web analytics

On moral mandates

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, October 26th, 2008 - 67 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, labour, maori party, national, spin - Tags:

So, let me get this straight. The Right says that the minor parties have to support a National-led government if National gets more votes than Labour. Even if a National government would go against everything a party stands for, even if it is a complete betrayal of the people who voted for them, minor parties are meant to kneel before Key if his party gets the most votes. What dream world are these people living in?

The Herald reckons only a government including the largest party would have ‘legitimacy’. Key says the Maori Party and other small parties would have a “moral mandate” to make him PM if National gets more votes than Labour. Morality eh? That’s an interesting one. After all, they say that you know you’re winning when your opponents start whining ‘no fair’.

Where does this supposed moral mandate arise from? The opinions of people who voted for another party, even if that overrides the wishes of their own supporters?

Would the Maori Party, United Future, and the Greens be ‘morally obligated’ to back National if it won 2 more votes than Labour? Or does this moral maxim only kick in at 20 votes? or 200? or 2000? or 20,000? or 200,000?

Did this moral absolute apply when it was National with fewer votes in 2005? I’m trying to remember the Herald and John Key saying that Labour would have to govern, that Brash shouldn’t even try to form a coalition and, if he did, it would be illegitimate. Maybe my memory is getting rusty.

Did this same moral mandate exist when Labour won more votes but fewer seats in 1978 and 1981? Did National let Labour govern owing to its clear moral mandate? Maybe some of our older readers can inform us.

Or let’s take a theoretical example. What if we had situation where one wing was split between two middling parties,(say, Labour and the Greens or National and ACT), each polling around 25%, and the other wing had one party polling 40%. Would the wing with only one major party get to rule every time simply because its votes were consolidated in one major party?

Hmmm, this morality thing turns out to be a bit complicated, eh? What seems to be a highly principled statement (to borrow a phrase from Bill English) often turns out to be just self-serving drivel.

The fact is the Government is the party or group of parties that has the confidence of the House. It is the party or coalition that has the mandate of the most voters to govern that ought to govern. There is absolutely no reason why that should need to include the largest party.

The Right is just scared because an LGP+M government is looking ever more likely. Well, Key and the Herald can cry all they want, the fact remains: the legitimate and moral government is the one constituting the largest alliance of parties, whether or not it includes the single largest party.

67 comments on “On moral mandates”

  1. Dan 1

    Steve,
    The Right are chosey when they apply the morality argument. Our mate Burt on Farrar’s blog, in defending National’s reluctance to pay GST last election, writes:

    You may have forgotten, the GST couldn?t be repaid because National would have needed to break the law to repay it. Labour didn?t think making a law change retrospective for 1 year to enable that was OK. Instead they canceled the Darnton VS Clark court case, validated their own illegal spending over a period of 14 years and told us to move on. It seem you took the ?move on? message on board a little too literally.

    High legal ground but the morality stinks especially when the hypocrites take Winston and Labour to task for their respective interpretations of the law.

    MMP is here because the Nats won so many minority elections under FPP. The irony is wonderful.

    The other point which they fail to acknowledge is on election day, they may not have the majority any more. Remember it was not that long ago that English delivered 24%, which is closer to where they deserve to be considering their lack of firm commitments this time.

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    The Right is just scared because an LGP+M government is looking ever more likely.

    No it isn’t.

    Several commentators on the Left are encouraging a scenario whereby the overhang is maximised (Progressive voters giving party votes to Labour, Maori Party giving party votes to Labour or Greens, goodness, I wonder who has made those calls recently?). What is the purpose of this? Oh, that’s right, it’s to improve the possibility that even if the Right get the majority of votes, the will of the majority can be suppressed through a strategic manipulation of the overhang.

    If the Left get a majority of the votes, then you’re welcome to form a Government. If the Left manipulate an overhang so that they can form a government with a minority of party votes, then go ahead and try it. It will be the death knell to MMP.

  3. theodoresteel 3

    Of course the “block”, not the party with the biggest share of the vote has the moral mandate to govern. This statement by JK is just a threat to the minor parties.

    If one block wins a majority but the, say, Maori party has an overhang, maybe then morals kick in to go with whichever block has the majority. Because that’s when things could get messy with proportionality and actual party vote support for a particular “block” converting into seats in Parliament. Similar (but not identical) to the Nat “majorities” under FPP.

  4. randal 4

    the over arching feature of this election has been National and its adherents telling other people what to do. wherever you look there is someone from the gnats saying you must do or you should do this or that. why dont they just say ‘we are going to do this or that and let the people decide. behind every statement they make is the whiff of a strong arm and the disappointment that they cant actually use it.

  5. National has never really understood that a majority of voters don’t vote for them and don’t want them as their government. They hate MMP because it makes that majority who don’t vote for them a tangible reality they can’t ignore.

    If a majority of voters elect MPs from a set of parties who share enough common values that National is on its own…..then that’s just how voters roll.

    National should try to get its head around democracy. Seriously. All the evidence to date says they not only don’t get it, but they can’t do simple arithmetic. Forty-five per cent isn’t a majority……

    I don’t want people with such obvious and potentially serious perceptual dysfunction running the country.

  6. Ianmac 6

    It may have already been said but the Governor general does not seek out the party with the biggest share of the votes. After the election the parties negotiate and when a “coalition” has the required number **then** they go to the GG and ask to form the Govt. It therefore follows that whether the coalition is made up of 2 parties or 10 parties they have the majority and the remainder must have the minority. Simple.
    There has been plenty of informed info on Public Address.

  7. Shonkey 7

    I’ve always wondered about the moral authority of a guy who uses two dead former co-workers to make a point. In the 2003 debate on the border security bill, John Key told Parliament that on September 11, 2001:

    my boss, Michael Packer, died. He was giving a speech on the 108th floor, at Windows on the World. He perished with another two employees from Merrill Lynch, both of whom worked for me and whom I had recruited from the private sector.

    In September 2001, Packer probably was the Australian-domciled Key’s boss in e-commerce, but I highly doubt Key had anything to do with the other two guys.

    One of the Merrill Lynch trio who were killed that day was 26-year-old Robert McIlvaine, hired in July 2001 for a New York-based communications job (Key’s already in Australia remember); the other was David Brady, a 16-year veteran at Merrill and a New York based private client advisor who looked after 150 wealthy families. Not likely to have been hired by Key who had, in 1985, barely made his first forex trade.

  8. dave 8

    So, let me get this straight. The Right says that the minor parties have to support a National-led government if National gets more votes than Labour.

