Labour: towards an MMP strategy



Andrew Little’s lightly veiled messages to Labour voters to send a clear message to the government in last weekend’s by-election was the long anticipated entry of the Party into understanding the MMP environment. Prior to the last election there were all sorts of swirling possibilities of how people could be encouraged to vote in Auckland Central, Ohariu, Te Tai Tokerau and Epsom, all in the name of sending the government a clear message. The Epsom example was with regard to the by-election and getting Labour and Green voters to vote Goldsmith to keep ACT out. The message wasn’t picked up by the Left, many of who just couldn’t bring themselves to voting National.

But last weekend, NZ First romped home and the Key government got the message – that the people of the north weren’t going to be taken for granted and left out of important decisions any longer. Whilst I wished it was a more left-leaning candidate that took the seat, understanding the bigger picture means that I can breathe a tiny bit easier with National’s humiliating loss. In fact, I believe that there have been more announcements for the Northland electorate in the past month than there has been in a number of decades. Having no sitting MP seemed to do them quite a bit of good!

For me though, the best result for the Left was seeing the Labour Party accept and embrace that we needed to vote strategically. The mainstream media and ‘stuck’ political commentators continue to frame the discussion in FPP terms and both neglect and scare the electorate into thinking that it’s one party or another. This was definitely National’s strategy when their messaging changed from a big spend-up in the North, to fear that Winston wouldn’t support them on RMA reform. The beauty of MMP is that it allows a number of views and persuasions to be represented when votes are cast. Scaremongering people into believing that Labour and the Greens can’t come up with decent financial policy is the way you push the electorate into the old FPP thinking. So whilst I would have preferred the protest vote to have gone to Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime, I accept that for this time, the strategy had to be weakening the government.

So I formally welcome Labour and its strategists to the realm of positive, strategic thinking in the modern MMP era. I know it’s a tough transition to make, but the signals I picked up from the by-election were promising. Congratulations Little and Haworth for doing what’s needed to happen for almost two decades – getting our thinking and actions in line with the current electoral system. The Pacific community and young people have all worked it out and I’m excited by the prospects this now poses for the Party that I believe best represents my people. The challenge now, is to maintain this level of resolve.


  1. Well done Efeso!
    Yes Andrew Little is doing the right thing, by copying what the Nasty NatZ have been using and have won every election since.

    NZ First Northland have been the watershed that began this model after Nashy in Napier had the vote split and removed a NatZ arsehole candidate.

    Pity they and the other parties did not wind their wheels up and set the vote strategise policy during the last election.

    If the opposition really want to run Nasty natZ out of power next time they had better hold a “Election strategy Forum” pronto.

    This should become a well publicised Forum perhaps called “The Alternative Government Forum” and this will collectively send this chilly message to Government that the war has begun.

    Then from that day when the Forum opposition political parties cement a collective policy platform shall then release an agenda that declares a clear plan to work from to defeat and banish the doggy NatZ/Act vile, toxic, divisive, arrogant, aristocratic, corrupt Government.
    Have I left anything out?

    • Yes and there are other sides to this also.
      Do you remember when Key scoffed at the opposition during the previous elections where Key said “Look at the opposition they have a five fingered animal, so why vote for that”?

      Well Shonkey,here’s the message:

      In an MMP climate when the vote has been split, although you won once, don’t get comfortable just yet, as next time the five fingered animal may gang up against you, as happened in Northland, remember? and repeat this all around the country and you are toast and rodent fodder.

      So plan on a future elsewhere while you have your slimy PM job for now, as it will vanish when the Opposition use their new found savvy way to get rid you , you vermin.

  2. The rather amusing aspect to all of this is that some on the left seem to think Winston is on their side.

    That illusion is currently taking place because Winston is not in the current government along with the parties of the left.

    The truth is that Winston is only on one side – Winston’s side.

    Helping Winston win Northland may ultimately backfire on the left. His constituency is conservative and if Winston holds the balance of power post 2017 it would be a foolish man to bet on which direction he may turn.

  3. And yet again, another heartfelt thank you to all Labour AND National voters who did the right thing by correctly analyzing the issues.

    Credit also to Winston Peters , as he is the one who can take on Key and pulverize him in a debate. To date…we haven’t seen much of a head to head with Key and Peters – and there’s a reason for that.

    There are many other factors…but one is you don’t trivialize Winston Peters in his home turf.

    I predicted also in earlier posts that this win by Peters will set aflame the political landscape throughout many other neglected provinces…and influence the urban centers eventually.

    You could well be looking at a Left , center – Left govt in 2017 because of the excellent decisions of the voting public in Northland.

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