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Polity: Turnout in the referendum

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, December 16th, 2013 - 72 comments
Categories: democratic participation, Maori Issues, Maori seats, pasifika, referendum - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnRob Salmond at Polity has had a look at the effectiveness of National’s deliberate strategy to discriminate against Maori and Pasifika in the asset sales referendum.

National chose a postal ballot for the referendum knowing it would disproportionately disenfranchise Maori and Pasifika communities. I hope they’re proud of themselves.

Here is a chart of turnout rates in the asset sales referendum, graphed against the National vote in the 2011 election:

asset sales turnout

What stands out? Well, first of all it contradicts the complete nonsense various people have been spreading about the turnout being just a bunch of lefties1 and also Matthew Hooten’s misinformation about turnout being pretty even around the country.

But more importantly we also see a deepening of the disturbing trend where heavily Maori and Pacific electorates have less of a voice than other areas. These communities have always had lower turnout than the rest of the country, but that trend was even more pronounced in the referendum. In the 2011 election the ten highlighted electorates turned out at about five-sixths the rate of the entire country. In this referendum, their turnout rate fell to only two thirds the nationwide average.

The dirty secret here is that National knew in advance this would happen, and that is exactly why they chose the postal ballot. Study after study has shown that postal ballots cause a wider turnout gap between the haves and the have nots.2 This is because people in low income communities (and especially low income ethnic minority communities) are:

  • Less likely to stay at one address for a long time, so less likely to receive their ballot paper.
  • Less likely to live somewhere NZ Post delivers to, so less likely to receive any mail at all.
  • Less likely to use the post office in any other part of their lives.
  • And so on.

National chose the postal ballot knowing all this full well. They wanted to make it comparatively harder – even harder than normal – for Labour’s strongest supporters in disadvantaged areas to cast their ballot’s than for National’s strong support bases in white-as-snow retirement communities.

It worked, of course. Yuck.

1.Even when you exclude the ten highlighted electorates, there, is still no relationship between National support and turnout rates. Even bearing in mind the limits of ecological inference, this pattern is highly inconsistent with the right-leaning spin.

2.An excellent example, from New Zealand-connected researchers Jeff Karp and Susan Banducci, shows that postal voting in Oregon causes increased turnout, but only really among high-turnout communities, thus expanding the turnout gap between the haves and the have nots.

72 comments on “Polity: Turnout in the referendum”

  1. Arfamo 1

    There’s a poll on stuff.co asking what support there is for the assets to be bought back. The numbers at the moment look like this:

    Should Labour buy back shares in state assets if elected?

    Yes, they should do whatever they can to get them back
    148 votes, 11.9%

    Yes – but only if it’s affordable
    328 votes, 26.3%

    No – not needed, we retained a controlling stake
    685 votes, 54.9%

    No, we should have sold all of our shares in them
    87 votes, 7.0%

    I’ve given up on polls debates. The only one that’s important to me now is the next general election.

  2. Thomas 2

    This is silly. CIRs are normally postal ballots (unless they coincide with a general election).
    The reason is simple: postal ballots are much cheaper than having in-person voting. $9 million is expensive enough.

    • lprent 2.1

      That may be the case. However the objective with voting is not to attempt to deny voters from voting – right?

      In this case it’d have been preferable to have had this referendum at the next general election. But for some obscure reason National chose to expend more money, even though they’d already sold most of the viable assets, to have a postal election away from the general election.

      I wonder why? Possibly because they damn well knew that the asset sales program was deeply unpopular amongst their own voters? And more Labour, Green, Maori and Pasifika voters would vote in a general election.

      Deeply undemocratic. Such a pity that National will probably lose a lot of provincial NZ over this “mandate” that they didn’t have. 😈

      • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1

        But by the next election, even the Genesis deal would have been done. I really don’t think there was anything sinister in the decision to go for a postal ballot rather than a polling booth ballot. I did some analysis on this. See post below.

        • Paul 2.1.1.1

          Why did you claim voting was equal across electorates when it clearly was not?

          • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.1.1

            I thought it was a bit narrower than this, but it’s all between about 30 and 50%, with the high 40s most dominant. The one good point Rob’s graph points out is that either Maori electorate and South Auckland voters tend not to vote as regularly as other voters, or that the electoral rolls in those electorates are less accurate than elsewhere.

