2014 Election – Post-mortem Up-date

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20-september

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Counting of Special Votes are completed and the Electoral Commission’s final election results have been announced;

National: 47.04 (60 seats – down 1)

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Labour: 25.13 (32 seats – no change)

Green Party: 10.70 (14 seats – plus 1)

NZ First: 8.66 (11 seats – no change)

Maori Party: 1.32 (2 seats – 1 electorate, 1 List – no change)

ACT: 0.69 (1 electorate seat – no change)

United Future: 0.22 (1 electorate seat – no change)

Conservative: 3.97 (nil seats – no change)

Internet Mana: 1.42 (nil seats – no change)

 

It is interesting to compare the 2014 results with the 2011 Election figures;

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party votes - 2014 -2011 - general elections - new zealand
* Predominantly electorate based-parties

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Other results

 

1. Final enrolment rate:

2011: 93.7%

2014: 92.6%

2. Total Votes counted by Electoral Commission:

2011: 2,278,989

2014: 2,416,481

Increase: 137,492

3. Voter turnout (as a percentage of enrolled electors):

2011: 74.2%

2014: 77.9%

4. Advance votes cast:

2011: 334,558 (14.7% of voters)

2014: 717,579 (29.33% of voters)

Increase: 383,021

 

Observations

National

National lost it’s overall majority in the House, though with ACT’s single MP (and to a lesser degree, Peter Dunne), they will most likely still maintain a de facto majority regardless.

My belief is that National’s party strategists were acutely aware that once Special Votes were counted, they would lose their 61st MP, Maureen Pugh. This was a re-play of the 2008 and 2011 elections, where election night results were only temporary, and National’s numbers were pared back (usually by one seat) after the counting of special votes.

Little wonder that Key and National Party strategists have been very, very, very eager to form coalition deals with ACT, Peter Dunne, and the Maori Party. Despite Key’s noble-sounding public pronouncements,


“It’s more about, you know, the kind of inclusive government we want to have other parties working with us…

[…]

But equally, we sort of know each other quite well now, after six years we got a bit of a sense of the areas of importance and significance to each other and in a perfect world we don’t want to pass legislation 61 [to] 60 votes the whole way through, we do want to work with other people.”

Yeah, right, whatever. Key wasn’t being “inclusive” or “magnanimous” – he was playing his cards right, knowing full well what the Electoral Commission was going to deal out to his Party two weeks after  Election night results.

National’s coalition deals with three minor parties was their “insurance policy”.

For the next three years, Key will be praying nightly to the political gods for all his MPs to remain  alive, loyal,  and healthy (in that order). At 60 Members of Parliament out of 121, National cannot afford too many by-elections or defections.

ACT

Not just on political life-support by the good graces of the National Party, but more importantly, ACT’s 7,200 drop in their Party vote signifies New Zealanders’ lack of appetite for any further right-wing, neo-liberal “reforms”.

This is something Key and National Party strategist should take careful note of. National’s increase in support may reflect a current preference by voters for a “steady-as-you-go” regime – not further radical moves to the Right.

It is also something that Left-Wing parties should take note: New Zealanders have expressed a subtle distaste for neo-liberalism. We need to capitalise on that.

On a side-issue, if ACT’s Party Vote is destined to reside with a tiny hard-core element of incorrigible, fanatical, right-wing voters, then what is the value of gifting Epsom to ACT if no other candidate will coat-tail into Parliament on the success of someone like John Banks or David Seymour?

There can only be one possible benefit to National: ACT is the “trojan horse” whereby unpopular right-wing policies (eg; Charter Schools) can be introduced as part of sham “coalition negotiations”. As Cameron Slater’s malicious right-wing blog was used to conduct “second track” vicious attack politics on National’s enemies, ACT’s usefulness lies in enacting right wing policies Key  may not wish to be closely associated with.

United Future/Peter Dunne

UF’s drop in it’s Party Vote – by well over a half – signifies that voters see Dunne fully as a one-man band. He may continue to win Ohariu on Electorate Votes, but his low Party Vote results preclude any other UF candidates “coat tailing” into Parliament on Dunne’s localised success.

A Party Vote for UF has therefore become a “wasted” vote, and eventually National will ask itself a question, “Why are we supporting Dunne when we might as well go hard out to win the seat ourself, with one of our own candidates?” When the Nats cannot even pin unpopular policies on Dunne – what is his purpose to the centre-right bloc?

