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Speaker: The Government lost the election

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  • Jason Kemp,

    So what happened to the recommendations from the 2012 Review of MMP. As I recall nothing was changed even there were at least 6 recommendations that would have helped a fairer system.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Without endorsing your title, I'm gonna hard-out agree about this supposed, projected, fantasy 'moral authority' BS. O, the NZ public won't accept - ballocks.
    You're the government if you have 61 votes in parliament. We should be able to agree on that, surely?
    If you win 61 or more seats, sure, you have the moral authority, all over the place. But if you don't win 61 seats, what does this 'moral authority' give you the right to? Seats you didn't win? Seats won fair and square by other parties?
    What a load of horse-radish. Why can't some pundit somewhere say it: 61 seats gives you a government. When you can win or negotiate that, you have moral authority. Less than 61 seats? You have the 'moral authority' to be in opposition.
    End of.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2054 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    So what happened to the recommendations from the 2012 Review of MMP. As I recall nothing was changed even there were at least 6 recommendations that would have helped a fairer system.

    Oh that old thing: http://www.elections.org.nz/events/past-events-0/2012-mmp-review/results-mmp-review

    A bit like Trump's attitude to Obamacare - can't get rid of it but certainly won't be going out of their way to improve it.

    The most telling thing to come out of the referendum that preceded that review was that the most popular choice for a replacement if we did ditch MMP was.... FPP. A system completely unfit for purpose, at least if the purpose is representation.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Excellent article by the way.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Great piece Josh. To your point about Garner saying that NZF should call National first because of "moral obligation", I did try to argue that that was bollocks and that whomever had 61 votes in parliament was the government, but you don't get a lot of time to do so.

    I also wholly agree with your point about debates, get 'em all in the room together. Let's hopefully reach a mature MMP stage where we have more parties with smaller percentages.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to David Cormack,

    I also wholly agree with your point about debates, get 'em all in the room together.

    And bar the door before that twit Hosking shows up.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    To be slightly fair to the MSM Labour and National refuse to share the stage with the "minor parties".

    If Labour believes in MMP they should flat out refuse to ever do a two party debate again.

    But in the main you are bang on - the NZ media have behaved irresponsibly this election.

    Journalists love to believe they bring truth to power and that they serve society. This election campaign we saw the reverse, a media only too happy to bury truth underneath a mountain of pointless polls.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4354 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    I think no one has lost the election til Peters lets us know what he decided - and that was probably some months ago.

    I disagree National threw any parties under the bus - it's more small parties tend to come out worse off when linked to larger parties. There doesn't seem to be much appetite with voters for accepting smaller parties may have to compromise to get anything done.

    Ardern's rejection of Turei and steadfast refusal to enter into an electoral accomodation with the Greens (when there were close to disappearing) is much closer to that. All parties have campaigned hard for the party vote irrespective of any impact on potential partners.

    It's always going to be difficult I think for the smaller parties. If you take a risk like the Maori Party did then you might pay a hefty price in terms if your personal political career but also might think the risk worth taking rather than achieve less in policy.

    Since Nov 2016 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    We've had MMP for twenty years now.

    Of course this is true, and Joshua's argument is sound. I've been pulling my hair out, and on Saturday night I had to switch off the talking telly heads before inserting foot in screen.

    But "twenty years" covers 7 previous elections, and of those 5 were effectively decided on election night. In a way, they weren't (seen as) MMP elections. Clark (1999 and 2002) and Key (2008-14) knew they were going to be Prime Minister, and could be annointed as such. There were election night celebrations 5 times. The kind you see in non-MMP democracies most of the time (UK's latest was an exception, but generally, our TV-shaped view is of winners making victory speeches, losers conceding). Since 2005, John Key has just been getting too many votes for National. The memory of the two post-election negotiations has dimmed.

    So in those twenty years our understanding of theory has not been backed up by much experience of practice. Furthermore, on all 7 occasions the largest party has gone on to lead the government. That's a result, not a requirement, but it has been reinforced in the public mind. That's what made it easier for Bill English to flat out lie in the final leaders' debate, when he claimed a special status for the incumbents, if the largest party.

    None of this excuses woeful ignorance by media people who should know better. But, as so often in life, first-hand experience (possibly a painful one!) will ram the learning home, in a way that a hundred whiteboard lectures won't. That could take a few elections yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Neil,

    small parties tend to come out worse off when linked to larger parties

    We’ve already gone through some of the larger-party behaviours contributing to that. National offer some cabinet positions, but generally don’t concede policy that they weren’t going to support anyway (and if it’s popular, they grab all the credit, while if it’s unpopular they gleefully blame it on the minor partner). The Maori Party lost their way by being associated with National — because National remained at best mildly antagonistic about even such basic things as the existence of the Maori seats, and National’s social policies had a disproportionately negative effect on Maori, outweighing any concessions the Maori Party was able to extract. Under this sort of attrition, UF and ACT dwindled to single-person representation (since that’s all a lifeboat ever guarantees you), and lost any wider recognisable identity as parties. Neither National nor Labour has been willing to “share the stage” — a problem not just in debates, but much more consistently, during the term, and in election campaigning. There’s been little if any effort to demonstrate shared commitment and enthusiasm on specific policies, by such basic means as having co-spokespeople presenting them to the public together. That’s got to change.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1736 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    I didn't realise how many senior National and Labour MPs trust and respect Peters. They could have at least told us before the election.