        • greywarbler 2.1.1.2

          But Key is saying that so much has already happened with the asset sales already, there have been sales, plural, so now or at election time, would be little different.

          If it was supposed to be such a waste of money why have it now? Could it be that Shonkey had a little taunting song worked out, a childish sneering one about the Greens being dreebs, and forcing expensive, meaningless referendum on the public?

          In other words putting the referendum through now was a propaganda ploy that Key would turn to his advantage whatever the it indicated.

          • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.2.1

            I don’t think that delaying a CIR for more than a year, even if that were lawful, would be more democratic than holding it soon after the petition was accepted and before the final sale had gone ahead.

            • greywarbler 2.1.1.2.1.1

              That’s a good point – does anyone know offhand whether it would have been lawful to
              delay the referendum until election time? Is there a time limit?

            • lprent 2.1.1.2.1.2

              I don’t think that delaying a CIR for more than a year, even if that were lawful,

              Just requires 75% of parliament to vote for it. That only required National to want to do it.

              National preferred holding it in a postal vote in December immediately after selling large chunks of two more assets to their mates.

              It has been interesting seeing how much that decision about when the referendum has been help has been pissing off family and friends out of the urban areas. They’re irritated.

            • Puddleglum 2.1.1.2.1.3

              I think it’s clear that National did not want the asset sales issue to have any official oxygen in an election year – hence rushing it through just before Christmas.

              On the broader issue of the post, polls consistently have shown that Maori are more opposed to asset sales than any other part of the electorate. Low turnout in those electorates compared with Pakeha dominated electorates reduces the proportion likely to be opposed to asset sales (and it’s not ‘MOM’, it’s ‘asset sales’ – shares have always been classed as assets in their own right),

          • lurgee 2.1.1.2.2

            Crikey, people demanded a referendum and now they are complaining about it being held!

            I really find being a leftie dispiriting at times.

        • Tracey 2.1.1.3

          I agree that waiting til the election would have been even more invalidating because all the jewels would be gone to the pawn broker by then.

      • Thomas 2.1.2

        The CIR act stipulates that the referendum must be held within a year. Ergo holding it at the next general election would not have been possible. See http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/about-parliament/get-involved/referendum/summary/00CLOOC_ReferendumProposals_1/citizens-initiated-referenda

        • lprent 2.1.2.1

          Ah no you silly clown. You should read your own references

          The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75% of all members of the House vote to defer it.

          Labour, Greens, NZ First, Mana, and I think even the Maori party were all happy to have it at the next election and even put up a remit for that. The 12 months was only a few months out from the next general election.

          National wasn’t interested in that. ergo National are responsible for having the postal vote for the referendum costing $9 million held at the very end of the year. Just designed to limit the types of people who’d vote..

          Pity it pissed off so many people in provincial NZ eh!

          • Thomas 2.1.2.1.1

            Oh good grief. That’s an entrenchment clause not a “or like whatever” clause.

            Your argument is really “well National could have amended the CIR act”. There is no good reason to overturn entrenched legislation to hold the CIR at the next election.

            Besides, I’m sure that, if National had moved the referendum to the next election, the Standard would be attacking them for delaying it and disregarding the rules of the CIR act.

            This is a conspiracy theory of the most ridiculous nature.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Wow dude is everything a “conspiracy theory” nowadays? Seems like you’ve just hit peak conspiracy theory.

      • Wayne 2.1.3

        You are being ridiculous about postal voting. Not really an evil right wing conspiracy. Unless you think all local elections are such.

        Actually postal voting was first introduced to increase participation, not reduce it.

        • lprent 2.1.3.1

          Actually postal voting was first introduced to increase participation, not reduce it.

          It may have even done that when snail mail was popular. However I don’t think that it has succeeded for many years. At least for the last two decades it has been failing to achieve its goals at an accelerating rate.

          I didn’t do it at this years Auckland local body elections, but I have been working the intermediates at every other Auckland local body postal vote since 1995. What has been most noticeable is that the percentages in each 5 years age bracket who have voted has been steadily drifting downward. It remains high in the oldest brackets, but voters in 25-29 age bracket was down by a third since about 1995 in 2010 The other younger (ie <45) age brackets all show the same effect. Moreover it is doing it with at least double the acceleration of the general election votes.