As well; the day that Green Party voters wake up to the reality that supporting the Labour Candidate, instead of their Green candidate, with the Electorate Vote,  is the day Dunne loses his seat. His presence in Parliament is based purely on some Ohariu Green voters voting shambolically rather than  tactically.

Mana-Internet

Interestingly, the Mana-Internet alliance was the only electorate-based Party to actually increase their overall Party Vote:  from 24,168 in 2011 to 34,095 on 20 September. ACT and United Future between them lost much of their support. And whilst the Maori Party lost only 132 Party Votes – they lost two electorates; Tamaki Makarau and Te Tai Hauauru to Labour.

As history shows, Hone Harawira only lost his seat – Te Tai Tokerau – after Labour’s candidate was endorsed by John Key and Winston Peters, along with some very shady back-room dealings by the Maori Party.

Subsequently, the  mainstream media,  indignant commentators, etc, all piled on to the battered and bruised body of Mana, the Internet Party, Kim Dotcom, and Hone Harawira. However, New Zealanders should never forget;

  • Through Kim Dotcom’s refusal to buckle to State power, we discovered that the GCSB had been illegally spying on 88 New Zealand citizens.
  • After Kim Dotcom’s efforts, we now know that mass surveillance is being undertaken in this country. This is the new reality which the media seems to have over-looked (as per usual) in their constant demands for sensationalistic news stories (as if living in a mass-surveilled society wasn’t sensational in it’s own right).
  • Yes, Kim Dotcom did fund the Internet Party to the tune of around $3 million.
  • Compare that to  National spending $2,321,216 from wealthy benefactors for the 2011 general election.
  • And contrast with the  $60,082  Mana spent    at the same time. When did the media ever question the David-VS-Goliath battle between National and Mana in 2011? The answer is blindingly obvious.

New Zealand has a fine tradition of giving people a fair go.

We like to think we help one another.

There is also a darker side to our nature. Some call it “The Tall Poppy Syndrome”.

I call it bullying.

Less words. Same meaning.

Something  Patrick Gower might reflect on.

Conservative Party

Whilst I am no fan of Colin Craig and his ill-considered mish-mash of populist and right wing policies – I do recognise that National’s on-going refusal to carry out  reforms to MMP – as recommended by the Electoral Commission in 2012 – is persistently creating bizarre and undemocratic results.

The Conservative Party polled 95,598 Party Votes – three times as high as the Maori Party, which was able to bring in a second MP on Te Ururoa’ Flavell’s “coat-tails”. Yet the Conservatives have no MPs, despite out-polling the Maori Party.

(Yes, I understand that the Conservatives achieved only 3.97% of the Party Vote. But who is say they would not have gained extra votes had the Party threshold been dropped to 4%, as the Commission recommended?)

Green Party

Of the left-wing parties, the Greens fared better than Labour or Mana-Internet. Clearly, their extra 9,986 Party Votes came from Labour’s drop of 10,402 votes. Their campaign was well-targetted; they stayed consistently on-message; and their Party was not under-mined by loose-cannon-candidates engaging in open sabotage. (ref)(ref)(ref)

At  257,356 Party Votes, the Greens increased their support from their 2011 result ( 247,370 Party Votes). Their overall percentage dropped only because the overall number of Party Votes cast increased this election by 137,492.

NZ First

NZ First benefitted from the increase  in voting this year. The scandals exposed in  “Dirty Politics“, and the political fallout that affected Labour, escaped Winston Peters who has continually portrayed himself as “above petty politics”.

Peters, however, was not quite sufficiently  “above petty politics” to  under-mine Mana Leader, Hone Harawira, in his bid to retain Te Tai Tokerau. By endorsing Labour’s Kelvin Davis, Peters plotted with John Key and the Maori Party in an unholy, manipulative, venal  triumvirate to destroy the Mana Movement.

Peters can get down and dirty with the worst of them, it seems.

Like Peters’ broken promises post-1996, the public will soon forget Peters’ quiet  treachery. Unfortunately.

Labour

Ye gods, where does one start…?!

