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NRT on Democracy 101

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, November 29th, 2011 - 20 comments
Categories: election 2011, john key, political education - Tags: ,


No Right Turn takes Key to task on his perception of a “large majority”:

So, John Key thinks MMP is “weird”:

Prime Minister John Key says MMP is a “weird” system when National can win a large majority but Parliament remains tightly balanced.[…]

“But it’s a funny system when you can poll this massive number and still theoretically be wondering whether you’ve got a government.

“If this was First Past the Post and there were 100 MPs, there would be roughly 65 National seats and 35 Labour, so it would be this massive majority.

“Yet under MMP you sit there and go, ‘you’ve got this huge result and yet it still feels tight’.”

What’s weird about it? National won 48% of the vote. While 48% is huge for a single party in New Zealand, its not 50%. And if its not 50%, you need someone else’s help to govern.

This is democracy 101: in order to govern, you need a majority. What’s weird is that 75 years after its formation, the National Party still doesn’t understand this. But I guess that’s what you get in a party which calls itself “the natural party of government”: disdain for democracy.

(As for why things are so tight, look at it this way: in the last Parliament, National and its friends controlled 69 seats. Now they control 65, which is likely drop to 64 on the special votes. And in practice, on controversial legislation, its going to be either 62 or 61 seats, depending on whether they pitch to the Maori Party or Banks and Dunne. That is indeed tight, but that’s the will of the voters, not some flaw introduced by the electoral system).

20 comments on “NRT on Democracy 101 ”

  1. felix 1

    I think you’ll find that National believe that “the will of the voters” is a flaw introduced by the electoral system.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1


      The reason why Jonkey is complaining about it is because he wants to go back to the time when the minority ruled and, due to the disproportional system of FPP, National ruled most often even though Labour more often got the majority of the vote.

  2. Uturn 2

    What is wierd is that the media do not print stories in answer to these abberations of ignorance and malice perpetrated by our goverment. I can think of some good headlines:

    “John Key upset democracy exists.”

    “Prime minister ignorant of electoral process.”

    “PM thinks like manager, not leader.”

    “John pines for oligarchy.”

    I once thought about becoming a journalist. Glad I didn’t waste my time. Wouldn’t have got very far.

  3. There are 220, 720 special votes. If National gains 47.99% of those, that would be an extra 105,924 votes.

    Their grand total of votes would therefore be 1,063,693.

    In 2008, their absolute number of votes was 1,053,398. So, assuming they get the same proportion of the specials as they did of the election night votes they would have secured an extra 10,295 votes over the votes in 2008. That 10,000 votes, however, has translated into an extra two seats for them because of the low turnout. 

    Considering that they might not get 47.99% of the specials and that, in the last three years, the population of eligible voters may well have increased, there’s actually little change in National’s support, if any.

    None of that is comfort for Labour supporters, I suppose, but it does say something about all the crowing about ‘unprecedented’ support for National, ‘overwhelming mandate’, etc.. 

  4. Brooklyn 4

    … because if you use the word mandate often enough enough people might start to believe it as you do whatever the f* you like. Not a thickie, just cunning and unprincipled.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1


      National are psychopathic and twist things so tat they appear to support their preferred action.

  5. randal 5

    what is weird is that kweewee is a spoilt brat used to getting his own way.
    when he doesnt get his own way then he looks up a dictionary for a suitable word to demonise the process and excuse his simplistic outlook on the world.

  6. smokeskreen 6

    Don’t forget also that 48% of the vote for National is 48% of those who bothered to vote. Almost 1 million eligible voters didn’t get out and vote.

    • neoleftie 6.1

      and there where labour lost – not organised enough, going after the electoral vote and not the party vote, not mobilising the marginal labour vote, the swing, the switch, the passive potenial vote…the one million potenial labour voters who just didnt vote…shoot we had to win or bye bye NZ future.
      take wellington central – grant increased his personal vote nicely against the swing by hard hard electoral work over many years and in the house till late propping up old trev mallard

  7. vto 7

    Look, John Key is just a lying prick.

    He will pick a line that suits and keep plying it no matter whether it is true or not. Example, during the campaign he kept linking labour with debt when the truth is that labour paid down debt and national has taken on debt. The truth was in fact the opposite of what he was saying.

    Same thing with this mandate thing – he will just keep repeating a line that suits, no matter the truth of it.

  8. mikesh 8

    FPP is an anachronism. It evolved at a time in which there were no such things as political parties, and was probably appropriate to that particular age. These days however voters’ allegiances are to political parties and therefore seats in the house should be allocated in proportion to each party’s support.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      FPP was designed around the idea that the representatives would be independent. As soon as political parties arose and people started voting for the party rather than the candidate any proportionality that it may have had was gone.

  9. anne 9

    Key might now offer a posting overseas,lol,key knows that that would spark a by-election in goff’s seat,crafty or what? key knows hes only got 1-2 seats for a majority,its not that great,so he is pulling out all the stops,carpet-bagger key.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Interesting how so many people are so deeply stuck in FPP thinking. I asked a Nat voter at work today what if the election result was hypothetically something like this:

    National 36%

    Labour 33%

    Greens 31%

    Who forms the government? He couldn’t get past the idea that a ‘coalition of losers’ ie Labour/Green could in any sense form a legitimate government, because both had ‘lost’ to National.

    Yet the media persist with this nonsense, despite the fact that plausibly one day something like this will be an election outcome, and there’ll be any amount of wailing and renting of sackcloth as a result.

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