up similarly and while they are repaying this debt NZ sees little benefit.

    And the big government spend ups on motorways also increases national debt but benefits the roading industry, trucking sectors and the oil companies.

    It was the HSBC that said NZ has a “Rock Star economy” and from their prospective you can see why, these are the golden years for them.

    And these very wealthy vested interests don’t want the current malaise for every day Kiwi’s changed and they want to see a National government returned. They are pulling out all stops and calling in all manner of favours to ensure they do.

    Of course its also no wonder why our so called booming economy is something that is passing most kiwi’s by.

    And this brings me to the Rupert Murdoch revelations where in 1974 he ordered his editors to “kill Whitlam” figuratively speaking.

    Whitlam was no longer to Murdoch’s liking although why is not clear. But this set in play several months of toxic media exposure for Whitlam’s Labor government that saw them slide in popularity and eventually thrown out of office by the then Governor General in 1975.

    Bearing that in mind it is no coincidence that the left and especially David Cunliffe are getting such a pasting in the media at the moment. The wealthy do not want their brand of policies as it will undermine their personal fortunes.

    Somehow Labour/Greens/Mana have to overcome this, but how?

    • In the eyes of many I am wealthy but I would like to see a Labour government. All I see though is a muddled strategy. Every time I post a comment on this site criticising the strategy it is moderated out. I do not know whether it will be different this time. What I would say is that those on the left block out the sound of dissenting voices. I also suspect that the left does not really want the votes of the wealthy like me who have a conscience. I think people like me embarrass you and you would rather I remain in a NP ghetto.

      • Those wealthy I refer to is not all wealthy people, obviously there is no such thing as 100% of anything related to human behaviour.

        The current strategy to winning elections is to assume the public are stupid, disinterested boneheads who live off sound bites and headlines and are therefore as malleable as plasticine. Maybe they’re right! Then feed them on pure bullshit. Pretend you are centre (whatever that is) tell them the economy is booming, tell them crime is down, tell them what you think they want to hear, make it up but never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh?

        Nationals latest slogan “Working for New Zealand” is laughably hollow and incredibly insincere but a great example of the bullshit at work. It sounds like they care about New Zealanders, not just their millionaire mates.


  4. I imagine that National Party strategists will reprint this article in full and post it to every household in the country. I can think of nothing more calculated to make the wavering Labour voter switch to either NP or NZF. The loss should far outweigh any gain that IMP might bring.

    The Left Has sadly not yet grasped the reality that elections are won on the centre ground. In the 1980s I was at a meeting where Union leader Clive Jenkins outlined a radical agenda for an election when Michael Foot was leader. I asked him whether he did not think that his ideas might scare off the voters he wanted to capture but he was certain that everyone shared his vision. It was not until the odious Blair arrived and grasped that reality that Labour got back into office.

    I realise we are in a MMP environment and I am sure that the NZLP does not wish to emulate Blair and his cronies. However there needs to be more realism. This election will not be won by lurching further and further to the left.

    • Ben, elections may be won on the centre ground but that is only because the largest bloc of voters that of the poorest section of the working class does not vote.

      This is a result of centre-right policies that benefit only the middle class and the capitalist elite.

      The working class is practically disenfranchised by the absence of a party that stands for the needs of the great majority.

      The Labour left is miles away from the social democratic politics of the First Labour Government that challenged finance capital in the form of the Bank of England to win the right to legislate to protect the NZ market from the forces of unregulated global capitalism.

      The Fourth Labour Govt took the Blairite centrist course and deregulated the NZ economy. Labour today continues to subscribe to these neo-liberal shibboleths of tax cuts and spending cuts to balance the books. These only benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.

      In other words the ‘left’ of the spectrum that was formerly filled by social democracy is a vacuum, that is until Mana and Internet joined forces.

      I agree with Bomber, for the first time in generations there is a party that stands on the ‘real left’. It is not the extreme left because its policies are those traditional ones of social equality and equal opportunity that the big majority have always believed in over the generations.

      But even such modest redistributional policies threaten the existence of the tiny parasitic rich elite at the top whose reaction is to try to abolish our democratic rights and rule by Cabinet selling public assets to cronies, appointing cronies to public and private boards, and in the management of the public service.

      That is, the ‘real left’ in the interests of the big majority, is opposed by the policies of the ‘extreme left’ in the interests of a tiny capitalist elite.

      Are you for the egalitarian policies of the ‘real left’ or the crony capitalist policies of the ‘extreme right’?

    • “The Left Has sadly not yet grasped the reality that elections are won on the centre ground”

      Yes and no. This so called centre ground is where voters cross over, but your comment is suggesting this centre ground can be defined objectively. The centre ground is defined by a number of actors, three of the main actors being the media and the two main parties. Sadly, of those three, none of them seem to be bringing the centre back to the left.

