Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Don't bother voting

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  • Idiot Savant,

    It occurred to me that if Labour and the Greens between them have more votes than National and Act (a reasonable possibility, given the TV3 poll, which was the more accurate poll last time around), then the Nat/Act supporter simply can't complain if Labour/Green become the government, given their protracted efforts to characterise the Greens as watermelons.

    Not that that will stop them. National seems to believe in plurality rule, not majority rule.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1659 posts Report Reply

  • John Morrison,

    Being rural-based and and a small business owner, give me good reasons why I or any other farmer should vote National. Is it doing away with the Fast-Forward fund and the R&D credits, gutting Kiwisaver, or the politicisation of the Super Fund..?

    Surely, these voters can see through this vote-grabbing exercise? Otherwise I despair for the future.

    Cromwell • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    The idea that any party that reaches over 50% of the vote can be kept out by a group of small parties is one I have real ethical difficulty with.

    Why? I don't get it. If the right wing gets 60 seats and the left wing gets 61, who cares if the former is made up of one or two parties and latter is made up of three or four? People voting for the Greens and the Maori Party (probably) know what side they're voting for. They're simply choosing a different flavour of liberalism because the system now allows it.

    I do think all minor parties should state which major party they're aligned with before election day, however.

    Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Stanley Pointen,

    "who cares if the former is made up of one or two parties and latter is made up of three or four?"

    Could not agree more. It's how our voting system works.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current government is a coalition between Labour and the Progressives, with support agreements with NZ First and United Future, and an agreement to abstain on confidence and supply with the Greens. So, we have five parties involved in the current government. Where is the difference if one of other of these parties leaves, and is replaced with another, the Maori Party for example?

    These arrangements have delivered sound, stable, representative, full term governments under Clark for nine years now. Why should the next three years be any less suitable?

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    The grouping of parties on the Left are known. However within the National Party there are similar groupings. There are those as far out as Act and those genuinely near the centre. The only difference is the parts of the whole are not known by labels. Roll on MMP. I cannot quite see yet how John could hold the team together given the number of dead fish that each faction had to swallow. More so if Maori were part of the mix.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • JohnS,

    In reference to a couple of RB's links today, the WFMU photoshopped Obama/McCain picts are mostly fairly gross, but there is one of McCain sharing a haka with Jonah Lomu and the ABs.

    And on the Bloomberg site, does anyone else share my distaste for their universal use of `` for opening quotes, ie ``xxxxxx"

    (Or, as a one-time typesetter, am I too precious?)

    Greenlane, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    And right on cue:
    Speaking to reporters in Greymouth this morning, Mr Key said voters should be wary of a coalition government that could include Labour, the Progressives, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party.

    "Do [New Zealanders] want to put in a National government with a fresh view that will work going in one direction with a small group of parties, or do they want a potentially five-headed monster?" he said.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10539279

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Why? I don't get it.

    Something to with fairness, having governments represent the will of the people. Which is seen to be undermined when more than half of people vote for a government only for the minority to impose a government unwanted by the majority.

    Quite what this has to do with politics is beyond me, but people have these notions that democracy is meant to be fair...

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Jono,

    Are what we are seeing in this Herald editorial and recent chatter about overhangs the first salvos of a campaign to deligitimise the possible LPGUFNZFMPWhatever governing arrangement that might pip them to the post?

    IIt feels to me like a preemptive cry of "Stabbed in the back".

    Whangarei • Since Oct 2008 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Do [New Zealanders] want to put in a National government with a fresh view that will work going in one direction with a small group of parties, or do they want a potentially five-headed monster?

    And do what, renounce the opportunity to use the word "penta-coalition"? That's just crazy talk.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Angus.

    If "more than half of people vote for a government", they will get it.

    Every realistic scenario shows this. And National know it.

    http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/index.html

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I, for one, welcome our new five-headed overlord.

    Talk about profile building in the export markets - the Japanese would be all over it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Why? I don't get it. If the right wing gets 60 seats and the left wing gets 61, who cares if the former is made up of one or two parties and latter is made up of three or four?

    Correct - you don't get it. The point here is that a party (OR a block of parties) could get more than 50% of the vote and still be unable to form a Government. On account of teh overhangz.

    Personally I'm not too exercised about that (and if pressed would look up what various people above have said).

    Except that if the situation actually arose it would leave a lot of people properly angry about MMP, like in a serious way rather than just being bored of Helen Clark or whatever. That would be bad.

