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National will distort MMP for its own benefit, again

Written By: - Date published: 12:02 pm, July 26th, 2017 - 80 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, act, bill english, MMP, national, peter dunne, Politics, same old national, united future - Tags:

Another election campaign and two more deals have been done which will allow National to distort proportionality under MMP to gain an advantage. In the last two elections this distortion was vital and it may be that these deals again will have a significant effect on who forms the next Government.

National has again announced that it will extend life support to two puppet parties who apart from this arrangement would not have parliamentary representation. From the Herald:

Prime Minister Bill English has today confirmed National’s intention to work with United Future and the Act Party in September’s election – encouraging his party’s supporters to vote for David Seymour and Peter Dunne.

“We are encouraging National supporters to give their electorate vote to Act candidate, David Seymour, in Epsom, and United Future candidate, Peter Dunne, in Ohariu – and their party vote to National.

“To be clear, we want to increase our party votes in those electorates and that’s what our National Party candidates will be working hard to do.”

English said he had already made it clear that if National is re-elected his preference is to continue working with Act, United Future and the Maori Party.

No matter how you dress this up the announcement shows that National is willing to rort the electoral system.  Last election ACT received 0.69% of the party vote but thanks to the deal it has 0.83% of the votes in Parliament.  United Future is even worse.  It only received 0.22% of the vote but its voting strength in Parliament is nearly four times this.  And the deal sidesteps the clear intention that under MMP a party should not be represented unless it achieves 4% or more of the party vote.

The figures may appear to be small but just think of the number of divisions that have passed by only one or two votes.

It is interesting that National has not endorsed the Maori Party candidates.  Perhaps they believe that the Maori Party is terminal, thanks to its continued support for National during the past three terms.

At least this time we are not going to be put through the charade of who is having cups of tea with who.  I guess there is less chance of damaging comments being accidentally recorded that way.

80 comments on “National will distort MMP for its own benefit, again ”

  1. I love how billshitter talks about the parties offering support and so on. Hey bill without your gnat push they wouldn’t be there. Such a low lie that party one – really low imo.

  2. Sabine 2

    did anyone expect anything else?

  3. Hooch 3

    Wouldn’t have a clue who the national candidate is in ohariu. Only signs up are for dunne, O’Connor and bill English with his smug grin.

    And what an arrogant twerp Seymour is in the stuff article. Basically saying any party vote means more act mp as he will be elected. Why bother having the election? Why not just anoint him as mp for Epsom forever more.

    • Come on , mate … you’re being cheap ,… lets go the whole hog and have a hologram for Prime Minister.

      Think of it,… at every international meeting between heads of state we could be the first to have someone parading around with a capital ‘ H’ on their heads. Then we would really be put on the map,… although,… for some very sad , sad reasons, I must admit…

      • Wensleydale 3.1.1

        If you’re in trouble he will save the day
        He’s brave and he’s fearless come what may
        Without him the mission would go astray
        He’s Arnold, Arnold, Arnold Rimmer
        Without him life would be much grimmer
        He’s handsome, trim, there’s no one slimmer
        He’ll never need a zimmer

  4. DoublePlusGood 4

    “Last election ACT received 0.69% of the party vote but thanks to the deal it has 0.83% of the votes in Parliament. ”
    You mean… exactly the number of seats ACT should have got in parliament given its popularity in the party vote, if we got rid of the undemocratic 5% threshold?
    The rorts might be silly, but ACT was popular enough to warrant a single seat in parliament – they just got it by dubious methods.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      But it wasn’t. Under the general rules those votes should not have counted because ACT was well short of the threshold. Instead it’s votes were given a premium because National gifted the seat to them.

      • alwyn 4.1.1

        I suppose you spoke out about the disgrace of Jim Anderton, “Uncle Jim” as Helen Clark used to refer to him, having been in Parliament?
        And you will tell people who think Hone should be in Parliament that they should STFU?

        And I suppose I should correct your statement that
        “Under the general rules those votes should not have counted because ACT was well short of the threshold” to something like
        “Under the rules mickysavage decrees candidates who win electorate seats shall be automatically disbarred from Parliament unless their party gets at least 5% of the party vote.” That is, of course, the only way you could keep David Seymour out.
        Presumably you would give the seat to the candidate getting the most votes who belongs to a “qualifying” party? Or perhaps you would simply appoint a Labour person as the electorate member?

        • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.1

          I suppose you spoke out about the disgrace of Jim Anderton, “Uncle Jim” as Helen Clark used to refer to him, having been in Parliament?

          Bollocks. Labour couldn’t have defeated Jim Anderton in Wigram if he was caught mugging an old lady. Rimmer and Dunne on the other hand are only in Parliament because National tells its supporters to vote for them.

          And you will tell people who think Hone should be in Parliament that they should STFU?

          Good example. Notice how Labour didn’t put up a patsy candidate in Te Tai Tokerau and then ask all their supporters not to vote for him?

          • alwyn 4.1.1.1.1

            “Labour couldn’t have defeated Jim Anderton in Wigram”.
            I don’t really know Christchurch so I won’t say that is rubbish.
            However an awful lot of people in New Zealand politics have thought they were unbeatable in their electorates and that the voters really loved them.
            How many have you known who left their party and stood and won as an independent or a representative of a new party in the last few years. The only one I can think of this century is Tariana Turia. Generally without a party organisation and vote behind them they vanish.

            I think Labour could have easily wiped Anderton out at any time from the 2005 election onwards and could probably have done so in 2002. I can’t prove it of course but it is pretty clear that any minor party that goes into Government with a larger party comes close to being wiped out in the next election.
            Look at Jim himself. He thought he was invincible in Christchurch and was a certainty for the mayoralty. Didn’t work out to well did it?

            That isn’t really the point though. Labour certainly didn’t make any real effort to depose him and in that regard were no different to the National Party now. Helen just understood MMP first, in spite of her opposition to that form of Government.
            National have now caught and passed Labour in the art of politics.

            • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Labour certainly didn’t make any real effort to depose him and in that regard were no different to the National Party now.

              Sure, but if you’re trying to equate Labour with National on this issue, you need to point me to the bit where Helen Clark asked people not to vote for the Labour candidate in Wigram but instead to vote for another party’s candidate. Because I don’t recall that happening, ever.

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.2

          If you read it clearly I said under general rules the votes should not count. They only count because the Government rorts the system. And it refused to actually do something about the threshold because it has a political advantage from this arrangement.

          Anderton is an entirely different situation. He won the seat fairly and was impregnable.

          • alwyn 4.1.1.2.1

            You might have a point if Seymour’s winning an electorate seat had the effect of bringing an additional ACT member into the house.
            It didn’t. Seymour is there, not because they counted the ACT Party vote but because he won an electorate seat. It wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest whether the ACT party got any votes at all. As it was the Party votes DID NOT COUNT.
            You could have had a point if you talked about the Maori Party in 2014 but you have none with ACT.

            Anderton was in exactly the same position. He, just like Seymour, won the seat fairly. In 2002 he managed to bring in a hanger-on who would not have been there at all under the general rules you mention. In 2005 and 2008 he was all on his lonesome.

            The electorate seats take precedence over any list seats in defining the makeup of the house. Little may regret that fact as, given the slide in Labour Party support in the polls, and the stink coming from the liaison with the Green fraudster he may miss out altogether.

  5. dukeofurl 5

    ” National has not endorsed the Maori Party candidates. ”

    In that case they dont want to wreck their chances !!

    What will be interesting if national doesnt offer a candidate in Ohariu ? Its almost certain ACT wont stand in this seat, it was only 209 votes last time but that could make the difference

    What about the Maori party running pacifica candidates in general seats ?

  6. Cynical jester 6

    To be fair, labour and the greens are doing strategic voting too in dunnes electorate (i would have preferred chch central and auckland central too) …. electorate deals are a reality why is the left still struggling to be strategic we’ve had since 2011 to get our shit together and stop splitting the left vote. This disorganization is our bad, I thought the mou would have meant more electorate deals but sadly heart over brain wins again.

    • weka 6.1

      The Labour and the Greens don’t have a deal for Ōhāriu afaik. The Greens chose not to stand in that electorate, like they do with lots of others.

      I think there is a difference between a party unilaterally making a decision like this but not telling their voters who to vote for, and what National does, which is tell their voters to vote for another candidate where that other party is only ever going to be in parliament because of those directed votes.