      “This election will not be won by lurching further and further to the left”

      Unfortunately, at this stage of the game you might be right (as far as Labour are concerned). About one year ago it looked as though Labour was making a gradual move to the left with their electricity plan and then Cunliffe taking over. However, this gradual move to the left has now become a move back to the right – middle class insurance policy, top tax rate lower than Goff’s in 2011, immigration being used as a scapegoat, economic policy designed to sustain the housing bubble etc.
      Ben I’d love to see where you think Labour have lurched left recently? Strategically they have distanced themselves from IP/MANA & the Greens, and their policies are closer to NZ First and National. I get that Gower and his minions have perpetuated this idea of Labour lurching to the left, but I see no evidence of it. Please tell me I’m wrong.

    • Ben – the danger of struggling for the “center” vote is that if the two main parties are so similar as to be indistinguishable , then what is the point of voters switching from National to Labour (or vice versa)? Voters might as well stay with the incumbent. Better still, just amalgamate Labour and National if they are both going to be “centrist” (identical).

      If you’re going to attract voter support, then, like any other consumer brand (to use commercial terms), you need to establish a point of difference. You need to demonstrate to the punter why your brand is better than the opposition brand.

      If both brands are so similar as to be nearly identical, you’re not giving “consumers” (ie; voters) much of a choice.

      I hope that by phrasing my argument in business terms, it becomes clearer (no patronising intended). Because when you think about it, there’s a great deal of similarity between the “free” market of choice in a variety of cans of beans, to the MMP free market of a multitude of parties to choose from. (Though the latter has wider ranging impact on ourt lives than a decision on which can of bean to buys.)

      But like any marketplace, it works best if consumers (voters) can choose between differentiated brands.

    • Ben, Blair didn’t get Labour in. He got ‘New Labour’ in and formed a
      government no Labourite of the 20th Century would recognise – by moving to a ‘center’ that has been shifting to the right for decades.

      Where both main parties compete for the same ‘center’ ground the only choice for the electorate comes down to a beauty contest between the leaders, which is exactly what Key wants and is gearing the National Party up for and is also exactly what the MSM is lusting for.

      Speaking of the UK Labour Party “Andrew Harrop, general secretary of the Fabian Society, said the party had “lots of detailed policies to deploy in 2015, but lacks a clear story of how Britain will be different by 2020 after five years of Labour in power”.

      He added: “Eyecatching but small-scale promises are not enough – the party needs to adopt radical long-term reforms. This is the only way Labour can reconnect with voters and prove that the political parties are not all the same.”


      I believe exactly the same could be said of the NZ Labour Party.

  5. That was the best piece of writing I have read in a long while Martyn. It is inspiring and gives voice to the lie that the poor and disadvantaged are truly powerless. They have just as much power to change this government as anyone else, and gain back the soul of democracy. It is very exciting, and I am hugely impressed with your foresight. Thank our lucky matariki stars the left has someone like you!

  6. So sick of all the wing-ism that passes for politics. Martyn I just read your article in today’s Sunday Herald (tabloid rag). Apologetically, they close it with: “Martyn Bradbury is a left-wing blogger.” Which is just code-speak for “we printed this as a fig leaf to disguise our lack of journalistic integrity, and you shouldn’t really take it seriously, dear reader.”

    I propose a new saying to replace the old “tits on a bull” chestnut : “As useless as wings on a Kiwi.”

  7. I am so thoroughly sick of our pathetic excuse for a news media presenting this election as a two horse race. National have been leading Labour for years because National are the right. They are the only party, because their base is so thick, they can only rally around one issue and that’s making money. The right parties are all a joke – the Conservatives, ACT, and United Future are either dead, or desperate.

    The left is always going to be made up of smaller groups that can work together. This is why proportional representation exists – so we can actually have something akin to a democracy. The parties on the left are growing, while the ones on the right are desperately trying to hold onto perhaps one seat. So to present the left as just Labour, like the right is just National is cynical even for our news media.

    The numbers are 50/50 at best for National, and that is at the VERY BEST.

  8. Where in MSM do we find balanced educated, analytical reporting on political issues.

    These days it is all sensationalism and hysterical politics.

    • Radio New Zealand…(pause for effect)…National.

      Once called National Radio and before that, the National Programme of RNZ. The latest “rebranding” of about eight years ago indicative that it isn’t what it once was. That said, and despite Mr Selwyn’s aversion to its middleclass trappings, it is now the only source of what you are seeking on NZ airwaves. But standards are definitely slipping, death by a thousand budget cuts.