    No, thats not correct – thats a dumb thing to say – and its not correct even if they get more seats, either. Can you imagine the Progressives supporting National, or Act supporting Labour?

  9. dave 9

    National has never really understood that a majority of voters don’t vote for them and don’t want them as their government

    A majority of voters DO want them as their govt, even if a majority of voters dont vote National. I wont bore you with an explaination, you can work that out for yourself. In any case a Majority of voters dont vote for Labour NOR want Labour to be the government according to current polling – even if Clark is preferred PM.

    Did this same moral mandate exist when Labour won more votes but fewer seats in 1978 and 1981?

    The number of seats is more important in FPP than MMP because we elect a Govt. Many people still think we vote for a government, but it is parliament that chooses the Government now. We just pick who gets to choose. Never forget that we adopted MMP in the first place because we weren’t happy that the party with the most votes was not necessarily the Government.

    What the right is saying, I think, is that if the second highest party in Parliament were to be come the Govt, that the parliament would be democratic, but the government would not because it is not the will of the people purely because most people expect the biggest party to be the govt, not the biggest left/right group.

    In fact most expect the biggest left/right group to be in govt. Steve obviously doesnt think that is necessary if the right get more then the left but the Maori Party ( not part of the left/ right)) goes with Labour

    That’s all. I’m not saying I think that, just offering the comment.

  10. dave 10

    not the biggest left/right group Not JUST the biggest left/right group….

  11. paw prick 11

    Steve.
    The fact is more New Zealanders want a nat goverment than want a Labour one
    more New zealanders want a nat government than want a green govt
    more New Zealanders want a nat govt than want a NZ first govt
    The the views of the majorty should be respected! its called Democracy!

  12. Bill 12

    It’s not complicated.

    In an election based around personality, Key might have had a point.

    In an election based around policy he is being stupid with his assertion.

    Or then, as the ‘free marketeers’ demand heavy handed state involvement these days, he just might have a point again. A rather Stalinist one, but a point nonetheless. Strange days.

  13. RedLogix 13

    pp,

    Ah yes. Why not come out and say it straight… you really want to revert to FPP so that the Nats have a chance of winning from time to time.

    And this is one of the reasons why:

    http://08wire.org/2008/08/04/first-past-the-post-biased-towards-national/

    In a nutshell FPP is an inherently unfair system, giving about a 1.3% advantage to conservative parties. Given that many election results have the biggest voting blocks within within a few percent of each other, that is a pretty significant bias.

  14. paw prick 14

    Rexlogix

    What I want is for the party who gets the most votes to govern.Simple!
    under MMP we have minor parties in a position to decide who governs with only 5% support! and even worse minor partys whose mandate is one of race being kingmaker!
    FPP is not ideal but MMP has to revised in some way to restore democracy!

  15. dave 15

    What I want is for the party who gets the most votes to govern

    Steve, can you please elaborate as to why you disagree with this statement if Labour was to get the most votes and seats but a minor party was subsequently to govern with National?

  16. r0b 16

    If the Left get a majority of the votes, then you’re welcome to form a Government.

    Thanks Tim, but I don’t think we need your permission.

    If the Left manipulate an overhang so that they can form a government with a minority of party votes, then go ahead and try it. It will be the death knell to MMP.

    Woah – tough guy!

    National have been the beneficiaries of quirks in the electoral system more than once. If they are on the losing side of a quirk this time then I for one will not shed any tears. The people make the rules, the people vote under the rules, the outcome under the rules will reflect the will of the people.

    All this National crying about the smaller party forming the government didn’t stop them from desperately trying to do it at the last election…

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    The people make the rules, the people vote under the rules, the outcome under the rules will reflect the will of the people.

    Well, thank you for your permission on what the will of the people will do r0b. See, we can both play the smarmy crap game on a Sunday morning, r0b, but it isn’t constructive, is it?

    National have been the beneficiaries of quirks in the electoral system more than once. If they are on the losing side of a quirk this time then I for one will not shed any tears.

    Really? National have been a beneficiary of the quirks of MMP? When? MMP was a system designed to give proportional support in Parliament so that governments would represent a majority of voters. FPP was never intended to deliver that outcome. We are not talking about a “quirk”. We are talking about a deliberate attempt by some on the Left to exploit a systematic design flaw in the system so that the will of the majority party vote is suppressed.

    All this National crying about the smaller party forming the government didn’t stop them from desperately trying to do it at the last election

    Nonsense. I haven’t seen National crying about the smaller party forming a government. If Labour, the Greens, Progressives, New Zealand First and the Maori Party together represent more party votes than National, Act and United Future, then nobody in National will have a right to cry about it. And I don’t remember Don Brash being desperate to form a Government after the last election. I do remember him saying on election night in 2005 that National hadn’t done enough to form a government, but that he would have discussions with other party leaders. That wasn’t desperation.

  18. randal 18

    paw prix has a poor understanding of both democracy and the parliamentary process and seems to be just the point man for a national party blag on how they think democracy should work.
    national brought in mmp
    but
    they cant make it work
    the question is can they make anything work and so far the answer is no

  19. RedLogix 19

    This really is an absurd discussion. As r0b correctly points out National had fewer votes than Labour in 2005 and this did not deter them from entering into discussions with other minor parties in order to try and form a government. I do not recall any silly nonsense from the left about Labour having a “moral right” to form the government just because they had the most seats.

    National had every right to make an attempt to form a government in 2005. I would have been surprised if they had not entered into coalition negotiations. And if the attempt had been successful then they would have had every right to form a government.

    As for pp’s soundbite slogan ” democracy = govt by the party with the most votes” is nothing more than a fig leaf for FPP. And we have been there, done that… and didn’t like it.

    Tim

    Nonsense. I haven’t seen National crying about the smaller party forming a government.

    Well pp is not equal to National…. but he is sure making a fuss all the same.

  20. r0b 20

    See, we can both play the smarmy crap game on a Sunday morning

    Ummmm – what? Maybe you should switch to decaf Tim, you seem a little tense.

    Really? National have been a beneficiary of the quirks of MMP? When?

    I said “the electoral system” Tim, not “MMP”. Notably in 1978 and 1981 when Labour won more votes than National but was not able to form the government.

    And I don’t remember Don Brash being desperate to form a Government after the last election. I do remember him saying on election night in 2005 that National hadn’t done enough to form a government, but that he would have discussions with other party leaders. That wasn’t desperation.

