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Do the media not understand preferential voting?

Written By: - Date published: 11:24 pm, September 9th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: electoral systems, families, labour, Media - Tags:

I’ve cast my vote.  It was as simple as 1, 2, 3, <submit>.  If my first choice doesn’t get it, I’m very hopeful that my 2nd preference will.  It’s my vote, not media pundits that will count.

But is that 1, 2, 3 so simple?  There seems much in the media of Jones as ‘Kingmaker’, but if that 1, 2, 3 is as simple as it seems, then surely the media could work out that Jones is anything but.

Maybe it’s that they’re so used to politicians cutting deals (it is their job after all).  But there are no deals able to be cut.  The voters decide.  Even on deputy once the result is in, the caucus decides…

The most blatant and recent failure to comprehend this I’ve seen is from Andrea Vance:

Which brings us back to Jones – and where he directs his second preference votes once eliminated.

When he’s eliminated (assuming he is…) he doesn’t doesn’t get to “direct” second preferences, either directly or indirectly.  The computer wipes his 1s out and those people’s 2s come into play.  Job done, the result’s available a few microseconds after the first first preferences result.

Even if Jones were to make an announcement now as to who people should put as 2 behind him, it’s likely to be too late to have much impact.  It’s not just me who’s already voted.  Lots of ballots were cast on the night by the well over 3000 people who’ve attended meetings so far.  Lots of postal ballots will have already winged their way back.  Even if the MPs are a large bloc who vote late, Jones doesn’t appear to have many of them to direct one way or t’other, presuming they’d listen to him on a secret ballot.

Yes he’s made a good display as an orator, and someone who can get a section of voters moving, and yes he’s made some good friendly telly… but kingmaker?  He has only as much sway as any other MP with 1.2% of the vote…

Impressive statistic: Labour’s increased their membership by 15% through this process.  That’s a lot of extra activists for election year next year.

Second bugbear: Tim Watkin thinks Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe have missed a trick by not opening the door to their families in the way Shane Jones did.  3rd degree could have hosted BBQs of friendly tv in all of their houses, what did they have to hide (as Guyon & Duncan put it…)?

Well, yes they did miss a trick if they weren’t human beings, but merely TV commodities.  But they are human beings.

I’m not sure what the suicide rate of NZ MPs’ kids is, but if it’s anything like it is in Britain I don’t think Tim should be demanding access to politicians’ families.  The bullying that comes with being closely related to a politician is not something to be sniffed at – increasing that by exposing them on telly?  Not wise.

And just because someone has fallen in love with a politician climbing the greasy pole to make a difference to their country, doesn’t mean that the politician’s partner is comfortable in the limelight.  A politician’s job involves copping a lot of shit, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable that they’d want to protect their loved ones from that.  Surely we can focus on the person who has decided to throw themselves into the limelight, not demand their family as hostages?

27 comments on “Do the media not understand preferential voting? ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Second bugbear: Tim Watkin thinks Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe have missed a trick by not opening the door to their families in the way Shane Jones did.

    It was agreed early on that no candidate would use their private homes, families, partners, kids etc. as showpiece media props. So much for that.

    • Saarbo 1.1

      Yes, and given the constant vicious attacks on Cunliffe, who can blame him. the attacks on Cunliffe are unprecedented and are generating other commentators to just go along with them, as Bob Jones has in todays Herald. Gower and Garner seem obsessed in their mission to bring Cunliffe down (Obviously driven by their friends in the ABC club), I dont think I can ever remember seeing such unbalanced reporting in my life.

      Given the spirit in which the 3 candidates are campaigning it is sad that the ABC’ers continue to undermine Cunliffe, clearly there is no place for these people in a Cunliffe led Labour, they have made that clear.

      I can say that I worked with Cunliffe for a year in the late 90’s and he was friendly, bright and really good to work with. The only other MP that I have come across over the years is Trevor Mallard, and a bigger wanker you will not find…absolute dick head.

    • Tracey 1.2

      no real surprise which candidate broke the agreement though… he also mocked Robertson’s sexuality for laughs in the beginning too…

  2. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 2

    I thought that was just a gentlemen’s agreement between Cunliffe and Robertson?

  3. tc 3

    OMG someone not bowing down to the MSM desire to make fluff pieces about the family etc rather than issues based content.

    Its not what the pollies have to hide but the MSM and its lack of ability and will to acksully craft intelligent yarns.

    Key uses these fluff pieces to great effect as they are highly controlled and staged with womens mag writers kept within the strictest guidelines by keys minders, good to see the candidates drawing a line which gluon and fathead would take offense to.

  4. Ad 4

    I voted!

    Assisted by caucus members claiming they had the numbers against Cunliffe.

    TRP may well be right that it will only be won on the second count to Cunliffe, but that’ll do me fine.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The media still don’t understand MMP and that has been around since 1996, so why would you expect them to grasp preferential voting?

  6. Ennui 6

    “Do the media not understand preferential voting?” What a silly question!

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

  7. Belladonna 7

    Labour might have increased their membership by 15% but most likely it will decrease by a lot more than 15% should David Cunliffe not get the top job.

  8. Rosie 8

    Since the leadership campaign began I’ve made sure to avoid most msm reports of it. It’s just too painful. I did accidentally manage to see a 3news poll about leader preference and thought that was a complete waste of time, given that it’s not up to non Labour Party members. The only thoughts that matter, that translate to votes is those of the members, caucus and affiliates.

    The media’s obsession with politicians families and partners is tacky, and cringe worthy, another reason I’ve stayed away from the msm coverage. Honestly, I think these reporters think this is just a political version of X Factor or NZ’s got Talent. On the other side of that, it’s been great visiting TS and reading all about it, from the horses mouth. The Q&A with Cunliffe and Robertson has been interesting and insightful, good on them for giving their time.