          Living in an apartment block is quite interesting. We two moved back into my apartment in september after 3 years of renting it. But we got got about 7 voting forms at the local body elections, 6 for the referendum, and I was only able to forward 2. We only had two sets of tenants while we were in a larger place.

          Who uses snail mail any more? I haven’t for at least 6 years. But about the only mail I get is from the city council and the electoral commission.

          Basically postal voting works in the provincial areas and even in some settled urban areas. But the local body results and the referendum show that it has become essentially useless in urban areas. In those areas the voting is nearly twice as effective using polling stations for people who are < 35.

  3. Ad 3

    Look, conspiracy is daft.

    But the graph strongly supports Cunliffe’s tactical direction of focussing the general election effort on mobilising the 800,000 Enrolled Non-Vote.

    The south of Auckland won it for Labour last time, and this time the Maori Party is going to fold like origami, so concentrating effort on mobilising effort there will reap rich electoral rewards.

    • Matthew Hooton 3.1

      That’s true from Labour’s perspective if you believe that the integrity of the electoral rolls is the same in all electorates but there are reasons not to believe that.

      • Yeah, let’s get into that whole voter fraud morass because Hooton says so, even though individuals fake-enrolling has never been demonstrated to be a problem in any developed country. Whoops.

        Labour could do well focusing there, and on voters who haven’t enrolled but would like something to vote for.

      • rhinocrates 3.1.2

        So apparently the massive opposition to asset sales is do to huuuge voter fraud. That’s a serious allegation Hoots – would care to substantiate it and better still, take your damning evidence to the Electoral Commission or is it more desperate spin and insinuation from a slimeball? Oh, let me guess, the latter…

        • lurgee 3.1.2.1

          It’s a ‘Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander’ situation. The arguments put forward against a postal ballot also apply to a polling statino ballot, and also impugn the electoral roll.

          Nice to see you passing up another opportunity to hurl abuse and tilt at strawmen. Oh, wait a minute. You managed both, in about 30 words. Well done!

  4. DS 4

    By this same logic, in person voting is discriminatory because that also requires a properly registered address. Alleging conspiracy is utterly daft, and I’m hardly pro-Tory.

  5. DS 5

    And for what it’s worth, the likes of Dunedin South achieved solid turnout, and was very anti-asset sales too. If it was a conspiracy, it was an incompetent conspiracy.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Dunedin South actually remains a very strong and politically active Labour supporting seat as evidenced by the referendum results. Just needs to get over a few constraints.

      • swordfish 5.1.1

        True enough, CV. But there has certainly been a significant swing to the Right in the seat over recent elections (well above the nationwide average, from memory). The hefty size of the Lab-to-Nat swings in the far south-west of Dunedin in particular (Green Island, Burnside, Concord and, above all, Abbotsford) have been something to behold. I do de-Clare !

  6. Matthew Hooton 6

    Rob Salmond is obviously angry about the result. The allegation that the government made a decision to use a postal ballot instead of making people go to the polling booth is absurd. Turnout in South Auckland and the Maori electorates is always lower than the average under either system.

    For example, in the 1995 firefighters referendum, where everyone had to go to the polling booths, turnout in the Maori electorates was between 11% and 16%, by far the lowest in the country, which had an average of 27%. The turnout in Mangere was below 20%. In Manukau East it was 21% and in Manurewa 23%. See http://electionresults.govt.nz/1995_citizens_referenda/7.1%20Return%20of%20Citizens%20Initiated%20Referendum%20Poll%20Votes.pdf

    However, in 2009, with the smacking referendum, a postal ballot, the turnout in the Maori electorates was in the 30s, compared with a national average of 56%. See http://electionresults.govt.nz/2009_citizens_referendum/2009_referendum_results.html

    This means that in the previous two CIRs conducted outside a general election, the percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland, compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model (roughly 50% to 60%).

    In other words, the actual data suggests Maori and South Aucklanders tend to have higher representation in postal ballots than in polling booth ballots.