    If the situation arose I'd think the Maori party would be well advised to extract what they can from the bigger block for an abstention. Because that anger would also fall on the party and the Maori seats.


    Not that it would fix this particular scenario, but I'm inclined to ditch the threshold and just stop electing MPs when you get to 120. Sure, you'd get one or two oddball, but I don't see that as fatal. Apparently the electoral commission recommended 4%.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    New Morgan poll. Labour down, greens up seriously, NZF flirting with 5%. Using the MMP calculator gives N 55, ACT 4, UF 1 (=60) / L 41, G 15, JAP 1 (=57), and the Maori Party holding the balance of power no matter how many seats it wins (but only able to make Labour the government if it wins at least 5).

    Standard caveats about Morgan polls (overestimate Greens, underestimate National, 2-week polling period) apply.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1659 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Are what we are seeing in this Herald editorial and recent chatter about overhangs the first salvos of a campaign to deligitimise the possible LPGUFNZFMPWhatever governing arrangement that might pip them to the post?

    First salvoes? Dude, they were talking like this after the last election already.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Oh, and if NZF make it over, its probably curtains for National.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1659 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Speaking to reporters in Greymouth this morning, Mr Key said voters should be wary of a coalition government that could include Labour, the Progressives, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party.

    Interesting, and possibly deliberate omission by Key there.

    I think I can hear someone at the Backbencher jumping up and down saying “What about me?”

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    If the situation arose I'd think the Maori party would be well advised to extract what they can from the bigger block for an abstention.

    I agree (and the same applies to Peter Dunne, of course). I'd rather not see an overhang significantly affect the outcome.

    As for capping Parliament, that moves the system even further away from proportionality. I'd rather we either grew up about it (as the Germans have) and accept that some disproportionality is the price we pay for retaining electorates, or bite the bullet and ditch electorates entirely.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1659 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The idea that any party that reaches over 50% of the vote can be kept out by a group of small parties is one I have real ethical difficulty with.

    Why? I don't get it. If the right wing gets 60 seats and the left wing gets 61...

    For example, in 1978, in a 92 seat Parliament National (the right wing bloc) got 51 seats. Labour got 40 seats, and Social Credit got one.

    Well, the right have won - they got more that half the seats - what's the ethical problem? Well National got 39.8% of the vote, and Labour got 40.4% of the vote (social credit got 16.1%).

    In 1993, National got 35.05% of the vote and 50 seats (out of 99). Problem? They got a majority of the seats, and government, but Labour and the Alliance got 52.89% of the vote between them.

    Your "error" is looking at seats, rather than votes. If a party gets 50.1% of the vote, then a majority of the public have indicated they want that party to form the government.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Giovanni: pentacoalition? I'm holding out for "quincunx".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh, and if NZF make it over, its probably curtains for National.

    As NZ First gets "quasi-cleared" by the privileges committee and the SFO, in hindsight Key's decision could be looking more and more interesting.

    Morally he'll probably always be seen as right, however if NZF do make it in, it'll possibly lead to another term of left-wing government. History is going to look very interestingly at that, as might his own party.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Not that it would fix this particular scenario, but I'm inclined to ditch the threshold and just stop electing MPs when you get to 120.

    Sorry, that was unclear. I was just tangentially advocating ditching or minimising the threshold and leaving everything else untouched.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Jono,

    Lyndon, I am not saying that what we have had since shortly after the 2005 election hasn't been coordinated and cynical (giving them the benefit of the doubt about whetever honest initial miffed reaction there was to be had).

    I guess I was thinking specifically in terms of what has happened in the US with the McCain campaign and the strategy as rather more calculated. That is, having seen the writing on the wall, they are stoking the fires about the election being stolen by ACORN-enabled vote fraud so as to get up a head of steam to take them through to the 2012 Palin redux.

    I lived in the US in 2002-03 and was working in a fairly heavily democratic-voting sector and they were still/still are drawing on Gore-2000 and their righteous anger to get them through the day. This was pre-An Inconvenient Truth and to the faithful, Gore was a rockstar....Gore!!!

    Whangarei • Since Oct 2008 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    From my political perspective it would be highly advantageous if Rodney Hide didn't win Epsom.

    But, that aside, I don't think he deserves to win, after being utterly useless for the first two and a bit years of the Parliamentary term. He sure sprang back to life in the second half of 2008, like some persistent kind of garden fungus, but ideally he would be held to account for being AWOL until that point.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    If NZ First makes 5%, Winston wouldn't hesitate to go with National. He's done it before and would do it again if it meant more power for him personally.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 266 posts Report Reply

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