  • The billboards which promoted electorate candidates – and mentioned the all-important Party Vote in barely-discernible small letters?!
  • The constant attacks on a potential coalition support-partner by Labour candidates?!
  • Allowing certain media political commentators to frame the narrative on coalition partners – thereby forcing Cunliffe to  look too eager to “do the right thing” according to certain pundits?! (ref)(ref)(ref)
  • Engaging in internecine warfare, whether pre or post-election – simply the most futile act that Labour could possibly engage in. Did they think no one would notice?
  • Changing the leader, post-election. Does that mean Labour never had confidence in Cunliffe in the first place, and this his appointment was a mistake? Does that mean Cunliffe’s replacement may also be a mistake? Does it mean Labour has 100% confidence in their new Leader – until they don’t? So… why should the public have confidence in Labour’s new choice of a new Leader, when s/he may be temporary?

Perhaps Labour’s worst mistake of all the above was constantly deriding the Mana-Internet alliance. The constant attacks on Hone Harawira and his Party signalled to the public that Labour was weak; full of self-doubt and lacking in self-confidence. Labour’s  desperation for votes was so dire that they were willing to attack and destroy a potential coalition ally, to cannibalise their electoral support.

That showed weakness.

And the public took note.

Contrast Labour’s treatment of Hone Harawira and Mana-Internet, with how John Key related to ACT, United Future, and the Maori Party: with confidence; courtesy; and collegiality.

When Key refused to make a deal with Colin Craig’s Conservative Party, he did so with professional courtesy. There was never any rancor  involved, and despite refusing any Epsom-like deal, Key still left National’s options wide open to work with the Conservatives.

Key even flip-flopped on his previous hand-on-heart promise never to entertain any coalition deal-making with Winston Peters;

I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead,” – John Key,  2 February 2011

When the public looked at Key, they saw a politician who said categorically he would be prepared to work with anyone.

The public liked that. The public want politicians to work together for the good of the country. Key not only said as much – he demonstrated it by working with parties as disparate as ACT, the Maori Party, United Future, and the Greens (though the latter not in any formal coalition agreement).

When the public looked at Labour, they saw a left wing party willing to consume another left wing party, to further their own selfish agenda.

Key showed collegiality and co-operation.

Labour exuded desperation.

Whoever leads the Labour Party after 18 November – take note.

Media

The  closet, political “party” in this election – the mainstream media. Acting much like a ‘spoiler’ for the Left, it did it’s damndest to engage in “gaffe” journalism; focus on trivia (scarves, holidays, etc); and failed to chase up real stories when they hit the public.

The nadir of junk  ‘journalism’ came when Mike Hosking interviewed both Nicky Hager and National Minister, Steven Joyce, on 14 August,  over revelations contained in the expose, “Dirty Politics“.

As I wrote previously, when I reviewed this segment of “Seven Sharp”;

I encourage people to watch the opening segment, where Mike “interviews” Minister Steven Joyce, and then interogates and derides author, Nicky Hager.

Any pretence that Mike Hosking is an “unbiased journalist” has been firmly dispatched. The man is a mouthpiece for the National government and his behaviour and line of questioning proved it.

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Seven Sharp - 14 august 2014 - nicky hager - steven joyce - dirty politics

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Nicky Hager’s investigations have uncovered practices that can only be described as an abuse of power by this government.

Did Hosking ask challenging questions to the Minister? Answer: no.

Did Hosking put specific examples requiring explanations to the Minister? Answer: no.

Was Hosking’s line of questioning relevant to the book and offer insights to the viewer? Answer: no.

Hosking then asked hard questions from Nicky Hager, who to his credit realised that he was being set up as the “fall guy” for the story.

This was not journalism. Not even close. It was superficial, Fox-style partisan politics masquerading as “informed debate”. Again, not even close.

The only television I have seen in my life that came close to Hosking’s slanted, pro-government performance was during my visits to Eastern European countries in my late teens/early twenties. In those times, Eastern Europe was ruled by well-policed, undemocratic, One Party “communist” regimes. Television “news” was little more than a mouthpiece for the government – no questions asked. There was never even an attempt at balance.

Hosking would have fitted in perfectly.

As far as I am concerned, Hosking’s “talent” lies elsewhere, but not in journalism. Perhaps a PR/spin-man for a cereal company or arms manufacturer or bordello run by the Chow Brothers (he’s already sold his soul, so the other bodily bits should be equally saleable).