    No no, of course not. Having fought a desperate, unethical and bitter campaign, narrowly lost due to being caught out in his lies, Don wasn’t a bit desperate to try and cobble together a coalition after the last election. Not even a teeny bit, I see that now. But his non desperate attempts to from a government in 2005 show that National has no qualms at all about the smaller party forming a government – as long as it is them. Makes the campaign they are running now rather self evidently self serving don’t you think?

    Anyway, cheerio, stuff to do in the real world.

  21. RedLogix 21

    Tim,

    MMP was really only a compromise choice. With only a single legislative house, and no independent executive authority, the FPP system really delivered ‘one party state’ rule.. And after the debacles of the Muldoon, Lange and early Bolger governments, in which a handful of wrong-headed individuals were able to hijack the entire political agenda, NZ was very ready for a better system.

    The choices were really between MMP and STV. STV was technically the better system, but there were very few international precedents of it being used at a national level. In the end we went with MMP mainly because it represented the change from FPP that was most achievable, rather than the best possible.

  22. r0b 22

    PS – final quick thought on my way out the door.

    Since the Greens have already declared that they can only work with Labour after the election, Green voters know exactly what they are voting for – a Labour led government.

    The explicit vote for a Labour led government is Labour + Greens, that is the total that can be compared to the explicit vote for National.

  23. Tim Ellis 23

    r0b said:

    National has no qualms at all about the smaller party forming a government – as long as it is them. Makes the campaign they are running now rather self evidently self serving don’t you think?

    No, that doesn’t make the campaign they are running now self-serving. National has never said that the groups of parties represented in Parliament that command the majority of party votes should not form the government. Straw man r0b. If the LPG gets more votes than NUFACT, then good luck to them.

    RedLogix said:

    MMP was really only a compromise choice. With only a single legislative house, and no independent executive authority, the FPP system really delivered ‘one party state’ rule..

    I’d say that’s reasonable point, RedLogix. Every system is a compromise choice. The recommendation of the Royal Commission on the electoral system was that the retention of the Maori seats was not necessary to ensure Maori representation. It is the existence of the Maori seats that exacerbates the likelihood of the overhang.

    Examples in other MMP systems show that the existence of the overhang is rare, and isn’t a feature in determining governments. Some commentators on the Left maximise the overhang and exploit it to potentially defeat the will of the majority of voters.

  24. Lew 24

    Steve, you’re way behind on this one. A few of us have already had this argument over here. Please excuse me if I plagiarise my arguments there.

    There’s a lot of basic political theory missing in action here, so I’m putting my schoolin’ hat on.The majority of these `moral mandate’ arguments arise from the following fallacies:


    1. We use a system of uncodified morality to determine who governs.
    2. a coalition government with one large and several small parties is the same as a single-party government.
    3. People vote against parties, not for a party.
    4. Governments are non-exclusive.

    All four of these are complete bollocks. Allow me to deal with them in turn. All I’m essentially doing is arguing a case for democracy being pursued by recourse to rule of law and mathematics.

    1. We don’t use a system of uncodified morality to determine who forms a government; we use a system of codified law. This is one of the defining features which makes democracy superior to executive monarchy, dictatorship or any of the other systems we’d no doubt all agree are inferior. The transparency of the rule of law means everyone, knowing how the system operates, are well-placed to tune their electoral behaviour to suit. In NZ, the rules governing government formation (once an election has been held) are contained in the Cabinet Manual, here. Sometimes strict adherence to law produces bizarre results, but if you want rule of law, you have to live with its failings as well as its more frequent successes. On this basis I spend a lot of time defending the result of the 2000 US Presidential election, even though I dislike the result, on the grounds that the decision to halt the Florida recount was made by those constitutionally authorised to do so, acting on their properly-delegated authority. Yes, the Supreme Court may have been stacked – but it was stacked legitimately in law. This is a case for electoral reform, not a case for changing the result of the election.

    Another point is salient: even under MMP, the party or bloc of parties with the most party votes does not govern by right. The party or parties with the largest number of seats in parliament governs by right. The overhang can play merry hell with this, and that’s the issue here: where a coalition includes one or more parties who have created an overhang, they can potentially govern with fewer than 50% of the party votes. Since the overhang is caused by the 5% threshold (and nothing else), the logical consequence for electoral reform is to scrap the 5% threshold, not to scrap MMP altogether. So I agree with Tim Ellis’ premise here: go ahead and try [to govern], but not his conclusion: It will be the death knell to MMP.

    2. A party cannot form a government unless it has a majority of seats in the house. Definitions: a clear majority is when a party has 50% plus one of all seats in parliament and can govern unfettered, as was typical under first past the post. An effective majority is when a party has fewer than 50% plus one of all seats in the house, but can convince one or more parties to abstain on confidence and supply and allow it to govern alone. This is not the same as a coalition. So all this talk of a `National government’ or a `Labour government’ and most ludicrously a `Green government’ rests on the party in question gaining an effective majority in the house, which is very unlikely to happen in this election (except in National’s case where it is just unlikely). Let us ignore either of these results as uncontroversial for now.

    Where there does not exist an effective majority, a party does not form government. This is a fundamental premise of proportional representation systems.Parties comprising a majority in parliament form a government. That means, on the basis of the hypothetical five-party coalition, Labour would not be the government, they would be a (major) part of the government, and the remainder of the government would be formed by other parties who between them made up majority. This leads into the next point:

    3. You cast your party vote for a party, not against all the other parties. All the rhetoric that if people vote for anyone other than Labour they don’t want Labour in government is bullshit. It would be true if your vote was an implicit vote against all the other parties, but since you only have one vote, it isn’t. It’s stupid to argue that a vote for ACT is a vote exclusively for ACT, since if it were, it’d be a wasted vote. Under proportional representation systems, you vote for a party on the basis not only of their policy and political culture and all that, but on the basis of who they are likely to go into coalition with. The KBR understand this, as their `Labour First’ billboard makes clear, although some of them are wilfully pretending not to understand it when it suits them. This means (per point 2 above) that when you cast a vote for a party in the knowledge they are possibly going into coalition with other parties, you are tacitly giving them a mandate to include those other parties in government. THis puts the lie to the idea that a party without an effective majority has lost its mandate – that party can only be said to have lost its mandate if it and all its coalition partners fail to muster a majority of seats in the house.