      If the Greens do or don’t stand in Ōhāriu, it makes no difference whatsoever to Labour’s ability to be in parliament.

      btw, the Greens didn’t stand in TTT last time, and nobody batted an eyelid.

      • Chris 6.1.1

        I respectfully disagree

        The Greens not standing in Ohariu means that the left vote is not split.

        The Green and Labour candidates last time together got more than Dunne

        To only have a Labour candidate DOES increase Labour’s chances

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          Of course, but as was predicted, if the Greens chose to not stand in Ōhāriu, then National would tell their voters to vote Dunne.

          But this is still not a deal between Labour and the Greens.

          I’m not averse to concessions btw. I just think that we should lower the threshold and be more upfront about it. However I can also see why Labour and the Greens don’t do it, because it looks fucking shifty as what National are doing.

        • satty 6.1.1.2

          Why doesn’t United Future have candidates standing in all the other electorates? Looks like they’re trying to avoid a split of the right vote.

  7. Norfolk Traveller 7

    “No matter how you dress this up the announcement shows that National is willing to rort the electoral system. ”
    The word ‘rort’ means ‘a fraudulent or dishonest practise’. What National are doing is neither. It is clever politics, and well within the rules of the absurd electoral system we have.

    • LivinInTheBay 7.1

      Spot on. And no different to what Labour would do if they had the choice.

      The fact is all parties will do what they need to do in order to be in the Government benches.

      • Chris 7.1.1

        Exactly

        Depending on which side of the coin you are on for each instance, she is always one person’s brilliant tactics, to the other’s dirty politics.

      • Psycho Milt 7.1.2

        And no different to what Labour would do if they had the choice.

        As weka pointed out on another thread, if that were true Labour would have given Kelvin Davis a high list placing and asked Labour supporters to vote for Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. The fact is that Labour couldn’t do it even if they wanted to, because their candidates tend to have too much self-respect. National, on the other hand, apparently has no shortage of ambitious toadies like Paul Goldsmith so can afford to play this game.

        • LivinInTheBay 7.1.2.1

          I’m not sure Labour or anyone wants to work with Hone again hence not doing a deal with him.

          But rest assured, if they could, they would.

          The name of the game is winning right? And they will ALL do what they can in order to win.

      • Grantoc 7.1.3

        And just the same as the Greens are doing; in Ngaio actually, by deciding not to stand a candidate and encouraging their supporters to vote Labour.

        So Micky can you explain to me why National is ‘rorting’ the MMP system and the Greens are not? Or, as in other things, are the Greens deemed to be above the law by you and others because they are, well, the Greens.

        • weka 7.1.3.1

          How are they encouraging Ngaio voters to vote Labour?

        • AB 7.1.3.2

          Because National would easily win Epsom itself if it tried.
          But instead it works with a bogus micro party that effectively gives National another seat, but one which is NOT counted in National’s allocation of seats based on its % of the party vote. It’s a rort pure and simple that distorts the proportionality of parliament

          It is utterly different from what the Greens and Labour will do in Ohariu. If Labour were to win Ohariu as a result of this arrangement, that seat WILL be counted as part of Labours’ allocation of seats based on their % of the party vote. The proportionality of parliament is maintained and not distorted.

          That you don’t recognise such an obvious difference is unbelievable, or you are simply unable to understand how MMP works.
          First step to stop this nonsense would be to implement preferential voting for the electorate vote. Candidates would be ranked – so as a Green voter in Ohariu I would rank the Green candidate no.1, the Labour candidate no.2 and the NZF candidate no. 3. I would leave Dunne unranked. Lowest polling candidate is discarded, 2nd preferences counted etc. until someone has over 50% of the vote.

        • swordfish 7.1.3.3

          Ngaio ????

          So not the 5623 Green voters in the entire seat of Ohariu but just the 430 in the single suburb of Ngaio ? I see

    • Booker 7.2

      But don’t forget the Electoral Commission recommended lowering the 5% threshold and National chose to ignore that advice so their puppets ACT and United Future could have disproportionate influence. Rort is exactly what they’ve done.

      • Norfolk Traveller 7.2.1

        Many things have been recommended, including the removal of the Maori seats. How do you feel about that recommendation?

        • Booker 7.2.1.1

          That’s not on the review: http://www.elections.org.nz/events/past-events-0/2012-mmp-review/results-mmp-review

          If anything, the commission highlights needing to do something about declining diversity and proportional representation.