On The Daily Blog, on 3 October, Keith Rankin made this pertinent observation

 Note that the apparent conservatism of the mainstream media is due it being almost completely bound to the prevailing consensus; far more bound to it than even the politicians themselves.
Which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense.
A media “bound to the prevailing consensus” will reflect the nature of that “consensus”. If the prevailing public consensus  is sufficiently conservative enough to return a National-led right-wing bloc with an increased majority – then the media is unlikely to run counter to the popular current.
Little wonder that the likes of Gower, Garner, Hoskings, O’Brien et al, can get away with overt anti-left sentiments. They are speaking to an audience in a vast “echo chamber” encompassing at least fifty percent of the population.
Little wonder also that a “respected” newspaper like the NZ Herald could get away scott-free with what amounted to an obvious, shabby, politically-motivated  smear campaign with the Donghua Liu Affair in June, this year.  Evidence uncovered by this blogger and a person closely connected to the media  (by-lined as  “Hercules”) points to collusion between the Herald and Immigration Minister Woodhouse’s office to use attack politics and mis-use of information released under the OIA to undermine the leader of the Labour Party.
But even when  there is no real news to report, just  take a leaf from the Patrick Gower Manual of Loud, Excitable, Sensationalist Journalism: make up any ole BS.
Or even when the story is about John Key on the cover of Rugby News magazine, TV3’s Tova O’Brien still managed to make a childish quip at the end – denigrating David Cunliffe. Even though the story had nothing to do with the Labour Leader, O’Brien couldn’t resist a parting shot at Cunliffe,
“So once again the blue team gets one over the red team.Yes, it’s cringey, but it’s left Cunliffe looking whingey.”
Childishly stupid? Indeed. But that’s the style of “news” reporting dished up to the public in 21st Century New Zealand.
Labour, the Greens, and Mana were fighting a political battle on not one – but two fronts. National was only one – and perhaps the lesser of the two opponants they faced. This was not an election – it was the re-annointing of our Dear Leader.
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  portrait of a prime minister
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References

Electoral Commission:  2014 General Election – Official Result

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011

Electoral Commission: Party Votes and Turnout by Electorate

NZ Herald: Final election results in – National loses majority

Dominion Post: National loses majority, Greens pick up one

NZ Herald: Special votes see Greens gain seat, Nats lose

NZ Parliament: The 2011 General Election

TVNZ ‘Breakfast’: Coalition deals signed – ACT and United Future

Radio NZ: Big change in Maori seats

Dominion Post: Lots left to be desired

Twitter: Patrick Gower

NZ Herald: Govt rejects recommendations to change MMP system

NZ Herald: MMP review recommends lower party threshold

Scoop Media: Māori Party’s first list MP Confirmed

TV3 News: Labour candidate makes more ‘Shylock’ comments

Fairfax media: Mallard’s mad Moa blurt

Fairfax media: Winston Peters backs Labour’s Kelvin Davis

NZ Herald: Election 2014 –  Hone’s call to arms after Winston backs Kelvin

Fairfax media: Kelvin Davis blasts Mana Party

TV3 News: David Cunliffe owns up to getting it wrong

TVNZ: David Cunliffe stands by decision to take family holiday

Election Ads: James Dann – Labour Party – 2014 General Election

Frankly Speaking: The secret of National’s success – revealed

Scoop Media: Patrick Gower interviews Labour leader David Cunliffe

Radio NZ: Cunliffe says no to Internet-Mana

TV3 News: Cunliffe – Labour, NZF, Greens ‘will work’

NZ Herald: Cunliffe on Dotcom – ‘We have nothing to do with him’

TVNZ News: No deal – Key leaves Colin Craig out in the cold

Fairfax media: Possible coalition line-ups after election

TVNZ News: Winston Peters not grabbing John Key’s olive branch

NZ Herald: PM rules out any NZ First deal

TV3 News:  Cunliffe apologises ‘for being a man’

The Daily Blog: When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?

TVNZ: Seven Sharp 14 August

The Daily Blog: National Party Spice Boys

TV3 News Bulletin: Tuesday 30 September 2014

TV3 News:  Key nestles in with the All Blacks

Previous related blogposts

Winston Peters recycles pledge to “buy back state assets” – where have we heard that before?

The secret of National’s success – revealed

Election 2014; A Post-mortem; a Wake; and one helluva hang-over

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

“Dirty Politics” and The Teflon Man

The Donghua Liu Affair – The Players Revealed


 

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david cunliffe stood up on the issue of domestic violence

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

40 COMMENTS

  1. Excellant, thank you Frank, I can stop ruminating over it all now it’s in print. Appreciate the depth and breadth, so many layers, and I think you’ve captured most.
    So many people using Dotcom as target practice now, blaming him for EVERYTHING, tedious and avoidant, and nothing will change or be learnt if we simply scapegoat.