      • Richard Christie:

        As a long-time RNZ listener I absolutely agree.

        One gets the feeling that RNZ National have become too scared to bight the hand that feeds them because this might result in yet more budget cuts!

        I may be wrong of course . . . .

    • No, because an estimated 6.3% of eligible voters did not enrol* and are not included in the official turnout figure…

      3,070,847 people enrolled to vote
      3,070,847 * 6.3% = 193,463 non-enrolled
      3,070,847 + 193,463 = 3,264,310 eligible to vote

      2,278,989 people voted
      2,278,989 / 3,264,310 * 100 = 69.82% turnout
      100% – 69.82% voters = 30.18% non-voters

      Not quite the same as Bomber’s results, but close; perhaps he had a more accurate source than I do (“6.3%”) for the non-enrolled numbers? Also, I’ve seen official places estimate the numbers for eligible voters as 3.28M and 3.3M (rather than the 3.26431M calculated here), which if used in the calculation alongside the (precisely known) number of votes cast, would put the non-voter percentage at 30.52% or 30.94% respectively…

      Whatever. The point is, “around 30%” of eligible voters don’t bother. That is HEAPS. If they could somehow be convinced to vote, NZ could be in a very different place right now. We have another chance on the 20th of September, so get to it! And get all your friends to do the same! Please! 🙂

      * http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/parl-support/research-papers/00PLLawRP11041/the-2011-general-election-provisional-results


      P.S. It was my facebook page (fb.com/do.not.be.a.dick) which published the original version of this graph (different to the one above). We were stoked when it started going viral, then somewhat embarrassed when we then realised our numbers were incorrect. To estimate the number of non-enrolled people, we used Statistics NZ numbers for people above working age, not realising this is 15 years rather than the voting age of 18 years — this put the non-voter figure at 34.15% — ooops! We will post a retraction shortly, but are waiting on Bomber to (hopefully) give sources for his numbers, because as you can see, ours are still a little different! (Better make sure we get it right the second time eh? :))

      TL;DR: Yeah nah, because that figure doesn’t include eligible people who didn’t enrol 🙂

      • Oh dear, I fail at maths.
        The correct calculation using these sources is, I hope,

        3,070,847 people enrolled to vote
        3,070,847 / 93.7 (% enrolled) * 100 = 3,277,318 eligible to vote
        (3,277,318 – 3,070,847 = 206,471 non-enrolled)

        2,278,989 people voted
        2,278,989 / 3,277,318 * 100 = 69.54% turnout
        100% – 69.54% voters = 30.46% non-voters

  9. The Poll here at The Daily Blog shows that the vanity project that is Internet Mana is gradually wilting. It will be interesting to see if there is any enthusiasm for it in the new month.

  10. This is an awesome article. With you all – all the way. Looking forward to TDB posts on each electorate and ways to strategically win this election for the left, as keen as toast to share each one with family and friends and get the message out there! My email is ready and waiting to go! Cheers.

  11. I feel like the biggest threat to this is the Labour Party. Talking to some of them I get the feeling that they would rather loose this election so that they don’t have to work with Internet/Mana which is a shame, and totally dismisses the value of MMP

  12. Unless Labour encourage strategic voting I fear that we will be stuck with National for another 6 years. National knows how to use the MMP system to it’s advantage, Labour seems to be still using FPP tactics.

  13. I agree with you Glenn. I also think that what we are now seeing, and Damien O’Connor crossing the floor on the West Coast logging bill was a good example, is that Labour MP’s, because of the polls, have given up,on the party vote and are only interested in ensuring they win their electorates.

  14. For the first time in ages, this election is going to determine NZ’s long term future. Do we stagnate and sell our sovereignty? Or do we progress? Strategic voting is the only way to go, even though it’s quite alien to many Kiwis to do so, myself included. We must vote strategically if we are to remove this government.

    The polls keep stating John Key and his Natsy party are way ahead, with Key being the most popular PM ever. If this is so, then why do Key and Steven Joyce keep reiterating to the public, including their own (Natsy) brethren, not to be complacent, it’s important to get out there and vote? Because according to them it’s going to be a close race.

    From this point, I take it then, both Key and Joyce know the polls are rigged in their favour!

  15. So, Martyn, you base your entire article on an unsourced and inaccurate graph. Good work. Not.

  16. Awesome article Bomber….still a few unresolved issues between Disabled and Greens, plus the historical decade of duplicity Disabled had under Labour….which is why its so important these parties work with NZ Disability Strategy…from Cabinet to Kitchen table…As DLANZ wrote…..Ignorance is not excusable for systemic Indifference…..if we are to beat the John Key….Do it together….kia ora comrade / ehoa
    Doug Hay DLANZ

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