    Which means that, if Rob Salmond is right that National choose a postal ballot for the MON referendum in order to disenfranchise Maori and South Aucklanders, then that was the wrong strategy for National. Which seems improbable given John Key is quite an astute politician. (In fact, had it been a polling booth ballot the turn out would probably have been much lower so National could have rubbished the result even more than they have.)

    Which suggests that Rob Salmond’s post is a load of shit.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.1

      “then that was the wrong strategy for National. Which seems improbable given John Key is quite an astute politician. “

      lolz …I think you draw the wrong conclusion here, given that everything this government touches falls to bits, they seem to specialize in taking the wrong strategy – their hallmark, if you will.

      Or is getting away with messing up the entire country in numerous areas what being ‘quite an astute politician’ means these days?

    • QoT 6.2

      Rob Salmond is obviously angry about the result.

      Ah yes, undermine people by implying they’re emotional about something. And this from the dude who screamed “HE’S LYING! HE’S LYING!” on Radio NZ?

      • Paul 6.2.1

        Honestly Hooton is quite pathetic.
        He pretends to debate rationally but same as many others on this site, reverts to insults and tricks like the one you noticed to attempt to weaken the other person’s viewpoint.
        If you haven’t got an argument, I guess you have to use dishonest tricks.

        • rhinocrates 6.2.1.1

          His advantage is that he gets paid to do it. I wish I had a gig like that.

          Hoots is quite funny though – he’s incredibly pompous, but push him and you can seem him barely restraining the tantrums that he so often throws on Nine to Noon.

    • swordfish 6.3

      @ Young Master Hooton – “This means that in the previous two CIRs conducted outside a general election, the percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland, compared with overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model (roughly 50% to 60%). In other words, the actual data suggests Maori and South Aucklanders tend to have higher representation in postal ballots than in polling booth ballots.”

      Utterly wrong on South Auckland, Big Fella.

      1995 (Polling Booth) Referendum on Firefighters.

      South Auckland Seat turnout as % of Nationwide turnout…

      Mangere 73%, Manukau East 78%, Manurewa 86%

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      2009 (Postal Ballot) Referendum on Smacking

      South Auckland Seat turnout as % of Nationwide turnout…

      Mangere 68%, Manukau East 72%, Manurewa 79%

      So, the data suggests the opposite to what you imply, you amusingly disingenuous young scamp. (Which is probably, incidently, why you very carefully left out the 2009 Referendum figures for South Auckland – hoping no one would notice your little bit of intellectual sleight-of-hand).

      • lurgee 6.3.1

        I think you are trying to fudge the figures by expressing them as percentages of the nationwide turnout.

        Viewed simply as percentages of voters participating by electorate, the figures tell a very different story.

        In the 1995 referendum (Polling booth) 19.3% of the electors of Mangere voted, 21.08% of the people of Manukau East voted, and 23.21 of the good burghers of Manurewa voted.

        (Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_firefighter_referendum,_1995)

        In the 2008 Smacking referendum (postal), in Mangere 38.49% of the electorate voted, in Manukau East it was 40.47 and in Manurewa 44.25.

        (Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_corporal_punishment_referendum,_2009#By_electorate)

        I’d say that was pretty decisive in favour of postal ballots.

        • swordfish 6.3.1.1

          Nah, I was responding to Hooton – who, of course, was the one who focussed on comparing percentage turnout in the Maori seats and South Auckland with percentage turnout Nationwide. Do please try to keep up.

          • lurgee 6.3.1.1.1

            It’s a fair cop.

            But he is rightish in that participation almost doubled with the postal ballot. Dunno why he opted for some spurious and made up measurement concerning the national vote, when the path to victory was open in front of him.

            • lurgee 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Actually, re-reading the exchange, I was right – you’re aren’t playing fair with the numbers.

              Hooton is quite clearly looking at participation across several electorates (Maori seats plus Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East) while you focused on one (Manukau East) so I don’t think you’re making a fair comparison.

              Manuakau East might have experienced a slump in participation from 1995 to 2009, but the participation across the selected electorates would have been up overall (unless Matthew is simply Making Stuff Up – I can’t be bothered wonking the figures). And expressing participation as a percentage of the national participation is still odd, but only made up a small part of his post, which you focused on exclusively – and selectively.

              • swordfish

                Nyet, Comrade, Nyet !!!