  2. Many thanks for taking the time and effort to provide us with this thoughtful analysis, Frank. Hopefully I’m not alone is saying it sums up much of what I was thinking.

    • I would like to add my thanks to Frank Mc as well. Well presented, thoughtful, AND helpful. Thanks Frank !

  3. Have kept this excellent summary for reference.

    We are indeed up against formidable forces with the surveillance state, symbiotic media as well as dirty tricks. The lesson as always to take from this election is Left UNITY or more the lack thereof.

    The pic of ShonKey’s “Roughanography” made me both recoil instinctively from the screen and recall other travesties–the Rugby News cover with dear leader masquerading as the AB captain. I do rather enjoy All Black defeats though for the reaction of the stunned populace.

  4. the Mana-Internet alliance was the only electorate-based Party to actually increase their overall Party Vote: from 24,168 in 2011 to 34,095

    That bears repeating 🙂 (my emph)

    IMP out-polled three other parties, including the Maori Party. They received more than double the numbers of ACT and more than five times those of UF. Yet those three parties have reps in the govt. It is only by collusion of three powerful parties that IMP have been excluded.

    • True, but the actual result compared with what was available if IMP had only received ‘a little help from their friends’ makes one want to cry.

      • Hone’s called for a recount of TTT!!

        “His party was concerned about the large number of rejected votes in the electorate, which Labour’s Kelvin Davis won by a majority of 739 votes.

        “Party president Lisa McNab said Mana wanted “independent scrutiny of the processes by which hundreds of votes were discarded”.

        “The Electoral Commission said the recount would take place in the electorate’s returning office in Auckland, overseen by District Court Judge Tom Broadmore.

        It was expected to take three to five days…”
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11338559

  5. Nail, head, spot on! Made me wonder why the mainstream media took up the cudgels for mr key when some years ago they had the knives out for him, what changed their collective mind! Im not a fan of labour either but i am for the underdog who is hard done by thus i am a fan of kim dotcom and i would still be even if his crimes were more like john keys but his intentions had changed for the greater good of new zealanders! Bring the court cases against john key and kim!

  6. Yes, a fairly balanced and accurate summary Frank, at least one which allays fears of having woken in a parallel universe – the only exception being an excessively charitable summation of the mainstream media’s role. Being “bound by the prevailing consensus” – suggesting a collection of sycophantic and childish rants – doesn’t convey the pro-active and single-outcome objectives of the media, as manipulators of opinion, and not just purveyors of the status quo.

    The child-like nature of it’s observable machinations may be a fair observation, but the collective objectives were unmistakable … and yet entirely lost on the NZ public. Like a child with a new pump-action water cannon, the transparent gusto with which they went about the task should have resulted in a little-sister public, with wet underwear exposed, indignant if not outraged. Instead little sister just … joined in the fun.

    The sad part of all that, is to expect it to worsen to the degree it is tolerated. The “hidden” political party in NZ has not only dispensed with any semblance of journalistic integrity, but is hell bent on the same standards forming the pillars of their Utopian “democracy.” Maybe non-participation will finally no longer be seen as apathy, but acknowledged as the willful political statement that it is.

  7. Thanks Frank, great summary.

    From talking with a number of friends and colleagues who have in the past voted Labour I got a sense of “devil you know”. That there was too much coming out through Hager’s book and then the Moment Of Truth to be dealt with in the context of an election. The book needed to be 6 months earlier and MOT had to be clear about whether it was focused on Surveillance or KDC’s treatment. Certainly these people have concerns around all these issues and are not huge JK fans, just that all this turmoil along with the lack of Unity on the Left really only left them with one option. They didn’t see Cunliffe as the issue at all – some like him some didn’t but that’s not the point. And although there was sympathy for KDC’s position there was strong turnoff in him being directly involved with the political process – and the smoking gun email was a terrible fizzer.

