By-elections are FPP

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 pm, March 28th, 2015 - 24 comments
Categories: by-election, First Past the Post, MMP, tv - Tags: , ,

Just now on TV3’s Northland special Patrick Gower and Duncan Garner were saying that Labour had lost all moral high ground on “dirty  deals” and Little had done a deal with Winston.  Presumably as “that’s MMP” and this result stinks likes Epsom.

Except… it doesn’t.

There was no deal done.  I heard Andrew Little a week or so ago saying about how Winston had been organising to avoid him ever since the start of the by-election.  No talking, no pictures etc.  Andrew was trying not to take it to heart :), but the point is: there was no deal, and Winston was making absolutely sure there was not even the chance of an appearance of a deal.

Labour had done the numbers, sure.  They weren’t going to win, and Winston might.  In First Past the Post – and that’s what by-elections are in our political system – it makes sense for voters to coalesce around 2 candidates.  Usually the incumbent and the contender.  If you’re not the contender, usually your vote will collapse – and Labour merely accepted this and let it be known to those whose loyalties may be conflicted.

Paddy & Duncan are always about sensation, the scoop, the big story… and this doesn’t fit their narrative, so even though Winston made sure they couldn’t get the appearance of a deal, they’re still saying that’s what happened.  Unfortunately for them, sometimes life is more mundane.

This is very different from the Epsom and Ohariu deals, that are about using the system to distort the make-up of parliament against the population’s wishes.

I say against the population’s wishes, as we had a review in 2012 after the 2011 decision to keep MMP.  And that review said to ditch the coat-tail provision that National keep looking to use, and refuse to remove, despite popular disapproval.

So instead they keep alive a zombie party in Epsom, turning a seat that should be safely theirs (rather than one they have no chance of winning), into a seat for a front party, to distort parliament.  Similarly they could have a good shot at Ohariu if they cared to try (albeit the 3-way split might be a little more risky).

It’s quite different to hand a seat of yours on a platter to another party, versus having your voters coalesce around an option that has a better chance.

Perhaps our most popular political media should go back and learn their trade and the difference between MMP and FPP…

24 comments on “By-elections are FPP”

  1. Hateatea 1

    Good analysis, Bunji. I fear though that those talking heads probably don’t read The Standard and will miss this Politics 101 refresher.

  2. jenny kirk 2

    Totally agree, Bunji. I, too, was very fed-up with those two talking heads (plus Lisa’s nod) around the statement that Labour had made a “deal” with Winston. Load of nonsense ….. I wish they could hear themselves being so silly.

    • Rodel 2.1

      jk- Yes – ‘Silly’ is the operative word. I watched them for a short time hoping for some sensible analysis but all I got was a celebrity contest with 3 of them trying to outdo each other.
      (Silly me too expecting any substantial discussion).

      The post election discussion on Sunday morning in contrast with Wallace Chapman was commonsensical,and also informative.

  3. Rob 3

    Well they are just junkies really
    Anything that rids us of the emperor without any clothes is only good for out country

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Fuck Gower, fuck Garner. What is at hand is the end is the end of cocksuckers like them.

  5. Whateva next? 5

    And as someone else has pointed out, Epsom was National’s, and they handed it to Act, Northland was never Labours, so NO Lisa, Paddy and Duncan, it was not the same, in any way. Talking bollocks tonight.

  6. Raf 6

    As I’ve just posted somewhere else – If a deal was made then what did Winston promise in return for Labour’s support?
    Because if Little asked for nothing and Winston promised nothing – and they’re both adamant this is the case – if no exchange of favours was discussed and agreed to, then NO deal happened. That’s what a “deal” is – exchange of favours; tit for tat.
    Little might be hoping that Winston will feel indebted and may be inclined to help Labour out one day, but that’s all (and knowing Winston he’d be unwise to rely on it!)

    • felix 6.1

      National and ACT did do a deal in Northland. ACT agreed to endorse the National candidate and National agreed to let ACT live.

  7. Jrobin 7

    Maybe an unspoken understanding is closer to truth. Just because they’re both more subtle than the ghastly rightists! Anyway well done to both of them and Willow Jean. Good to see Andrew with his candidate after the result, unlike the poor loser with the squeaky clean but secretly stained hands.

  8. North 8

    Gower and Garner are the ones who’ve lost all the moral high ground they never had in the first place ! Voyeurs who slip in and out of ‘the action’ as their burdensome egos command !

  9. North 9

    Further to the ego burdened all mouth but no responsibilty Gower and Garner……my goodness how GotNoBallsKey is that ? Off playing PMONZ in Melbourne leaving Proxy Osborne to handle it on his own…….there’s nothing lower than that !

    • b waghorn 9.1

      It was very telling at Osborne’s concession speech that he had been left high and dry buy key and joyce . I felt for the big full a , still it he’ll know national s true colours now.