                I think you’re gonna have to re-read both my and Hooton’s comments again.

                Let’s go through your points one by one:

                (1) Turnout as % of nationwide turnout “only made up a small part of (Hooton’s) post, which you focussed on exclusively – and selectively.”

                No way. Hooton predicates his ENTIRE argument on this methodology.

                To purportedly prove that Rob’s allegation is “absurd”, Hooton begins (para one) by suggesting that “turnout in South Auckland and the Maori electorates is always lower than the average under either system.” And (para two) provides 1995 Referendum figures for these seats to partially back that claim up. But, his core aim in para two is to compare Maori/South Auckland turnout with Nationwide turnout. He then goes on to do the same for the 2009 Referendum in para three. (albeit, as I’ve shown (in my earlier comment), very carefully “forgetting” to mention the inconvenient South Auckland figures).

                That leads to his conclusion in para four that “percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model.” His “roughly 50% to 60%” figures (mistaken as they, in fact, are) represents Hooton’s attempt to compare the 1995 with 2009 Maori/South Auckland turnout as % of nationwide turnout percentages.

                Para five re-states this conclusion.

                Paras six and seven build on that conclusion.

                So, it forms the entire basis of his argument.

                (more to follow)…….

              • swordfish

                (2) Hooton’s looking at participation across Maori seats and Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East, “while you focussed on one (Manukau East) so I don’t think you’re making a fair comparison.”

                First up, the whole point of my reply to Hooton was to challenge his argument SPECIFICALLY regarding his claims about the South Auckland seat turnout (hence my: “Utterly wrong on South Auckland, Big Fella”). I would have thought it was fairly bleeding obvious that I wasn’t challenging the claims about Maori turnout (or, at least, not his broad claims – some of his specifics were off).

                Second, I can’t even begin to understand why you would claim that I focussed only on Manukau East !!! Quite bizarre. Have another look at my comment. What do I do there ?: show that Hooton is completely wrong to suggest that “the percentage turnout in…South Auckland, compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the (2009) postal ballot than in the (1995) polling booth model.”

                I show that, in fact, turnout in Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East (Please note: NOT just the latter seat !!!), was – as % of overall turnout – higher in 1995 than 2009. (Mangere 73% (1995) / 68% (2009); Manurewa 86% (1995) / 79% (2009); Manukau East 78% (1995) / 72% (2009)).

                (Possibly more to follow – but only if I have time)

                • lurgee

                  Second, I can’t even begin to understand why you would claim that I focussed only on Manukau East !!!

                  Obviously, when I said, Manakau East, I meant all the non-Maori electorates.

                  *Embarrassed face*

                  Still, my under-caffeinated blundering aside, by pointing to the three non-Maori electorates, while Hooton was basing his figures on them plus Maori electorates, you are comparing apples with wildebeest.

                  I may review the whole discussion and respond to your other points later on, before proclaiming myself correct again.

    • [Cross-posted comment from Polity]@Matthew: Welcome along. I agree that the Maori / Pacific communities almost always have lower turnout. The question is always: “how much lower?”

      The comparison you have of the 1995 firefighters CIR and the 2009 anti-smacking CIR is flawed. You cannot directly compare the two referenda because the questions are of vastly different relevance in the Maori / Pacific communities. Cultural practice arguments around family discipline have particular salience for these communities in a way that arguments about how much to pay firefighters do not.

      The evidence on my side of the argument, however, is put together by social scientists specifically to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples. *Their* pretty consistent conclusion is that the postal ballot further disadvantages already marginalised communities. Consult the Karp / Banducci paper on Oregon for an especially good example, and a good discussion of how this effect comes about.

      I’ll take the scientific evidence over two compromised observations any time.

      PS – I also endorse what Swordfish says above. If you’re going to make with the data, do it properly, huh.

    • Gotta love attempting to “normalise” the postal ballot with the general election- have you considered that rather than there being a higher proportional turnout in the postal referendum, that potentially as an electorate becomes disenfranchised, it becomes harder to suppress the vote for each additional point? Diminishing returns isn’t a hard concept to grasp.

      That said, I do disagree that this was a tactic to disenfranchise people too. That would imply that the Government actually cares about referendum results. No, they ran a postal ballot because attaching the referendum to the election would have hurt their election results.