          • Norfolk Traveller 7.2.1.1.1

            I didn’t say it was on the review. But it was on the Royal Commissions recommendations. How do you feel about abolishing the Maori seats?

            • Booker 7.2.1.1.1.1

              How can it be one of their recommendations when their recommendations are in the review?

              • McFlock

                Our traveller travels through time.

                Fucko’s referring to a recommendation from the 1980s that was not adopted. At least I suspect that’s what the jerk is referring to, we’re lucky he didn’t regurgitate some government recommendations from the 1880s.

                Although, as you point out, that recommendation was not reiterated in the review of how MMP worksin practise.

              • Norfolk Traveller

                I didn’t say it was in ‘their’ recommendations. Here is my wording exactly:
                “Many things have been recommended, including the removal of the Maori seats. How do you feel about that recommendation?”

                Are you going to answer the question?

    • Without the gnat endorsement those 2 parties wouldn’t exist. This is the opposite of similar to the left. Pretty101 stuff, pity the brains that chose not to get it – for political reasons of course.

      • Norfolk Traveller 7.3.1

        Labour have similarly accommodated both the Alliance and the Greens in the past. Short memory?

        • marty mars 7.3.1.1

          No they haven’t. Long memory.

          • Norfolk Traveller 7.3.1.1.1

            Coromandel.
            Sydenham.

            • Psycho Milt 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Can you point us to anything showing Labour ran candidates in Wigram but asked the constituents not to vote for their Labour candidate but to vote for a different party’s candidate instead? Because I don’t remember that happening, and I think your claim that Labour did that in Wigram is wrong.

              • Norfolk Traveller

                (For example – in 2008, Labour won 40% of the Party Vote, but only 15% of the electorate vote).

                (From my post below. It is obvious what Labour did. I was smart politics. But clearly only if Labour do it!

    • It is clever politics, and well within the rules of the absurd electoral system we have.

      “It was within the rules” has been National’s catch-cry since 2008. In most cases, the scam they’re pulling is “within the rules” only because the politicians wrote the rules – in this case, the self-serving MMP threshold rules.

  8. Chris 8

    How is this different to Labour and the Greens getting together and ditching the Green candidate, to not split the left vote?

    [we’ve just been through this in Open Mike. If you have evidence that the Greens have ditched a candidate, please tell us the candidate’s name and electorate. If you have evidence that the Labour and Greens worked together on seat deals, please link to it. If not, then take more care with how you describe things. – weka]

    • Chris 8.1

      Ok

      If not ditched a named candidate, certainly not standing one is tactical

      As Shaw has said. See below

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/89355662/Greens-step-aside-in-Ohariu-to-help-Labours-O-Connor-despite-misgivings

      “The Greens have dropped any plans to run a candidate in the Ohariu seat in a move aimed at giving Labour’s Greg O’Connor a better chance of winning the marginal seat – despite Green misgivings about his past views.

      Green co-leader James Shaw said the decision was taken in the interests of changing the Government, which was the party’s priority.

      “We have been very clear with our supporters and the public about that since we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour last year,” he said.

      “Not standing in Ohariu increases the chances that we will be in a position to change the Government in September – it’s as simple as that.””

      • weka 8.1.1

        Yes, that’s not news (your link is from Feb). It also says,

        Labour leader Andrew Little said the Green move would be very helpful to O’Connor but he said the Greens had not consulted with Labour before making the decision, though they had told Labour before making it public.

        So we’ve established that the Greens haven’t dropped a candidate, and there is no evidence that Labour and the Greens did a deal. I think we’ve also established that yet again righties will mislead in order to gain political advantage.

        • Norfolk Traveller 8.1.1.1

          Hi Weka.
          Chris’s claims were a bit of a stretch, but to be fair, in the past Labour have done ‘deals’ similar to the one between National and Act…
          “Helen Clark openly encouraged Labour supporters in the Coromandel to give their constituency vote to Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons[3] and their party vote to Labour.”
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_general_election,_1999

          But as I pointed out before, these deals are part of the MMP landscape. Like it or not.

          • weka 8.1.1.1.1

            They did it once, 20 years ago, and they haven’t done it since.