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        He didnt mind being used when he thought he would get an MP salary otof it…

        time for one or two Nat backbenchers to do a Waring…

  10. tc 10

    Perspective everyone.

    Garner, Gower, Owen have no credibility or moral high ground being mouthpieces for a dirty gov’t and it’s backers hoping for some of that trickle down action.

    Proven yet again by this display of tub thumping and faux indignation. On cue ready with the themes as the handlers knew Winnie was over the line.

    As a colleague in Oz remarked to me recently, even their reject political journos would run rings around this lot without breaking a sweat they are Murdoch material at best.

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    I’m pretty sure they “get” MMP. This is simply an extension of their vindictive narrative, developed over years. Gower especially has been concocting the news for so long he probably thinks it’s his job.

    • weka 11.1

      Yep. I had to laugh last night when someone tweeted at 8.30 that they were looking forward to finding out at 9.30 who had won the election. Gower and co and their bosses demonstrated just how much they are about their own agenda and nothing to do with serving the public good. Plus how much they missed what was really going on. No wonder they have to make shit up.

    • Anne 11.2

      Spot on OAB. They know full well there’s a massive difference between what happened in Northland and the behind the scenes bargaining in Epsom last year. A bit of ‘on-air play acting’ designed to stick the proverbial finger up Labour’s back-side.

  12. vto 12

    You’re not quite right mr bunji. Garner and Gower were not referring to the by-election as “that’s MMP” they were referring to the place of the Northland by-election in the current Parliament make-up as “that’s MMP”, and that is most definitely “MMP”.

    Blinkers should be avoided when writing posts

    Further, I agree no “deal” had been done between labour and NZF but the difference between Dunne, Seymour and Peters here is so negligible that obsessing over it will backfire. Leave it alone.

    And further again, Labour should simply embrace the Nats dirty tactics and similarly “deal” where it needs to around the country. The door has been opened now so just get on with it and stop fucking around crying about the typically weak-arsed bullies in the playground…

  13. Jan Rivers 13

    There is a way to help build a quality media landscape in NZ. It’s down to people power and you can help. Scoop Media is in the last day of its crowd-funding project. A decent final amount raised today ($50,000) will see Scoop build a mobile version as well as changing the governance structure to a social enterprise / community ownership model.

    Scoop’s Alastair Thompson has also curated a great series of articles on the future of NZ media since January Well worth a read.

  14. Tracey 14

    Gower couldnt even be bothered actually going to Northland to get an idea of actual voter feeling/reaction.

    Did all his “analysis” from the comfort of an auckland studio and nightclub last night.

  15. Brendon Ross 15

    Thank you! Was so annoyed last night as TV3 insisted there was a “deal”… they seemed to, in the end be using “deal” to mean a pragmatic decision by Little that would aid Peters.
    Epsom was a deal – the two parties spoke and colluded to achieve a desired goal.
    Northland was Little, seeing the way things were going, being a sensible politician.

  16. philj 16

    Garner, Gower and Owen were like three giggling gerties. Poor quality analysis but at least they covered the election. TVNZ was disgracefully, MIA. To be fair, probably a blessing to cutting the crap from TVNZ.

  17. Nicholas O'Kane 17

    Umm, electorate seat races in general elections are done by FPP. Regarding Epsom and “coatailing” alot of people seem to get the two issues mixed up. One issue is a party winning list seats and evading the 5% threshold purely because of strong local support in one electorate (NZ First 1999, Progressives 2002, United future and Act 2005, Act 2008). A second issue (which is largely seperate from the first issue) is major parties helping a candidate from another party win an electorate either by standing aside (National in Ohariu and Wellington Central 19996 and 1999, Greens in Northland 2015) or sugesting that their voters should tactically vote for a different candidate (Labour in Coromandel 1999, National in Epsom and Ohariu 2008, 11 and 14, Labour in Northland 2015). You can have alot of coatailing go on without the second issue involved (i.e. NZ First 1999).

    In the 2014 general election the first issue was not a concern, as noone seriously thought Act or United Future would win enough party vote to win any list seats. To the extent the first issue was a concern in 2014 it was in Te Tai Tokerau and the Internet-mana party (which most people thought was highly likely to win te Tai Tokerau and win a second list seat), not with Epsom and Act.

    There were alot of submissions to the MMP review commission recommending the abolition of the one seat threshold including one from myself. The one seat threshold issue largely addresses the first issue, and not so much the second (although the first issue gives more incentives to parties to do the second issue).

    My own views are the first issue is a real concern, the second not so much. For instance very few would complain about Epsom had David Seymour won the National Party nomination, and Act not been involved. But because Seymour has the Act label instead of National it becomes all of a sudden dirty in the eyes of many people.

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