    Your media observations are spot on and it was quite disturbing to watch at times. Seems to me there is an opportunity for a Journalism or Pol Sci student to do a PhD in Media Portrayals of Political Parties and Ideologies during the 2014 General Election. Focus should be on NZH, Stuff properties, TV1 & TV3. The extent to which these media outlets still dominate mainstream opinion (hopefully declining) and then with some sort of robust scoring mechanism (column inches, style of language etc) the extent to which they were biased (or not – though I’d eat my hat). Wouldn’t it be fairly low cost to fund a Grad student to do this? Or is there some other research unit that could be used?

    I think every left wing politician needs media training to start standing up to the media and calling them out. E.g. at the beginning of an interview with someone like Hosking or Gower to state clearly “I am on your show today but I have very little confidence in the quality of your journalism based on example xyz. You are doing your viewers/readers a disservice.”

    This must be Labour’s LAST leader change before next election and there must be UNITY behind whoever it is.

    I understand that the Caucus then chooses the Deputy? I continue to say that if a Pakeha man is leading the party then the Deputy must reflect Maori/Pacifica/Female support – there is no other option.

    If I was doing a brand keyword cloud I’d say that if National is:
    – Stable, Boring, White, Arrogant, Big business, prop-up ridiculous partners

    Labour must be:
    – Unified, Focused, Visionary – forward looking, Multi-cultural, Simple, Friendly, Open, workers AND small business, value contribution of partners.

    But without a full on MSM strategy it will be very hard to communicate any of this.

    I also wonder if the left in general starts now with activating the missing million. 3 years of door knocking and assisting to enrol, explaining very clearly how important it is to vote, and how powerful it really is.

    And I’d like to see some KPI’s constantly displayed on the websites and referred to e.g. Trade deficit, Govt debt, inequality etc. Several graphs that are monitored all the way from now to the next election.

    I could go on but…need a coffee.

    thanks

  8. NZ is going down ,there is so much corruption and manipulation , Fairfax is an overseas company run mainly by people like Rupert Murdoch.
    It wasn’t in Nationals interest to fail not for the obvious reasons, but if the books were opened by a decent leader all hell would break loose.

    Wake Up Kiwi in one article claims $400 plus billion was borrowed not $70 billion as thought. We are so in debt deliberately , it puts us in the hands of overseas bankers , no way can we pay back that amount, see the article on Pick River Mine disaster,and follow on from there,Key will be here till we are bankrupt the hes gone. Wake up Kiwi is a real education in whats happened and happening.Thank goodness we have Daily Blog and Wake up Kiwi,we would never learn anything from MSM.

  9. One obvious conclusion to me is that we still have a problem with MMP.
    The voting system, especially a proportional representation voting system, is supposed to wind up reflecting in parliament the proportions that were voted at the ballot box.
    We turfed out FPP because it didn’t delivered a gross distortion of representation in the House against the nationwide vote.
    What we have now is better – but still not good enough.
    The National, ACT, UF bloc got 47.95% of the vote yet get 62 seats of 121 which is 51.2%. If we add in Maori, they got 49.27% yet get 64 seats of 121 which is 52.9%.

    Two things need to happen:
    1. The threshold needs to be reduced to 2.5%
    2. A mechanism needs to be set up to redistribute “wasted votes” to another preferred party. The simplest method would be that each party nominates a party to which all of its party votes will get added if it fails to reach the threshold.

    • Thanks, e-clectic. You’re right about the percentages not being fully equal to the number of seats each Party gets in the end.

      Re your suggestions.

      1. I was of the view that the Party threshold should be reduced to 4% (and over time, further more to 3%, and then 2%), and made my submission accordingly to the Electoral Commission in 2012. Others stated that I was wrong, and that the threshold should be dropped to the bare minimum, otherwise we’re losing representation from smaller parties.

      I’m starting to see that my critics (on this issue) have a valid point.

      2. I kinda like your suggestion “to redistribute “wasted votes” to another preferred party”. Very simple. Very elegant. The only downside is, if this would give an incentive for the recipient party of wasted votes to then go all out to destroy the smaller party. Think of “Loyal grandson” pushing granma over the balcony, once he learns he’s the beneficiary of her zillion dollar wealth. Or… think of Labour and Mana in Te Tai Tokerau. If Mana had made Labour the beneficiary of their wasted votes, I can just see Kelvin Davis’ eyes lighting up!

      Still, there should be a way to get around that. I still think it has merit as an idea.