    Just quietly, if Cunliffe wins, I will seriously consider taking my vote back to Labour. What time will the result be announced on Sunday? I will have bubbly at the ready:-)

    • Pete 8.1

      Around midday Sunday, I think. Moira Coatesworth said that members will be emailed the result a few minutes before it being released to the media. So keep an eye on here and twitter, I suppose.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Electronic voting is open until midday Sunday. I think that the announcement will be around 3pm that afternoon.

        • Comrade Coba

          I’ve got an email saying around 2pm. It’s red wine for a Cunliffe win & a stiff whiskey or 2 if Jones gets a shock win.

    • Sable 8.2

      Good points Rosie. I think the reason the media plays the personality game is it gives them leverage to paint political candidates as in a light that suits them distracting people from the important stuff, namely the party’s policies. Just look at Australia with their new Murdoch media minted God bothering homophobe of a Prime Minister.

      • Rosie 8.2.1

        Thank you all. Here’s to Sunday afternoon being the beginning of the long road towards reclaiming our country. That may sound a bit grandiose, but I make no apologies:-) The last five years have been hell, never mind the mess of the last thirty.

        Sable, I wonder if in a few months to a years time when Abbott’s policies come to bite, that the Aussie voters will regret their decision. Their media, it seemed, played to the insecurities and prejudices of the population, not that that tactic is anything new.

  9. Sable 9

    Since when did anyone expect intelligent subjective reporting from the mainstream media hacks in New Zealand? Their poor research skills, blatant right wing bias and general lack of insight are obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

    Sadly however there remain elements of the voting population who do take these halfwits seriously and that’s why they are dangerous.

  10. Greywarbler 10

    Ruth Dyson on radionz this morning endorsing Grant Robertson. She also talked about the leadership challenge. Not enabling choice of leader by all in Labour. I thought that was very revealing about her.

    She seemed while in government to take an unbalanced view of social matters, all for the disabled, and ordinary people should be grateful that they aren ‘t disabled. Policy to be done in anidealistic way. Despite her service with Labour over years, I think she is part of the, hopefully, past Centre Right, fringe Right that needs to move on or stand up in the bus and give someone else a seat.

    • Hilary 10.1

      Unpleasant and unjustified attack on Ruth Dyson, Greywarbler. She was an excellent first ever Minister for Disability Issues and staunchly for social justice, and no way a right winger. Doing good work for conservation at the moment. Way before that she was party president guiding the LP through difficult times. Just because she has a different view to you informed by her different experiences doesn’t mean you need to attack her personally.

    • Crip With Attitude 10.2

      I could call you ageist, sexist and ableist, Greywarbler but I won’t. I think ‘unhinged ABGer’ far more appropriate.

      I will tell you, however, that I found your posting extremely offensive in the way it dissed disabled people and disability policy. Ruth Dyson took time out when in opposition to learn about disabled people’s struggle for emancipation in Aotearoa. As Minister for Disability Issues she entered a genuine partnership with us and, ipso facto, advanced our emancipation considerably.

      It doesn’t win many brownie points to side with one of the most marginalized and socially oppressed groups in society, but Ruth did. She is a respected Comrade in our community; stop slagging her off. And watch your language!

      • Greywarbler 10.2.1

        Sorry mate, but other people need to be considered as well as you. Of course you are in a perfect position to always take the high ground, finding any differing point of view than yours offensive. Disabled people have become so PC, some of them, that they can’t even be named as being disabled.

        There are many things that need to be done to make life fairer and easier for disabled people. So it’s right to keep on. It just brasses me off that no-one can have a different opinion without this sort of attack.

        And Hilary how do you know that I haven’t any disability experience?
        Don’t go holier than thou on me and tell me what I should and shouldn’t think because it’s not the sermon being preached for today.

        • You didn’t “have a different opinion”. You accused a former minister and spokesperson of going beyond equality and attacking privileged groups unfairly, and now you’re refusing to listen when a disabled person is telling you that all they did was be a fair advocate for them. As a person without any ability barriers, your job is to actually listen to what people tell you before forming an opinion about disability issues.

          You’re attacking people for being PC rather than listening. You’re playing at “how do you know I’m not also disabled?” concern trolling. If you did have a personal story to tell maybe you should have opened with that.

          It’s really a wonder why CWA wasn’t shorter with you and is actually bothering engaging with such an obvious troll.

          • Greywarbler

            Matthew Whitehead
            I don’t have to prove disablement, to beg for the right to pass an opinion, so I can have the right to free speech concerning the welfare of disablement. Disability Unlimited has not succeeded in getting that law passed yet. Don’t be so precious. And make so many assumptions of a negative kind.

            I was not impressed by Ruth Dyson overall, though she did some good things. And I don’t think being ‘disabled’ or differently-abled or whatever gives people a right to dump on any discussion or opinion from outside the silo of disabled welfare opinion because it differs.

  11. Anne 11

    Yes Hilary, Ruth Dyson was a good minister – hard working if rather dour. On the two occasions I met her (years ago) I found her pleasant and respectful. My only complaint was her perennial reply as a minister to any question asked of her… we are looking at all the options available to us. A bit of a cop out, and I heard her say it a thousand times.

    Apart from that, she is an ABCer – albeit a sane version – and I have some scepticism over her objectivity. At least she revealed her preference in an open radio interview with no overtones of subterfuge as in the case of Clare Curran.

  12. Tracey 12

    she oversaw a full and sweeping review of those on disability benefits to see if people now could work. it caused enormous worry for the families of those who hadnt been miraculously cured since last assessment cos of a fear they would be told to go find work, that they would never get.

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