    4. Parties only get to support one government at a time. Per the Cabinet Manual I linked to above, government is formed when the Governor-General is satisfied that a party or bloc of parties has the confidence of the house – that is, 50% + 1 seats. Because each member has only one parliamentary ballot to cast, the question of who he or she supports is generally not in doubt. The idea that the party with the largest plurality of seats get the first attempt to form a government is in this sense meaningless – if they can stitch up a government, they can do so at any time – and if they can’t, they can’t. The G-G is under obligation to accept the first petition for government which has the confidence of the house. It’s that simple. Because of the exclusivity of the confidence ballot, that government’s formation necessarily prevents any other government from being formed.There’s no question that Labour forming a coalition government with other parties would prevent National doing so – if tany of those parties wanted to support National’s coalition government they are free to do so but have manifestly chosen not to. The only case in which this argument could be made is if a potentially swinging coalition partner publicly gave their vote to the first party who wanted it – in which case the shunned suitor’s argument is with that party, and nobody else.

    My apologies for being so long-winded – but the degree of simple constitutional ignorance in these arguments can’t be allowed to stand.

    L

  25. randal 25

    there is nothing constitutional about your arguments lew. they are all just wishfull thinking to support the latest assertion of the national party about how people “should” behave according to them.
    better luck next time

  26. Lew 26

    randal: That’s funny, I thought I was defending the current electoral law we have which could possibly return a Labour/Progressive/Green/MP coalition in November against the National party’s supporters who seemingly want a government to be formed on the basis of `moral mandate’ rather than electoral mandate.

    But then – it’s not surprising you’ve misread it, since you seem to form your response to a given comment after reading the poster’s name, rather than the comment itself.

    L

  27. randal 27

    lew you are not defending anything. you are just filling up the space with mind numbing crap designed to bore voters to death and the quality of your output is less than the most junior of junior lecturers and not good enough to go in wikepedia.
    just rubbish

    R
    (howzat)

  28. dave 28

    in othe words, randal just doesnt understand what Lew has written. Thats why most of randals comments here are purile. Poor boy. I thought they were so good Ive linked them here

  29. Akldnut 29

    Steve I think that the supposed moral mandate came from the supposed mainstream that were hiding under National banners during the leftwing rainstorm at the in 2005

  30. randal 30

    I read lews diatribe and I went to your site dave and just more of the same.
    boring people to death with prose dense enough to make concrete
    Just get on with it.
    POlicies will always win the day.
    National wants to use bribes but they aint enough dough in the kitty even for them
    It seems to me that certain rightwhingers in this forum are just trying to erect a platform for future electoral reform but they are out of luck
    read the ‘fern and the kiwi’ for a most illuminating outline of the kwi character and you will see why new zealand will never go back to fpp.
    mmp is the only way kiwis have to stick it to big heads
    you betcha!

    R
    (r am feeling really presumptuous)

  31. Weather Eye Of The North 31

    Oh Boy ! The right still hasn’t lost it’s underlying belief in “born-to-rule” (for them that is), the exemplar being Wee-Shifty-Eyes unveiling his “established” convention that the party with the most seats is entitled………blah blah blah.

    This against their endlessly prattled slogan throughout Labour’s terms – “….this minority Labour government.” And this from a party which had only 27 seats or so at the time they were caterwauling it. And this from a party under Brash that certainly acted as though it was unaware of any such “convention”.

    What hypocrites they are ! Freaking out hypocrites as well with their self-stroking “born-to-rule” landslide bubble having all but burst.

    Grow up girls and learn the territory. In the meantime enough of this – “It’s MY turn….” crap. Will get you nowhere except a lonely spot from which you can contemplate the fallacy of your “born-to-rule” fantasy.

  32. dave 32

    Randal I am a supporter of both PR and the Maori seats – does that make me a left whinger or a right whinger?

  33. higherstandard 33

    WEOTN

    “Born to rule”

    Could you please explain who this refers to in the current parties of what you call the “right”

    Or is it just a convenient bigoted smear you like to trot out ?

  34. NeillR 34

    National have been the beneficiaries of quirks in the electoral system more than once.
    And the electoral system was changed as a result. Don’t underestimate the power of the electorate to do the same thing if they feel that the current system doesn’t give them the government that they want. In fact, you’ll find the results of the Herald’s survey show that 60% of voters would consider a government that was not composed of the highest polling party under MMP to be “a rightful government”.
    Parties who would sign up to a coalition of the minority would do so at their peril.

  35. randal 35

    Dave some people are just idiots whatever party they support.
    Are you in that category?

    [lprent: Make a point – don’t just attack other commentators. You’ll stay in moderation until you improve or I get tired of releasing your comments]

  36. Lew 36

    NeillR: the results of the Herald?s survey show that 60% of voters would consider a government that was not composed of the highest polling party under MMP to be ?a rightful government?.

    No, that’s not what it found, as I’ve explained (and you’re been unable to refute) on the other thread. My response now has the important bits highlighted; I encourage you to address them (if you can):

    Are you genuinely suggesting we change NZ’s electoral rules if an election produces a result the NZ Herald’s focus group doesn’t like?

    Aside from the obvious idiocy of electoral reform by straw poll, the question to which they responded was particularly fallacious. According to the link “they were asked whether New Zealanders would see a party that finished second as the rightful government.” Let’s be crystal fucking clear: a party does not form a government, unless it gets a majority. Parties comprising a majority in parliament form a government. That means, on the basis of the hypothetical five-party coalition, Labour would not be the government, they would be a part of the government, and the remainder of the government would be formed by other parties who between them made up majority. The question is misleading, so it’s hardly surprising that the answers are meaningless.

    L

  37. Tim Ellis 38

    Lew, I agree with all your points, with one rider:

    There’s no question that Labour forming a coalition government with other parties would prevent National doing so – if tany of those parties wanted to support National’s coalition government they are free to do so but have manifestly chosen not to. The only case in which this argument could be made is if a potentially swinging coalition partner publicly gave their vote to the first party who wanted it – in which case the shunned suitor’s argument is with that party, and nobody else.

    In the past two parties have either said in advance that they will give negotiating preference to the largest party, or have used the justification after the fact. The examples I highlight are NZ First in 1996 and 2005, and United in 2005. There is no constitutional basis for this position, but it’s probably reasonable to argue that a party that has a plurality is likely to need fewer partners to build an effective majority, and that the relative power of the minor partner is likely to increase where there are fewer smaller parties within the majority.

    For example, if hypothetically National had 55 seats, Act had 4 seats, and United had 2 seats, United might feel it would have more relative power within a National-led government than forming a coalition with Labour, Greens, Progressives, New Zealand First and the Maori Party.

    My conclusion that an effective majority based on an overhang which denied the parties representing the majority of the party votes from forming a government would be the “death knell” of MMP was a political comment, rather than a constitutional one. Of course, constitutionally an overhang can exist and effective majorities can be formed based on it, and parties can collude to maximise the overhang.