      • I like the idea of redistributing wasted votes too, but I wouldn’t leave it up to the party. Just make it a simple preferential vote, where you can rank as many (or as few) parties as you like. If you know your first party’s going to make it over the threshold, you don’t need to bother with any others. Otherwise, if your first party doesn’t make it, your vote transfers to your second, and so on.

        Doing the same for the electorate vote would also help prevent dodgy stitch-ups like Epsom.

      • 1. Threshold is tricky – I see it as a Goldilocks problem. But, firstly, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure there are no wasted votes. I can see that having no threshold would provide true proportionality but potentially a party with .85% of the vote (1 seat) could hold the “balance of power” and be able to negotiate policy concessions with a big party that are out of proportion with the representation/mandate they really have (think ACT and Charter Schools as an example).
        I favour 2.5% – that would be 3 seats. It’s a question of proportionality of vote compared with proportionality of influence – not an easy comparison. I think 4% is a bit high but it’s moot.

        2. With no wasted votes, voters could feel a lot more free to vote for the minor parties knowing their vote ultimately wasn’t going to effectively get split into the major parties. I think we’d see more votes for some of the small issue-based parties.
        A major party cannibalising a smaller party that gives it its wasted votes would find that next time round they wouldn’t be the recipient any more.
        Under the current system, of the 34,095 voters who voted IMP, effectively ~17,000 of those votes went to National. Really, we should nominate one National MP as the IMP representative because it was IMP votes that got them there.
        And, I just thought of a further bonus – Winston would have to declare who his party’s votes would go to if they didn’t get to the threshold 😉 .

        • e-clectic – “And, I just thought of a further bonus – Winston would have to declare who his party’s votes would go to if they didn’t get to the threshold”

          Jeez-on-a-stick – you’ve just sold me on the idea!!

    • Point 2 is interesting. It would stop any Party from being a kingmaker because it would have to declare its preference before Election day. It would also have helped IMP because a lot of voters deserted it when it looked like a vote for them would have been wasted, IMO.

  10. It’s interesting to note that while IMP increased its vote overall compared to Mana’s performance in 2011, they lost votes in all but one of the Maori electorates, despite large increases in the numbers of people voting. So I think it’s fair to say that the merger (which I thought was a good move at the time) cost Mana a good chunk of its traditional base, even if it gained votes elsewhere. It probably cost Hone his seat too, unfortunately.

  11. God Frank how many hours did you spend on that whew it took forever to read the excellent wrap.

    You made me spill my tea when laughing at this statement.

    “For the next three years, Key will be praying nightly to the political gods for all his MPs to remain alive, loyal, and healthy (in that order). At 60 Members of Parliament out of 121, National cannot afford too many by-elections or defections.”

    So bloody right.

    Not one of those shaky lot can evade the harsh criticism coming, and will need (along with us all) to survive the impending global second recession coming within 12 months. Some say it will be the real depression.

    With no plan have they to shoulder the harsh financial downturn we face, we are in a ship with no Captain just a boat full of hopefuls and a bleak future.

    • “God Frank how many hours did you spend on that whew it took forever to read the excellent wrap.”

      Um… Cleangreen, let’s just say I had to get re-acquainted with my household after I emerged from my Den…

      (Very perceptive of you to note how long that kind of research and tabulation requirtes.)

      • “(Very perceptive of you to note how long that kind of research and tabulation requirtes.)”
        I would like to think that there are many of us out here who appreciate the time and effort you put in to keeping us informed.

  12. What a difference a seat makes! Last week we had to put up with John Key crowing about how the National Party had created history and that it was a very rare occurrence indeed to have a majority government with MMP. Now he has had to fall back on the fact that you generally don’t get a majority government with MMP. It’s never over until the special votes are counted and in this case, they certainly did not favour National.

  13. How many times did Jonkey and his henchmen (most recently Bill Ralston in the current Listener) say “Labour will bring in five new taxes”? And how many times did Labour say nothing?
    Apart from the Speculation (“Capital Gains”) Tax, does anyone know what they were going to be, how much they were, whether any ordinary people were going to have to pay them and whether they mattered more than navel lint?

  14. Great roundup, Frank.
    I’d just like to correct you on a few points:

    1. You say the people voting for Peter Dunne are wasting their votes. This is true in the same sense that my Dad argues that a vote for National is a wasted vote, because all it can do is help National, which would be a waste of a vote. But in the normal sense of a ‘wasted vote’ it is not a wasted vote – Peter Dunne is effectively a member of the National caucus, except National do not get one fewer list seat in return for him being elected, because he is not officially a National MP. He also doesn’t take enough party votes off National for them to get one fewer list MP that way (as David Seymour does). Therefore, he is just one extra MP on the National side, giving them one more MP that they would otherwise have. Without him, National plus ACT plus UF would have a majority of 1, with him they have a majority of two.