    • Tracey 6.6

      And if you had done your analysis before shooting from the lip, you would have known that it wasn’t all fairly even as you said, so that means, by your logic, your post was full of shit.

      So now you and Rob have crappy nappies. How clever you must feel.

    • Crunchtime 6.7

      1995 was a long time ago when the internet was barely used by anyone, a cellphone was for a tiny minority of rich folks (and the size of a large brick) and everyone still sent letters to each other. Also, that CIR barely registered on the public consciousness and turnout was just flat-out low across the board.

      Also, you’re desperately looking for trends here but you have a tiny sample size. Put that tiny sample size away Hooton, nobody wants to see that.

      • lprent 6.7.1

        You also forgot that the net was clunky and largely restricted to a few enthusiastic vaguely crazy people like myself.

        http://downtothewire.co.nz/1995/

        That was the year that I finally dropped my 6 year connection of getting e-mail and usenet on uucp running over some expensive ISDN lines. I also stopped going to BBS’es.

        Unfortunately the year that microsoft released internet explorer version 1. What a pile of junk that was (and remained). I really wish I hadn’t remembered that. I was still writing code for the switches at Clear.

        • Crunchtime 6.7.1.1

          I thought I covered that off with “the internet was barely used by anyone”. :)

          John Key and his strategists lined this all up so that they could say the turnout was “too low to matter”.

          However, the point missed by Mr Hooton AND by the original author of this article is this: nearly 900,000 people voted no to asset sales. In the last general election, where of course turnout is far higher because it’s a general election, just over a million voted for National. Those numbers are pretty damn close.

          In other words, if the turnout was too low to matter in this CIR, it was pretty much too low to matter last election too.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    discussion may get heated further-on.

    • Matthew Hooton 7.1

      Why’s that?

      • Rogue Trooper 7.1.1

        you have taken the time to submit a more comprehensive (than usual ) alternative analysis? Anyway, I’ve got to go in from play now. See ya tomorrow (school holidays).

        ps. regardless, the referendum results are far from a suave look.

        • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1

          I was just interested to see what the real data showed, so I looked it up. Internet age and all. Doesn’t take long.

          • Paul 7.1.1.1.1

            You’re spinning Matthew. Who’s paying you to spend so much time trying to diffuse all this bad news for the government?

            • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1.1.1

              John Key pays me through Crosby Texter for every word I write here. (Or I could just be sitting here at work, bored, waiting for a 7pm conference call with a foreign client on something unrelated to NZ politics, surfing the blogs to fill in time. You choose which is more likely.)

          • Tracey 7.1.1.1.2

            you were interested in the real data after you made your fairly even comment, why not before? It seems you, like many from all sides of the political spectrum are interested in facts when they support your view and like making them up when they don’t. How does that serve the electorate?

  8. Ian 8

    you guys are just miffed cos KFC doesn’t travel through the post ,that well. You should have used vouchers.

    [lprent: Stupid troll – read the policy and pull your arse out of 2008. Otherwise I ban you (again). Can’t really be bothered with trolls who are so thick they can’t learn new lines to run. ]

  9. tricledrown 9

    Ian and mathew are having a titford moment.

  10. Dumrse 10

    No fucking wonder the blog is written by a non descript entity, it’s full of shit or lacks some very important references. Show the evidence that National deliberately chose a postal ballot to disenfranchise people who have no fucking letter box or, don’t know where it is. And, explain to us how the disenfranchised can walk to WINZ blindfolded but wouldn’t have a clue what a big red post box looks like. Grasping at straws. How about some detailed analysis on the votes. IE, percentage of eligible voters who voted. Compare and contrast with the last general election…… Some real meaningful numbers, oh! hang on a minute, that won’t look good will it.

  11. lurgee 11

    Less likely to stay at one address for a long time, so less likely to receive their ballot paper.
    Less likely to live somewhere NZ Post delivers to, so less likely to receive any mail at all.
    Less likely to use the post office in any other part of their lives.
    And so on.

    I think you are drawing a very long bow by claiming this is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise a segment of the population, and the reasons that you offered above, while valid, over look the problem that they will apply almost equally to every method of holding a referendum.