    My view is based, however, on an observation that there is a reasonable dissatisfaction with the MMP system at present (probably not 50%, but not far from it); that MMP was introduced in order to provide what its proponents claimed was greater “fairness” that stemmed from several elections in which the party that received the plurality of the vote was unable to achieve a parliamentary majority, and that the exploitation of the overhang would undermine that advantage over FPP. I think that deliberate manipulation of the overhang, as some Left commentators have advocated, would further increase dissatisfaction with the MMP system.

    SP has put together a whole lot of straw-man arguments. I haven’t heard John Key say any along the lines of “the Right has the right to govern if it gets more votes than Labour”. His whole premise is flawed.

  38. Lew 39

    Tim: Yes, and having given the undertaking to work with the largest plurality, I think they have a responsibility to abide by it – but I think this is largely irrelevant in 2008, since every incumbent party bar the māori party have declared their allegiance already. It bears repeating that the process of forming a government is extremely simple: get 50% plus 1 votes in the house and tell the Governor-General. Gentleman’s agreements aren’t worth a damn except inasmuch as they’re backed by parliamentary votes.

    I understand that your prediction that MMP would end if a coalition exploited the overhang to form a government without the popular vote was political, and I think it’s a possibility. However to an extent it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, because the problem is caused by the threshold, and can be solved by removing (or reducing) the threshold.

    I think a greater danger in exploiting the overhang is the chance of a resurgence in the (for want of a more neutral term I’ll use the one employed by National’s strategists) redneck wing of the Nats, blaming the māori party and by extension all Māori for having lost the election. That said, I don’t agree with the doctrine of sacrificing democracy for stability, so neither this possibility nor the `five-headed monster’ rhetoric has much currency for me.

    L

  39. Lew 40

    … and with my conspiracy theory hat on: In the NatRad debate, Peter Dunne said a short while ago that `whatever party forms a government, there will be a mini-budget in December’. I wonder whether he and John Key talk about in in their ersatz nuptials? The test will be whether National stops its `why won’t they tell us now’ line about Labour’s declared December mini-budget.

    L

  40. Tim Ellis 41

    Lew said:

    However to an extent it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, because the problem is caused by the threshold, and can be solved by removing (or reducing) the threshold.

    I disagree. Minor overhangs may exist in general electorates from time to time, of the order of one or two seats. They tend to happen when independents win electorates. Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton will probably be examples of this in 2008. The existence of the Maori seats, however, is likely to exacerbate the overhang (and changing the percentage threshhold for qualification doesn’t change that).

    When you ring-fence a community based on either regional or ethnic lines, then there is a probability that a Party will emerge to represent that community. The Maori Party is likely to get 6 of the 7 Maori seats. There is no incentive for them to go chasing the party vote in Maori seats, let alone general seats.

    Ironically, despite being a creation of MMP, the Maori Party doesn’t rely on MMP for its continued existence. It owes its existence solely to the Maori seats. If New Zealand returned to FPP, it’s likely there would be as many as 10 Maori seats, if the Maori electoral option was retained.

    There could well be a backlash against the Maori seats if the overhang was exploited to deny the majority of the vote the ability to form a government; I don’t see a way of eliminating the overhang issue without either abolishing the Maori seats, and perhaps reducing the threshhold to say 2%, or changing the electoral system dramatically.

  41. Carol 42

    Clomar Brunton poll out now:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1320238/2232258
    Election race starts to narrow

    “he last poll a week ago showed National 14 points ahead of Labour, but this has now narrowed to 12 points.

    The National Party has dropped back three points, down to 47%. Labour has also dropped back by one point, now on 35%. Labour’s friends, the Green Party have bounced back, up to 8%. Meanwhile, New Zealand First is on 3%, edging closer to the magic 5% threshold.

    The Maori Party is sitting on 2.8%, however, their focus is on the electorate seats, so they will not be too concerned with the low party vote. The Act Party is still just above 2%.”

    “Key is still the preferred choice for Prime Minister on 38% but the race has closed right up. Clark is now breathing down Key’s neck on 37%, up by three points. Meanwhile, 3% of voters w”

  42. Magnus 43

    pawprick,
    ‘The the views of the majorty should be respected! its called Democracy!’
    No, that is majoritarianism. There is a very big difference.
    This election has just seen the New Zealand Parliament revert to what Parliaments used to be about: loosely aligned factions with similar ideas rallying around one leader to get their more salient points across more effectively. As a Labour supporter I say more of it, from both the right and the left. The more that different parties have their input in to governance, the more the true will of the greater population is served when it comes to policy making.

  43. Lew 44

    Tim: They tend to happen when independents win electorates. Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton will probably be examples of this in 2008. The existence of the Maori seats, however, is likely to exacerbate the overhang (and changing the percentage threshhold for qualification doesn’t change that)

    Tim, I understand how MMP works and what causes the overhang, and it’s nothing to do with independents. The overhang is caused when a party wins more electorate seats than their share of the party vote would otherwise entitle them to. Dunne and Anderton are a red herring in this case – pre-election polls notwithstanding, their parties tend to get about or above the 0.8% which would entitle them to their leader’s electorate seat, so that’s not it. The Māori seats are also a red herring – any party which can win seven seats while gaining only 3% of the party vote would trigger the same 3-seat overhang.

    I don’t see a way of eliminating the overhang issue without either abolishing the Maori seats, and perhaps reducing the threshhold to say 2%, or changing the electoral system dramatically.

    It’s really not an either/or situation, though I understand it can be seen that way, and the opponents of MMP would be keen to paint it that way. Just reducing the threshold will solve the overhang issue, because it’s not caused by the Māori seats, it’s caused by the presence of a bloc of seats where one party has clear electorate dominance out of proportion with their party vote share. The other thing which would solve this would be if the māori party continued its current two ticks campaign.

    L

  44. DS 45

    By the way, the Nats just prior to the election in 2002 were talking up the prospect of a National + ACT + NZ First + United Future coalition (English apparently wasn’t intending to concede on the night, in hope of being able to stitch together a deal, until the late night results made such a coalition impossible). At one point on the night, with Labour leading by a good 12-15 percent, the TV media was saying that it might all hinge on Peters (only for Labour’s lead to then balloon out to 20 percent).

    All of which does, of course, indicate that the Right has no problem with multi-headed monsters when it is *their* multi-headed monster.

  45. Lew 46

    [lprent: Nuked as requested]

  46. dave 47

    I don’t see a way of eliminating the overhang issue without either abolishing the Maori seats, and perhaps reducing the threshhold to say 2%, or changing the electoral system dramatically.

