Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Council elections: FPP Q&A

15 Responses

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And you didn't think FPP needed a Q&A :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters,

    I pity those in local body elections who have STV. Its not that the system is flawed particualrly, its just that it seems a battle between individuals, rather than the deeper principles they adhere to when organised into a party, even a party of loose cannons (at least you know where they are coming from). Voting in the STV health board election down here meant I had to read through 20 personal biographies (50% spin) of 200 to 300 words each, as well as sometimes lengthy 'conflict of interest statements' which don't tell me where the candidates loyalties really lie (themselves, or particularly trade union, or business friends, or medical profession, or politcal views) . Then I had to rank them in order of preference - and not make a cock-up or else the whole three days spare time reading and research is wasted (not to mention my votes). I dont mind this however, as I have a political habit, and need a fix, but 50% of eligible voters do not, and how many votes are wasted?. Dont get me wrong, if this is democracy, I'll take it, but I dont think its my first choice.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Graeme, I've seen numerous people link to your STV blog post as they've discussed how to vote down here in Dunedin. Had an impact I'd say.

    When you think about it FPP is terribly named. In STV there is a post - you have to get to a number - over 50% in a mayoral race, about 9% in my horrendously large council ward.

    In FPP there is no post, you just have to finish in the top x of candidates. The post is whatever number of votes x+1 got (the first losing candidate), so it's a floating number completely unlike a post in the ground.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Has anyone else in central AK not received ballots yet?

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters,

    I know I am a little off topic here, but I would appreciate it if could someone could clarify something for me. As part of my interest in the rules of MMP, I am researching the ACT Party. At their 2013 conference, President John Boscawen said "The Epsom electorate votes overwhelmingly National with their party vote, but it remains an undeniable fact that had John Banks not been elected MP for Epsom, the National Party would not have been able to form a majority government with ACT and Peter Dunne’s United Future.Having ruled out Winston Peters as a possible coalition partner, National would have been left with only one alternative – The Maori Party. I believe had Epsom voters not elected John Banks, the Maori Party would have held the balance of power and would have been in a position to have decided who governed New Zealand. They would have extracted a huge price for their support!"

    Is this factually correct? If National had taken Epsom in 2011, would not the result have been exactly the same for the Nats in terms of having the numbers to form a govt.?

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Is this factually correct? If National had taken Epsom in 2011, would not the result have been exactly the same for the Nats in terms of having the numbers to form a govt.?

    Act wasn't an overhang MP (1.07% of party vote) so didn't increase the size of parliament.

    So if Act didn't win the electorate but National won it, National would get one less list MP. By my calculations, Labour would have picked up this list MP as the next party due to have one under the formula.

    That would have left National with 59 MPs, and Maori Party with 3, 62 being enough to form a govt in a 121 seat parliament. It would have made the Maori party a lot stronger though, as currently National + Act + United Future can pass legislation. Without Act, National's only option is the Maori Party.

    What price for their support? I guess it depends how likely the alternative of Maori-Greens-NZ First-Mana was.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    That's also my understanding. You can look at MMP scenarios with this very useful calculator: http://www.elections.org.nz/voting-system/mmp-voting-system/mmp-seat-allocation-calculator

    MMP has an "unofficial affiliate" feature: if a seat is held by a local party that isn't officially affiliated to the national one, then it doesn't count against their list. So if National (or Labour's) electorate MPs were to leave the party and run as "independents", the party would still get its list seats plus the overhang.

    Single voting (where one's party vote was assigned to the party of the chosen electorate candidate) would fix this.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Thanks Kyle.
    Thats pretty querky. If National had won Epsom in 2011, it would have cost it a list MP, and therefore its desirable for a different but friendly party to win it. Do you know how many electorates this scenario could apply to? ie.National allowing other favoured parties to win safe National electorates, thereby avoiding the loss of a list seat, but also retaining the numbers to form a government coalition?

    It could be important, as National could make arrangements in other electorates to do the same, for the 2014 election. I wouldnt blame them, as its in the rules, but is it possible, and to what extent?.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters,

    Thanks Rich. This is quite intriguing, and complex for the ordinary punter - who said MMP was simple?. I am still interested to learn about how this particualar quirk could be maximally exploited by political parties.
    Single voting would mean the district magnitude of the party vote would be each individual electorate. Any ideas why it was decided that the party vote be calculated using the entire electorate - or double voting?