            I’m actually in favour of concessions. But saying that Labour and the Greens do the same as National is just factually wrong.

            • Norfolk Traveller 8.1.1.1.1.1

              No, it’s not. Labour assisted Jim Anderton in Sydenham in both 2005 and 2008. (For example – in 2008, Labour won 40% of the Party Vote, but only 15% of the electorate vote). That they haven’t done this type of deal more recently is more a commentary on their woeful electoral position than anything else.

              • weka

                What did Labour do in those two elections?

                • Norfolk Traveller

                  Ran a ‘one tick’ campaign to help Anderton get elected. The same tactics National are using in Epsom.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You have provided precisely zero evidence of that.

                    • Norfolk Traveller

                      In 2008, Labour won 40% of the Party Vote, but only 15% of the electorate vote. Explain that away.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The electorate did something. That doesn’t mean Labour prompted them. You made an assertion of fact. Put up or shut up.

                  • weka

                    What did the campaign do exactly? Can you please show some evidence of that?

                    • Norfolk Traveller

                      It resulted in:
                      “In 2008, Labour won 40% of the Party Vote, but only 15% of the electorate vote. Explain that away.”
                      Quite successful. Ah, those were the days eh Labour.

                    • weka

                      OAB already explained that away.

                      So, you made up the bit about “in the past Labour have done ‘deals’ similar to the one between National and Act…”

                      Glad we got that sorted, now I can just call you a liar. Or you could be more careful in how you make comments instead of trying to mislead people.

      • Rae 8.1.2

        Yes and good job, this all could have been avoided if National had adopted the recommendations that came out of the review of MMP and got rid of the coat tailing rule. They cynically flipped the bird at the whole thing, and if that means, finally, that Labour and the Greens get together and use this the way National intended, so be it and if it comes back and bites the Nats on the bum, they only have themselves to blame

  9. weka 9

    National have told Māori to give their vote to the Mp not Labour, but haven’t said they will give the Mp a coalition deal. That’s pretty humiliating for the Mp. Hard to know what Māori will make of National telling them where to vote.

  10. Penny Bright 10

    “Prime Minister Bill English has called for National voters to back ACT leader David Seymour in Epsom and United Future leader Peter Dunne in Ohariu.”

    See?

    PM Bill English is obviously terrified that those who don’t want this National-led Government returned are understanding ‘strategic voting’!

    ie: In Epsom – the strategic vote to get rid of ACT / David Seymour, is give your electorate vote to National candidate Paul Goldsmith.

    In Ohariu – to get rid of United Future / Peter Dunne – vote for for Labour electorate candidate
    Greg O’Connor.

    The word is spreading, and PM Bill English is obviously PANICKING.

    Good.

  11. Dean Reynolods 11

    Let’s get a grip & stop being so prissy – all Labour & Green supporters in Epsom should give the Nat candidate their electoral vote but give Lab/Green their Party vote. This would wipe out the shitty little Act party forever. Isn’t that worth achieving?
    Dunne is a goner in Ohariu because there’s no Green candidate to split the Left vote – that’s how strategic voting works under MMP.
    We do whatever it takes to rid NZ of this appalling Nat Govt.

    • srylands 11.1

      That shitty little ACT Party is the only classically liberal voice in parliament. New Zealand would be worse for its absence. Hopefully they will get enough votes to have two additional MPs join Seymour in parliament.

      • You_Fool 11.1.1

        Maybe if they were a liberal party that would make sense; but ACT are basically the extreme right-wing of the National Party… maybe one day they will grow up and be a real party, but I think those days are gone..

        Also they should consider supporting Labour, I mean they don’t want to be seen to be beholden to National right? Maybe that would increase their support.

  12. Tanz 12

    And the Electoral Finance Act wasn’t a red-handed rort? Or the pledge card fiasco?
    Pot meet kettle.
    So, MMP is not so great after all?

    • Rae 12.1

      MMP is way, way better than FPP, but it could be better, could have been better if National had not arrogantly thrown out all the recommendations after the review of it. We got a say, we said what we wanted, they ignored it.

  13. Tanz 13

    The worst parts of MMP are both the post-election backroom deals and the fact that voters fire MP’s and they stay in anyway , due to the list. A total slap in the face to the voters and to democracy. FPP delivered stable governments, not beholden to fringe groups.

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  • Speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
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