    I do.

    Its bullshit to say that the existence of Maori Seats exacerbates the overhang. Complete bullshit. An increasing proportion of a party’s share of the vote being less than the number of electorate seats gained does. The overhang issue can be eliminated without abolishing the Maori Seats, without reducing the threshold (that can help, tho) or changing the electorate system. The only thing that will solve it other htan reducingthe threshold is if a higher proportion of people vote for the the party likely to be in overhang Thats why:

    The other thing which would solve this [overhang] would be if the māori party (or any other party in an overhang situation for that matter) continued its current two ticks campaign.

    It would also solve it if it encouraged those in General electorate to vote the Maori Party, meaning that even fewer would vote Labour as well as reduce any overhang .And of course if the overhang lowers to the extent that the share of the Party vote is proportionally equivalent to the number of of electorate seats thanks to this combined with the two ticks campaign , then the 5% threshold does not cause an overhang, so its not a problem, as any Government can have a majority with fewer seats than a Parliament in overhang – ie 50% plus 1..

  47. dave 48

    .. and for those who think the 5% threshold should be scrapped and a party should be proportionally represented in Parliament ONLY if it gets one elected member is effectively advocating a 0.8% threshold with a caveat

    .If no members get elected even if they get 18% of the vote, its Social Credit all over again. If one member gets elected, they `re technically in overhang if the party does not get 0.8% of the vote, and will have list MPs if they get more than 1.6% as per now, if four get elected with 2% of the vote – like the Maori Party – we still have an overhang, but a parliament with the likelihood of fewer parties – meaning the parties left will each have a higher proportion of members in the House.

  48. lprent 49

    dave: I think that if we’re looking at getting rid of anti-democratic seats stuff, that you’d also be hanging out to remove the fixed quotient for electorates in the south island.

    The number of electorate MPs is calculated in three steps. The less populated of New Zealand’s two principal islands, the South Island, has a fixed quota of 16 seats. The number of seats for the North Island and the number of special reserved seats for Māori are then calculated in proportion to these.

    There are all kinds of interesting factors that will fall out of that distortion over time.

  49. dave 50

    I Think that if we’re looking at getting rid of anti-democratic seats stuff, that you’d also be hanging out to remove the fixed quotient for electorates in the south island.
    Not before we agree that the Maori seats are democratic

  50. Ianmac 51

    Elsewhere there is discussion on variations (Based on suggestion started by Idiot Savant.). If the electorate seats were abolished and there was fixed number of seats say 100 seats for ease of explanation. Percentage determines the outcome thus:
    1% = 1 seat.
    15% =15 seats
    51%= majority
    < 1% = no seats.
    Maori Party would be part of the %??
    % rounded to nearest whole
    Outcome simple eh?.

  51. Lew 52

    Bah, I’ve misread and mis-edited my own post in haste. Ignore, if you can, the amendment above. Lynn, if you’d delete it I’d be obliged, even though it’s public record now.

    dave: I agree with your point about the māori party’s party vote and the general roll.

    I argued to some success with an ACT activist recently that the māori party were using the Māori seats as a platform for normalising a political philosophy based in kaupapa Māori and thereby giving the next generation of Māori public figures a leg-up into politics, a field in which they’ve historically been marginalised. I think the endgame (and it won’t be soon) is that the māori party accedes to the repeal of the Māori seats, having established a sufficient basis of support among both Māori and Pākehā voters. It’s early days yet.

    L

  52. Lew 53

    Ianmac: Why is simplicity an especially important criterion? Should robustness and representation not be more valuable?

    L

  53. Tim Ellis 54

    dave said:

    Its bullshit to say that the existence of Maori Seats exacerbates the overhang. Complete bullshit. An increasing proportion of a party’s share of the vote being less than the number of electorate seats gained does.

    I disagree. And here’s why. The Maori Party is running a first-past-the-post campaign in the seven Maori seats. It takes, on average, about 20,000 party votes to win an additional list seat. To get five percent of the seats, a party needs to achieve around 100,000 party votes.

    To win an electorate in a Maori seat means winning around 9,000 electorate votes, as an approximate, given that Maori seats only have around 20,000 voters participating.

    For the Maori Party to normally get 7 MPs on the list, they would need 120,000 party votes. Or they could get 63,000 electorate votes. Given that they are only really campaigning in Maori seats (they say otherwise, but that’s the reality), if the Maori Party win all the Maori electorates, the Maori Party has to campaign strongly for the general party vote, and win a far higher proportion of the Party vote in the Maori seats than they do at present in order to avoid an overhang.

    In other terms, the Maori Party has no incentive to chase the Party vote anywhere. Once they have won seven electorates, they have to get more than twice as many party votes as electorate votes in order to get an additional MP. There’s no incentive for the Maori Party to do that when they’re appealing to a Maori constituency.

  54. toad 55

    Tim Ellis said: <i…the Maori Party has no incentive to chase the Party vote anywhere.

    Actually, Tim, they do. Because they are runing a long-term campaign, not just interested in maximising votes atthis election.

    So while increasing their Party vote and attempting to be credible on the list, rather than just the Maori electorates, will gain them nothing electorally this this time around, they are looking long-term to getting Party votes from the general roll and eventually becoming a Party that can win list seats.

    Which actually pisses me off in the context of this election. The Maori Party could do much better policy-wise in the next 3 years by telling their supporters to vote Green on the list, becasue the Greens and the Maori Party have considerable policy synergy and maximising their numbers as a bloc would be in both their best immediate interests imo.

  55. Tim Ellis 56

    Actually, Tim, they do. Because they are runing a long-term campaign, not just interested in maximising votes atthis election.

    I don’t understand that logic toad. I’m not being facetious, and tell me if I’ve misconstrued what you said, but I’ve never heard of a political party not trying to maximise its vote at every election.

    So while increasing their Party vote and attempting to be credible on the list, rather than just the Maori electorates, will gain them nothing electorally this this time around, they are looking long-term to getting Party votes from the general roll and eventually becoming a Party that can win list seats.

    That’s not the campaign they’re running this time around though toad. The Maori Party got 48,000 party votes last time. About 75% of it was in the Maori seats. The campaign they are running at present, from what I can see, is not in the general seats. They aren’t even running candidates in general seats. Their focus is on winning the other three Maori seats that they don’t currently have. The top seven candidates on their list are all their constituency candidates.

    Which actually pisses me off in the context of this election. The Maori Party could do much better policy-wise in the next 3 years by telling their supporters to vote Green on the list, becasue the Greens and the Maori Party have considerable policy synergy and maximising their numbers as a bloc would be in both their best immediate interests imo.

