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