    2. You say Peter Dunne is only in so long as Green voters don’t vote tactically to stop him. This is not quite true, as the number of National supporters who didn’t vote tactically to help him is equally relevant. If 2000 Green supporters shifted their candidate votes to Labour and 2000 National supporters shifted their candidate votes to Dunne, they would cancel out and he would still get in. And the number of National supporters in Ohariu who aren’t yet voting tactically for Dunne is way more than the number of Green supporters who aren’t yet voting tactically for the Labour candidate.

    3. You say it is clear than the Greens’ extra votes came from people who swithced from Labour. They might have, but actually we don’t know. The total number of votes increased, and ther Greens are known to be popular among first-time voters, so it is equally plausible that the Greens didn’t take many votes from Labour at all.

    • Hi Caroline,

      re your points…

      1. True enough – as long as Dunne’s Party Vote remains under 1.2% – over which he brings another MP in on his coat-tails. (Unlikely, with present trends, I know.)

      Mostly, his defeat would be symbolic, and really, what is the point of casting an Electorate Vote for someone who will not win (the Green candidate) as opposed to a candidate who will (the Labour candidate)? Especially if Green voters are serious in maximising their vote.

      2. There’s no reason to pre-suppose that if ” 2000 Green supporters shifted their candidate votes to Labour” that 2,000 National supporters would then shift their votes to Dunne . That would suggest a kind of prescient group “Hive Mind” from the Nats …

      3. It might be true that the increase in Green votes did not come from Labour… But the numbers sure seem to correlate. Labour lost 10,402 Party Votes whilst the Greens gained 9,986.

      First time voters? I wouldn’t like to say where they would have voted.

  15. A well written article thanks. You may wish to edit though as your “Dirty Secrets“, should of course be “Dirty Politics”.

    Geepers, just watching 3 News and headlines “Police raid Nicky Hagers home and take his computer”

  16. Great article thanks. The recent revelations of a German journalist exposing how he and others are corrupted by the CIA and used to influence people the world over are very relevant. National Radio’s Guyon Espiner and Kathryn Ryan recently went on a junket to the USA along with NZ Herald’s Audry Young, Dompost’s Nick Venter TVNZ’s Cliff Joiner and Garth Bray, and TV3s Justine Short and Ali Ikram. Exactly following the CIA playbook as described by Dr Udo Ulfkotte the German journalist. The CIA would have a great deal of interest in any election where a political party had a policy to close the Waihopai spy base.

  17. Interesting article Frank, but I fail to see what is so is petty or underhanded about Kelvin Davis’ victory in Te Tai Tokerau. So you’re miffed that Internet-Mana got screwed by this; fair enough, but how is it different from what the centre-left tried to do to David Seymour and Peter Dunne. Is this not just tactical voting?

    And is it really any surprise that Kim Dotcom is regarded with such great suspicion by so many people? If he was in bed with, say, the Act party instead of Mana, would the left not have been casting exactly the same aspersions on his character and intentions? Without a doubt they would.

    I wish, and not just with the benefit of hindsight, that Kim Dotcom had never gotten involved in politics. If he had stayed on the sidelines, he would have been a far more effective advocate on GCSB-related issues and Hone Harawira would probably still be in Parliament.

    • So you’re miffed that Internet-Mana got screwed by this; fair enough, but how is it different from what the centre-left tried to do to David Seymour and Peter Dunne. Is this not just tactical voting?

      There was no tactical voting with David Seymour or Peter Dunne. The Left did not try any such thing.You’re making it up.

      If he was in bed with, say, the Act party instead of Mana, would the left not have been casting exactly the same aspersions on his character and intentions?

      How many wealthy benefactors have donated millions to ACT and National, and the Left have not demonised any of them?

      • Simon seems to have forgotten that it was National that made the tactical move when they refused to implement the changes to MMP that were recommended. As a consequence we now have two MPs propping up a split sixty seat National government – one who would have lost his seat if Green voters had gone with Labour, and the other who’s party doesn’t even represent 1% of the population.

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