    Surely these voters are less likely to be on the electoral roll, full stop, so no form of referendum will effect them? And less likely to go along to a polling station to vote, as they didn’t bother showing up in 2008 or 2011? And unlikely register for any dubious online referendum?

    What did you have in mind as an alternative to a postal ballot?

    I’d really like it to be a Massive CONSPIRACY but I think you;re just being silly.

  12. Papa Tuanuku 12

    while y’all are debating the numbers that voted in the broke areas, you miss the larger, more fundamental point. we voted in the 90%’s against asset sales. now that is news. why are brown people more anti sales than whites?

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 12.1

      Good question Papa Tuanuku – ‘less brainwashed’ comes to mind.

      • swordfish 12.1.1

        Confirms the only ethnic breakdown I’ve seen in polls on partial privatisation.

        A February 2011 Research New Zealand Poll found Maori/Pasifikas (they lumped them in together) opposing National’s plans by 57 to 34%, compared with European/Pakehas who were evenly split 46/46 %.

        It’s the ONLY Poll I’ve ever seen where the Oppose/Support options were close (Total Sample: Oppose 47 / Support 45 %). So, small sample size (and possibly faulty methodology) leads to questionable overall findings (given it’s clearly an outlier). But, the ethnic differences appear to have been sound.

        Here (scroll down to near-bottom of page – http://www.researchnz.com/media_releases_2011.html )

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  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    16 hours ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    2 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    2 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    4 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    5 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    5 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    6 days ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    6 days ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    6 days ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    7 days ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    7 days ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    7 days ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
    Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe. “When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public… ...
    1 week ago
  • Swamp kauri mining and exports should stop
    Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • MSD going down wasteful spending track
    The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track… ...
    1 week ago
  • South Auckland housing meeting highlights stark realities
    The stark realities of life for South Aucklanders in substandard Housing New Zealand and private rental homes were fully exposed at a South Auckland housing meeting today, Labour’s MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa says. “Local people generously shared their… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Pope, the scientists, and the diplomats: getting there on the climate ...
    The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party supports Gifted Kids Awareness Week 2015
    Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Truck sellers still getting away with rip-offs
    The Government has admitted its brand new lending rules are already inadequate, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesman David Shearer. “Gaping holes in the Responsible Lending Code – which came into effect this month -- mean the vulnerable will not be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government Screws the Lid Down On Raw Milk Access
    The Government’s raw milk policy announced yesterday will make it more difficult for many consumers to access the quality product of their choice, and may even be setting up the raw milk sector to fail. The Government, in its paranoia… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Operation Desert Storm
    Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, your expensive slip is showing
    A Minister's comments at a press conference in Dunedin today show just how easily costs can blow out at the Southern DHB, Labour's Acting Health spokesman David Clark says. "Fresh from criticising everyone from members of the Board that his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bridges of Northland on backburner
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MP lets down Cook Island community
    The Cook Island community has been let down by National List MP Alfred Ngaro’s decision not to support a proposal that would have removed a restrictive residency requirement, Labour says. An amendment to the Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a moratorium on all live sheep exports
    The events of the last two weeks have highlighted how weak our regulations around live exports are, particularly in relation to live sheep exports. We urgently need a moratorium on live sheep exports until they’ve been significantly strengthened. We have… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Weak growth highlights lack of economic plan
    Today’s weak growth figures are less than half of what was forecast in last month’s Budget and signal rough weather ahead, Labour’s Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says. “GDP figures showing the economy grew just 0.2% in the first three months… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori TV editorial interference scandal deepens
    The Maori Development Minister has misled a select committee and appears to have broken the law through editorial interference in Māori Television, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran said today. Labour has released emails between Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must act on energy CEOs salaries
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges must send a message to the Boards of the nation’s power companies that astronomical CEO salaries are not appropriate, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says.  “The CEOs are earning from $ 2.1 million to $1.3 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Black Caps backs South Dunedin flood recovery
     People dealing with the aftermath of the Dunedin floods will be supported by the boost from Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson who have put their weight behind the Dunedin Flood Appeal in a  video released this… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Continued pressure at heart of sacking
    News that the Government has appointed a Commissioner to replace the Southern District Health Board is hardly a surprise given the mounting pressure it has been under to do more with a lot less, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson David… ...
    2 weeks ago

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