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Thats pretty querky. If National had won Epsom in 2011, it would have cost it a list MP, and therefore its desirable for a different but friendly party to win it. Do you know how many electorates this scenario could apply to?

    The same applies to Peter Dunne's seat, and it's the reason that John Key held his nose and had that cup of tea with John Banks.

    The alternative is to assume that if you killed Act, most Act voters would shift to National as the next best thing (some would go elsewhere for sure), so it's a tradeoff between how many seats Act gets, wanting multiple coalition partners so you're not tied to one party to pass things, a total guess as to whether that next list seat will be yours or not (there's about a 40% chance of it being yours anyway), and how much of the Act vote you'd pick up if you don't have the cup of tea, call them dead in the water, and urge their voters to vote for you as the alternative.

    You're much more likely to do it if that party was bringing in 3 or 4 MPs, one is really starting to be marginal, particularly when they're outside of you on the political spectrum (there's probably a fair chance if you knew they were only going to get one MP, and you killed them, you'd pick up that MP as a result, whereas if they have three or four you know you'll lose at least one from your coalition).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters,

    "The same applies to Peter Dunne's seat". You mean if Dunne had lost, and Labour won - National would have been one seat down for a coalition. however Dunnes seat is a bit different to the Epsom example, as National hasn't a hope of winning it, and cannot really influence the result.

    "You're much more likely to do it if that party was bringing in 3 or 4 MPs, one is really starting to be marginal, particularly when they're outside of you on the political spectrum (there's probably a fair chance if you knew they were only going to get one MP"


    I am wanting to keep things as realistic as possible - which means, realistically, there will be no 'coat tails' MP's coming in with Act 2014. Allowing John Banks to win Epsom as a lone MP , however, is a no brainer as it is one extra seat for National (going on 2011 results). As far as 'killing Act' goes, it is simply a matter of letting them die, as they only survive there by tint of National party strategy as it is National heartland.
    An electoral arrangement could also be made by National with Colin Craig in Rodney (a long shot but possible), if the numbers favour it ie if doing so would give them an extra seat, as with Epsom.Polls going into the election would clarify the numbers of as to the likehood of this happening.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Henry Barnard, in reply to Steven Peters,

    Dunnes seat is a bit different to the Epsom example, as National hasn’t a hope of winning it, and cannot really influence the result.

    Isn't National the likely winner of that seat if Dunne should go? Chauvel (Labour) got 13,000, Gareth Hughes (Green) 2160, Dunne 14360, Katrina Shanks (National), 6900. Given the overwhelming vote for National on the party votes in that electorate, I wouldn't describe National as not having a hope of winning it.

    Palmerston North • Since Aug 2013 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters, in reply to Henry Barnard,

    Isn't National the likely winner of that seat if Dunne should go?

    I am not sure what you mean by 'should go'. What I am saying is that if he is in the race - National hasn't a hope of winning it. If he isnt in the race then you are probably right, although it may be closer than we think. I am not sure if Dunne voters will all vote for a National candidate, as they seem to be swingers by nature, if you will pardon the expression. The deciding factor may be the Act party vote going to National, if these voters realise they are wasting it on Act. My interest is more in whether there will continue to be advantages for National in having Dunne retain the seat ahead of their own candidate, as per the discussion above.

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The answer is again, "maybe". If Dunne was bringing in two or three other MPs, then the answer is "definitely", but only if you can rely on Dunne falling your way come coalition talks, which probably isn't likely given he's in the middle of things.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Steven Peters,

    Hi Folks
    I have had a letter to the editor published in todays CHCH Press (2nd Oct) concerning John Keys comment that the party with the largest vote has the ‘moral mandate’ to govern, rather than a main party with less votes (but which has a coalition partner). If you are interested, you might wish to read it – I would appreciate comments from fellow blogsters, and of course, the topblog, GE. (The Press should be accessible via your public library website under databases and newspapers on line).

    CHCH • Since Oct 2012 • 96 posts Report Reply

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