    I absolutely do not comprehend this argument. This would absolutely confine the Maori Party to a constituency-only party, and would absolutely guarantee a much larger overhang than is likely at present. It would seriously undermine any attempt from the Maori Party to campaign for party vote in the general seats in the next election, which is what you claim should be the Maori Party’s strategy now. The reality is that if the Maori Party get 6 seats (and I reckon there’s about a 70% chance of that), we’re likely to have a 125 seat parliament. If they get all seven Maori seats, and I think there’s about a 50/50 chance of that happening, then there will be a 126 seat parliament.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the Maori seats per se, or using mechanisms to guarantee Maori representation. I just don’t see a justification for the Maori seats within an MMP system because of the likely hazard of an overhang. I also don’t believe that Maori seats are required to guarantee Maori representation. Maori representation is already much higher in almost every political party than it was pre-MMP. If there were a risk that representation might be lost, then there might be a good argument for list quotas by registered parties.

  56. dave 57

    I also don’t believe that Maori seats are required to guarantee Maori representation

    What about effective representation, Tim? That’s more than just Maori bums on seats y’know. The Maori seats are needed for both guaranteed proportional representation and effective representation as they are the only seats that are drawn from a dedicated Maori constituency. You don’t see a justification for Maori seats because of a likely hazard of an overhang, but you think it is ok if the seats were ditched fora likely hazard of under proportionality? That’s a pretty inconsistent argument, and hardly effective or proportional representation of Maori representation

    Maori representation is already much higher in almost every political party than it was pre-MMP

    It would be proportionally lower without the seats – and you consider that Jill Pettis, Clem Simich and Georgina Beyer were effectively representing Maori? Yeah right. Oh and the Maori Party is running a two ticks campaign in the Maori seats.

  57. Since the overhang is caused by the 5% threshold (and nothing else), the logical consequence for electoral reform is to scrap the 5% threshold,

    Not true. (The possibility of) Overhang is completely unrelated to the threshold. The threshold can create disproportionality (imagine a result where the Family Party, and Kiwi Party each get 4.9%, and get no seats to add to National’s lone 44%), but the threshold does not create disproportionality through overhang.

  58. Ari 59

    Weather Eye Of The North:

    Grow up girls and learn the territory.

    Can I suggest we not use misogynistic language to attack the Right? The Left as a whole is far more vulnerable to the consequences of sexism and general identity bigotry than the Right are, and we shouldn’t hand them ammunition from a purely practical sense.

    And that’s completely ignoring how much it personally offends me. 😛 There is nothing wrong with girls, (in fact, they’re pretty damn awesome in a variety of ways) and the National Party doesn’t need to “grow up” like some ageist tagline, it needs to “face the music” of what New Zealand is really like, and stop repeating its hollow and misleading talking points about how the absolute number of crimes and beneficiaries has gone up along with our population. Any statistics student would laugh at them.

    Tim Ellis:

    Several commentators on the Left are encouraging a scenario whereby the overhang is maximised (Progressive voters giving party votes to Labour, Maori Party giving party votes to Labour or Greens, goodness, I wonder who has made those calls recently?). What is the purpose of this? Oh, that’s right, it’s to improve the possibility that even if the Right get the majority of votes, the will of the majority can be suppressed through a strategic manipulation of the overhang.

    In terms of strategic voting, this is what people should do if they support multiple Left-leaning parties. Telling people how to vote strategically is a little different from endorsing strategic voting, (especially unproportional and potentially undemocratic strategies) especially as many of us consider electoral systems worthy of discussion on their own, and their vulnerabilities as an inherent pitfall to complement their advantages.

    I agree with you that overhung party electorate seats (eg. in this election, most likely some of the seats of the Progressive, Maori, and United Future parties) are undemocratic and would like to see their effect mitigated. Then again, I also think the threshold is undemocratic and that any Party should be in Parliament if it can win a list seat outright. (ie. the threshold should be determined by whether number of party votes >= (number of votes / number of list seats in parliament)) However, how is it possible to mitigate the effect of overhang seats without removing electorates? The only way being suggested by these right-leaning commentators is to scrap proportionality entirely, which makes the electoral system just as undemocratic with vote-wastage, third party spoilers, electorate gerrymandering, and other potential FPP disasters. Oh, and conveniently, this system has historically favoured their party, while the only winners from MMP have been minor parties and those who felt disenfranchised by FPP.

    If people hate the overhang so much, they should campaign for electorate seats to obey the threshold, too, along with a more sensible threshold that allows reasonable minority respresentation. Yes, *sigh* even Winston Peters, if voters still want him. Hell, I would join you. I want to see Peter Dunne outside of Parliament. I hate populists masquerading as centrists with the fury of a thousand suns.

    My conclusion that an effective majority based on an overhang which denied the parties representing the majority of the party votes from forming a government would be the “death knell’ of MMP was a political comment, rather than a constitutional one. Of course, constitutionally an overhang can exist and effective majorities can be formed based on it, and parties can collude to maximise the overhang.

    Were that the case, FPP would’ve been “dead” several times over before the 1990s. Don’t overestimate the impact of political outrage of the vocal. Ultimately it’s about publicity and momentum, not events that could potentially be mere “footnotes”. Some of those potential footnotes cause a revolution, others slip quietly by while a few impassioned commentators yell about them to anyone who will listen, and eventually historians or academics will regard them as interesting facts.

    Whether this is a footnote in our electoral history or the start of a revolution (and let’s not kid ourselves, even if it’s much easier these days, changing the electoral system is still a revolution in the deepest sense of the word) is entirely contingent on who and how many take(s) it as an impetus to act.

    Finally, you’re presuming that MMP as a whole would be the target. Why are you so intent on throwing out the baby along with the bathwater?

    My view is based, however, on an observation that there is a reasonable dissatisfaction with the MMP system at present (probably not 50%, but not far from it); that MMP was introduced in order to provide what its proponents claimed was greater “fairness’ that stemmed from several elections in which the party that received the plurality of the vote was unable to achieve a parliamentary majority, and that the exploitation of the overhang would undermine that advantage over FPP. I think that deliberate manipulation of the overhang, as some Left commentators have advocated, would further increase dissatisfaction with the MMP system.

    There is both dissatisfaction and support for MMP. I think it’s useless to try and quantify it without a poll, (and Lew has pointed out some of the more obvious difficulties in that approach) and even then, only a referendum really has any final or reasonably accurate or acceptably final say in the matter.