    Since Nov 2016 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to linger,

    Every minor party that has taken portfolios has lost votes. It's all part of our unchanged two-party mentality, within a multi-party system. You'd probably need a psychologist more than a political commentator to help explain it. Reward the strong, punish the weak.

    I'd link it to our continuing deference to the monarchy: respecting power from the top, not building power from the bottom. Or "let's get a CEO as PM, they know how to get things done". But that's another rant ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Neil,

    I didn't realise how many senior National and Labour MPs trust and respect Peters. They could have at least told us before the election.

    Heh. He's a great statesman, you know.

    In 2008 NZF got over 4% of the vote, and if they'd made it to 5% the National Party would have un-ruled him out sharpish. Now it seems 2008 never happened at all. The truth jetted out again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Neil,

    I didn’t realise how many senior National and Labour MPs trust and respect Peters. They could have at least told us before the election.

    That loud sucking noise must be the vacuum that message got lost in :-)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1736 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to simon g,

    He's a great statesman, you know.

    and such tasty boots.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To be slightly fair to the MSM Labour and National refuse to share the stage with the "minor parties".

    Pardon my French, but so fucking what? I still think debates are moronic media kabuki - and throwing more actors on the stage doesn't make the show any more tolerable. But I'd suggest the media grow a spine because putting an empty chair/podium/paddling pool full of leeches on the stage is a legitimate option. Just as (I hope) no responsible and ethical media outlet would let any political party dictate any other editorial decision.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I thought Radio NZ's televised coverage was just fine, I dipped into 1 & 3's posses of the usual suspects and left in dismay.

    Serious public education about the mechanics and thinking behind MMP needs to be done before the next election - I guess getting RNZ or Parliamentary TV to have basic primers would still miss the lumpen blockheads who can't get their heads around blocs - judging by Stuff comments (and I must admit I am one and I'm still getting to grips with it all, having laboured under various misconceptions for years).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Regan Cunliffe,

    Considering National got fairly close to what it did in 2014 and certainly more than it did in 2008, I'm not sure the "National led government lost". The Nat's constituency seems to be fairly steady in their support. Where things have wavered have been with the support partners. Labour have successfully removed both the Maori Party and United Future from parliament while barely leaving a scratch on National. Other than the Maori seats, where was the swing to Labour that you'd expect in a "mood for change" climate? And unless Labour, The Greens & New Zealand First actually end up forming a Government, it is entirely premature to suggest any winner.

    If you break it all down though,

    National: 46
    Act: 0.5
    Maori: 1.1
    United Future: 0.1
    Total: 47.7

    Labour: 35.8
    Green: 5.9
    New Zealand First: 7.5
    Total: 49.2

    We know that The Greens will go with Labour but NZ First are split on which way their constituents would want them to go.

    That break down is: 46% want them to go with National. 41% Labour and 13% want them in opposition. ( https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96793390/revealed-who-new-zealand-wants-running-the-country )

    This would change the result to 51.15 vs 44.78...

    Kaukapakapa • Since Mar 2007 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Neil,

    I didn't realise how many senior National and Labour MPs trust and respect Peters. They could have at least told us before the election.

    Yep. This would have been such a great opportunity for Labour to say "well, we have this agreed deal with The Greens so I guess anything Winston First want will follow from that and of course require agreement from both parties". They could even have done that *before* the election. Which would have been even more effective.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1020 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But I'd suggest the media grow a spine

    I did say slightly fair.

    Frankly I think our media has been hugely responsible for maintaining this FPP mentality. They like having a simple story to tell because they can tell it in the 25 seconds between ad breaks.

    It's been left to media like The Spinoff to actually do real journalism.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4354 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Moz,

    In a few weeks one of the parties will expressing more honest sentiments.

    I know it's a necessary part of the game but Peters has expressed some of the most toxic views. And perhaps he just says them for effect but that's even worse.

    Since Nov 2016 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Neil,

    Peters has expressed some of the most toxic views

    ... in Aotearoa. You really don't want to be reading Australian political media right now. My take is: any time you have actual Nazi's supporting your views you need to be cautious about employing slippery slope arguments. I mean, obviously those making the toxic arguments are not doing that but IMO they should be. Even though the yes supporters have no way to get the obvious response into the far-right media.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1020 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If Jacinda & James take the Treasury benches, expect to see a post-Muldoon constitutional crisis, and some well-resourced smear machines cranking up.

    Long-term, NZ needs to do the following:
    - Boost high school civics education
    - Auto-enrol high school & university students upon turning 18
    - Rebuild trust in the political system
    - Combat post-truth politics, not with censorship but with active fact-checking & strong transparency. Carry out a Royal Commission into the NZ media sector, possibly like the Leveson and Finkelstein Inquiries

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • Lindsey Rea, in reply to Neil,

    Any evidence that the Greens asked for an electoral accommodation when they plunged in the polls? Also, distancing yourself from someone on an electoral suicide mission is not an improper thing to do.

    Since Mar 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall,

    I thought it was interesting that in 2014 National included 3 minor parties ( with 4 seats) in it's coalition when just one or two would have been enough.

    However this time around National instantly dropped ACT before negotiations even began. That doesn't seem a way to build up a long-term relationship with a potential coalition partner.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 52 posts Report Reply

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