    By the by, I’m not even sure if there’s an entirely neutral and sufficiently clear way to word the “moral duty” question for a poll. Every way I can think of that makes it clear exactly what’s happening when we support the single largest party always forming government also draws attention to the disenfranchisement of third party voters.

    SP has put together a whole lot of straw-man arguments. I haven’t heard John Key say any along the lines of “the Right has the right to govern if it gets more votes than Labour’. His whole premise is flawed.

    This post is not about John Key. There is one- presumably flippant- use of his name in the entire text. This post is about whether the single largest party has a moral right to form a coalition government, as some on the right have started claiming since National pulled ahead of Labour, and since supporters of a Labour-led government pointed out National’s lack of secure coalition partners. It seems to me you’re the one (probably inadvertently) engaging in straw man arguments, as the point of this post applies regardless of whether John Key supported the largest party having first shot at government or not.

    Graeme Edgler:

    Not true. (The possibility of) Overhang is completely unrelated to the threshold.

    Many people give their electorate votes to politicians who overhang their party votes in order to get them into parliament. In that sense, some of the overhang is directly related to the threshold.

    The other, more significant source of overhang in MMP is “electorate parties” like the Maori Party. Do they disrupt proportionality? Yes. In principle I dislike that. However given the reality of significant Maori disenfranchisement, I think overall it’s actually better to leave the Maori seats intact, regardless of what we try and do to combat overhang.

  59. Lew 60

    Lynn: Thank you,

    Graeme: The threshold causes overhangs for behavioural reasons, not technical reasons. There’s an element of cognitive dissonance (thinking their party vote doesn’t matter, even though it does as soon as one MP wins an electorate), and an element of uncertainty (are other people voting for this party?) which increases regret (what if they don’t, and my vote is wasted?). The cognitive dissonance element may decrease as electors begin to understand MMP more (it can take a generation or so). Decreasing or removing the threshold will reduce the uncertainty and consequently the regret, and essentially free people up to cast their party vote for whatever party they want, secure in the knowledge it will count.

    Tim: SP has put together a whole lot of straw-man arguments. I haven’t heard John Key say any along the lines of “the Right has the right to govern if it gets more votes than Labour’. His whole premise is flawed.

    Key said: `strong presumption of a moral mandate’ this morning, so at worst Steve jumped the gun a little. See here.

    L

  60. Graeme Edgler:

    Not true. (The possibility of) Overhang is completely unrelated to the threshold.

    Many people give their electorate votes to politicians who overhang their party votes in order to get them into parliament. In that sense, some of the overhang is directly related to the threshold.

    Except that the same result happens with any threshold, or indeed no threshold. A party which uses its success in an electorate to get list seats doesn’t create an overhang.

  61. The threshold causes overhangs for behavioural reasons, not technical reasons.

    I can see the argument, but I’d note for starters that this has yet to happen. Overhang is caused by popular local MPs who win without bringing the party vote sufficiently with them. Yes, the threat of (say) Winston Peters not winning Tauranga may cause people not to vote NZF, and the threat of Jeannette Fitzsimons losing Corromandel may have caused people not to vote Green, but while this artificially diminishes their parties’ votes, it hasn’t yet (and, I’d suggest, is unlikely to) diminished any party’s support to below the approximately 0.7% needed for a seat.

    Peter Dunne or Jim Anderton may cause overhang this time ’round, but it won’t be caused by diminished voting out of fear that their parties aren’t going to win 5%.

  62. Lew 63

    Graeme: I’d note for starters that this has yet to happen.

    Well, all this talk of the overhang is more or less academic since there’s only ever been one overhang, of one seat. I’d argue that the 2005 overhang was caused by this very phenomenon, with traditional Labour voters being reluctant to switch their party vote to a Johnny-come-lately māori party due to uncertainty about their support base (but being somewhat prepared to cast electorate votes for the candidates in question).

    L

  63. dave 64

    Graeme, As you said the threshold has a bearing if people think a candidate will win a seat and subsequently doesnt but it also has a bearing if a Minor party candidate is unlikely to win a seat and subsequently does as fewer people would vote for that candidate’ party – but more would if they knew the chances of election were great thus ensuring proportionality is closer for that party, diminshing the overhang. So the 5% is a relevant factor in voting choices here, too, and wouldbe as a result of diminished voting out of fear that their parties aren’t going to win 5%

    Lew – I think people party vote the Maori party for different reasons than others.In 2008 people will party vote National because they`d like National in Govt (or as a protest vote). They vote Act because they want to see checks on a possible govt in case Rodney Hide doesn’t get in. They vote Green to increase the party vote as that will get more MPs in parliament. They vote Kiwi Party because they like christian values – but they vote Maori Party not because they want their vote to count, not because it will increase the number of MPs in Parliament, not because they want checks on Labour -it may go with National – but because they are Maori, or because they want to see Maori aspirations furthered and the party is the only party drawn from a Maori constituency that has those interests at heart and they consider that even though their vote is wasted, conviction is put before strategy.

  64. Lew 65

    dave: Interesting. The rational strategy in the short term (presuming it favours a Labour-led coalition in government) would be for the māori party to maximise the overhang by trading off party votes to Green, but that might endanger the party’s fortunes in the long term due to a backlash such as TIm warns about. But their not doing this makes sense in terms of Ari’s idea that the māori party are playing the long game, by reverting to a two-ticks campaign in order to mitigate that potential backlash if the overhang prevents a Nat party-vote majority NACTUF coalition from forming a government, and at the same time shoring up support for and increasing confidence in the māori party for the future – the prospect that their party vote might in future be worth more than the Māori electorates.

    L

  65. I’d argue that the 2005 overhang was caused by this very phenomenon, with traditional Labour voters being reluctant to switch their party vote to a Johnny-come-lately māori party due to uncertainty about their support base (but being somewhat prepared to cast electorate votes for the candidates in question).

    I’m prepared to concede that for the sake of argument.

    The conclusion that follows, of course, is that the overhang was unrelated to the threshold.

  66. NeillR 67

    This post is about whether the single largest party has a moral right to form a coalition government, as some on the right have started claiming since National pulled ahead of Labour,

    It’s not just “the right”. There have been two polls in the last couple of days which show that the overwhelming majority of people surveyed believe the same. Given that TVNZ’s poll showed 79% were in favour, it can hardly be seen as just some invention of “the right”.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 hour ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 hours ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    8 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    8 hours ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    10 hours ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 day ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 day ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 day ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    2 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    2 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    3 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    3 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    3 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    4 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    4 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    5 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    5 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    6 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago

  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago