web analytics

Polity: Armstrong on Labour, turnout, MMP

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, July 15th, 2014 - 28 comments
Categories: electoral systems, First Past the Post, MMP, Politics - Tags: , , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

Over the weekend John Armstrong had a column about youth voter turnout in the upcoming election. Much of the material was familiar – young people don’t vote so much – nobody talks their language, yo! – parties are Trying Very Hard, but they are also old fuddy-duddies – and so on. But among that came this idea:

John Key’s overt pragmatism has exacerbated this trend. National’s lack of a strong ally on the centre-right has forced him to moderate National’s policy thrust. Labour’s desire not to be hostage to the Greens was reflected in Helen Clark similarly avoiding doing too much which risked angering centre-ground voters who kept her in power for nine years.

In short, MMP may bear some responsibility in depressing turnout. It cannot be blamed alone, however, for the abysmal turnout of younger voters.

I disagree, as Armstrong’s claim here runs directly-if-casually contrary to at least two large research programmes in political science.

First, proportional electoral system like MMP usually lead parties to be more widespread along the ideological scale, not bunch closer together (see Cox 1990). The incentives to bunch closer together are actually much stronger in an FPP-style system, because the large parties do not need to worry nearly as much about new parties encroaching from the extremes (see Downs 1957). So even if Armstrong is right that National and Labour are edging ever closer together:

  1. That is probably despite MMP rather than because of it
  2. That only has an impact on turnout if voters entirely ignore their other more ideologically strident options such as the Greens, ACT, or the Conservatives.

Second, there is a lot of evidence that proportional systems like MMP actually cause voter turnout to go up, not down (see Franklin 1996, Blais 2000). That is because in FPP-style systems, almost all votes are functionally wasted because they are cast in safe districts, whereas in MMP-like systems all votes are equally valuable, wherever they are cast.

Turnout in New Zealand has been dropping steadily for a long time, just as it has in other countries. This is a secular trend. Just because turnout has dropped since New Zealand adopted MMP, it does not follow that New Zealand turnout dropped because of  MMP. At the risk of descending into Sorkinisms,  post hoc ain’t no propter hoc.

28 comments on “Polity: Armstrong on Labour, turnout, MMP ”

  1. red blooded 1

    Well argued. Dropping turnout significantly predates MMP and was actually one of the arguments used in support of changing the system. I suspect that social and political disengagement is a much more complex issue than choice of voting system. The media, our schooling system, technological and inter generational issues all play their part, as does the feeling that NZ is connected in a globalised world and can’t really affect the big issues. Of course, these are all valid reasons for feeling disconnected but they are also all cop outs.

  2. Michael 2

    The reason people have stopped voting is because they are alienated from our political system. This is not an accident: the Right depends on a low turnout to maintain power. By blaming MMP, Armstrong demolishes a straw man and diverts focus from the the real issue – to the benefit of his corporate masters.

    • blue leopard 2.1

      +1 Michael

    • dave 2.2

      Truth be told, most of the voters who don’t turn out wouldn’t have a clue what a straw man is. Unless your talking about the scarecrow from the wizard of oz that is. But some good old fashion sledging rings all the right bells.

      Armstrongs full of shit. You know this, and I know this. But the trick is to convince him (Armstrong) that he’s full of shit. That’s the art of sledging right there.

      • Tracey 2.2.1

        You start by saying things like

        ” only a fool would think… (insert the opposite of what you want him to think)

        Old litigation trick for addressing juries.

        • dave 2.2.1.1

          Year but it’s on your mind, otherwise you wouldn’t be talking about it.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1.1

            ? You don’t have to be consciously knowledgeable of all the various techniques of PR, false argument and crooked logic in order to be affected by them.

  3. dave 3

    This election will be decided by voter turnout. That’s for sure. The percentage of constituents who are benefiting from this National government is slowly dwindling. And when you consider that they only got 34% of the possible voters last election, it’s pretty clear that their strategy is to put off left voting people from making the effort to get on down to the polls.

    It’s a pure psychological technique that they’re using IMO. Getting their media cronies to do their sledging for them so as to make it look like it’s the opinion of everyone that Labour and the left are a waste of time. This creates a general feeling of apathy and hopelessness for those who would benefit most out of a new left government.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when a government is decided by a sledging match, but that’s the world we’re living in. Win the sledging contest and we give hope to the disenchanted majority. Give a person hope and they’ll get out and vote.

  4. Tracey 4

    Armstrong is still employed at the Herald??????

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      He’s probably getting a Christmas bonus.

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        Armstrong is another argument for not raising the age of retirement.

        • blue leopard 4.1.1.1

          lolz

          • RedLogix 4.1.1.1.1

            Armstrong is a prime example of why no-one should be accredited to the Press Gallery for more than five years in anyone consecutive stretch and no more than a total of fifteen years in their career.

            It’s called institutional capture. And is why people just don’t believe this shit anymore.

            On a complete tangent it’s interesting to note that while the big metro papers are struggling – it’s the small provincial and urban rags who continue to do quite well. Especially here in Australia. Media that is locally owned and connected to it’s community and is still trusted will never die.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Armstrong is a prime example of why no-one should be accredited to the Press Gallery for more than five years in anyone consecutive stretch and no more than a total of fifteen years in their career.

              I’m thinking five years is far too long for one stretch. Make it three years on followed by a minimum two years off.

              • Tracey

                I have seen it with sport journalists. If they write stuff the national body of rugby or cricket dont like, they get threatened by getting press releases last and so forth. I suspect its the same in the gallery

        • dave 4.1.1.2

          There’s no like button.

    • bad12 4.2

      Tracey, rumor has it that this can only be proven by the use of a defibrillator,(sometimes on an hourly basis),

      It is also obvious that this should be used at full power at all times so as to De-Fib-rillate the prick on a regular basis…

  5. dave 5

    I blame the lower turnout from younger voters on them picking up the herald and reading John Armstrong talk about politics. I get board just thinking about him.

  6. deep throat 6

    well said.
    time for these horrible old bstrds to pack up their money and pick up their tent and take a hike offf to happy valley or wherever they sunk their their retirement funds.
    these people contribute absolutely nothing to the discourse whatsoever.

  7. Sable 7

    Maybe its got something to do with the fact that most politicians in this country are self serving disingenuous grifters propped up increasingly unconvincing MSM “marketing” campaigns ….

  8. tc 8

    A shill for team shonkey and a sad out of touch old one at that.

    Spoon fed the lines to run like trevitt and co just another beltway trougher.

  9. aerobubble 9

    If you feel ignored by Politicians and politics, and inclined not to vote think about this.

    If politicians and politics aren’t communicating and delivering, then you need to get their
    attention. And what gets their attention the most? Well getting voted for. So when
    the government fails you, doesn’t think about your needs, and actively introduces laws
    that harm you, makes your work condition worse, makes you pay for education,
    makes it harder to buy a home, start a family.

    Don’t get depressed, get even. Vote out the government, left or right. After a few
    elections of three term governments, the politicians won’t be ignoring you or the people
    any longer. Those long business lunches with their favored industries won’t look so
    good, and their appeals to how much harder you should work to pay for tax cuts for
    the wealthiest, well they will be a thing of the past. Taxes on the wealth were well
    over 70% in the past because politicians used to fear people llike you voting them out.

    So get out, vote, get even, get recompense, get angry, vote out the incumbent party.
    And when the other side gets in, do the same if they don’t deliver higher taxes on wealth,
    better conditions for employees, and the nonsense that says you should work the extra
    hour to maintain them and their lifestyle choices (many and varied compared to you).

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      let’s be realistic, you can vote politicians in or out, but the system appears to stay pretty much the same, just with different talking heads up top.

      And the only way that will change is not with voting them out yet again, it is by the creation of active mass movements placing pressure on governments to do the right thing, whether it is an election year or not.

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        You need a revolution if you want fast change but look at parties like the greens and how their presence has altered behaviours of labour and national over the couple of decades.

        There will be no mass movements in a nation where people believe they are lucky cos they are not india, lucky to have any job, believe if they work harder they will get more money, will you?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Trade Minister heads to CPTPP Commission Meeting
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor will travel to Singapore this week for the Sixth Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission Meeting. “Continuing to build on our export growth is a key part of the Government’s economic plan. Our two way trade with the CPTPP bloc accounts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Strong Government books leave New Zealand well placed amid global challenges
      Deficit half of forecast at $9.7 billion; Deficits as a percentage of GDP running better than during GFC Net debt at 17.2 percent of GDP lower than Australia, UK, US and Canada. Core expenses $2.8 billion lower than forecast. Increased expenditure during year due to COVID-related expenses through unprecedented ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Ministers outline next phase of Milford Opportunities Project
    The Milford Opportunities Project is entering its next phase following a productive visit to Piopiotahi to hear directly from tourism operators, iwi and the unit undertaking feasibility planning, says Conservation Minister Poto Williams. In June 2021 Cabinet approved $15 million to fund the next stage of the Milford Opportunities Project, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Digital tools to make family violence support widely available
    Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan has officially launched a suite of new digital tools to support people affected by family violence. “Family violence is a scourge on our society and violent behaviour of any kind is absolutely unacceptable. We are taking the important steps to modernise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Plan for big boost in GP training numbers
    More support is being given to New Zealand medical graduates training to be GPs, as the Government continues its push to get more doctors into communities. “Growing the number of GPs is vital so we can fill today’s gaps and make sure we’ve got the doctors we need in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 142,000 Kiwis helped by Healthy Homes Initiative
    Hospitalisations reduced by 19.8 percent School attendance increased by 3 percent Employment increased by 4 percent 100,000 interventions delivered, including insulation, heaters, curtains and repairs Nationwide rollout expected to be complete by the end of the year More than 31,000 children, pregnant people and 111,000 of their family members are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Defence departs for Middle East
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare has today departed for the Middle East where he will visit New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed within the region, including in Operation Gallant Phoenix in Jordan and the Multinational Force and Observers mission on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. The Minister will also undertake ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government funds work to clean up six contaminated sites
    The Government has announced funding to clean up six contaminated sites to reduce the risk to public health and protect the environment.    “These six projects will help protect the public from health risks associated with hazardous materials, so New Zealanders can live in a cleaner, safer environment.” Environment Minister David Parker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government partners with industry to reduce agricultural emissions
    New Zealand’s effort to reduce agricultural emissions has taken a step forward with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Government with agribusiness leaders, in a joint venture as part of the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced. The Ministry for Primary Industries signed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Vosa Vakaviti sustains generations of Fijians
    The enduring strength and sustainability of Vosa Vakaviti is being celebrated by the Fijian community in Aotearoa New Zealand during Macawa ni Vosa Vakaviti – Fijian Language Week, which gets underway today. “This year’s theme, ‘Me vakabulabulataki, vakamareqeti, ka vakaqaqacotaki na vosa Vakaviti’, which translates as ‘Nurture, Preserve and Sustain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns Russia’s annexation attempts
    New Zealand condemns unequivocally Russia’s attempts to illegally annex Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. “We do not recognise these illegal attempts to change Ukraine’s borders or territorial sovereignty,” Jacinda Ardern said. “Russia’s sham referenda in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are illegitimate, and have no legal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government provides confidence to those seeking an adventure
    With our borders opened and tourists returning, those seeking out adventurous activities can do so more safely due to the steps we’ve taken to improve the health and safety regulatory regime for adventure activities, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood has announced.  “We are seeing international visitor numbers begin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New hospital opens for Wellington children
    A new children’s hospital that officially opened in Wellington this morning offers the region’s children top-quality health care in one place, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Te Wao Nui has been built with a $53 million contribution from benefactors Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood, with the Government contributing another $53 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More single-use plastics banned from tomorrow
    Single-use plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers and most plastic meat trays are among single use plastics banned from sale or manufacture from tomorrow. “This is the first group of the most problematic plastic products to be banned in a progressive phase out over the next three years,” Environment Minister David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to NZDF Command and Staff College
    It’s a pleasure to join you today – and I extend a particular welcome to Marty Donoghue (a member of the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control) and Athena Li-Watts (interning with me this week) who are also joining me today. On the face of it, some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Milestone of half a million mental health sessions delivered
    The Government’s flagship primary mental health and addiction programme Access and Choice has hit the milestone of delivering more than 500,000 sessions to New Zealanders needing mental health support. Health Minister Andrew Little made the announcement at ADL – Thrive Pae Ora in Cromwell which provides mental wellbeing support services ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government continues to future-proof arts, culture and heritage sector
    The Government has announced further support for the recovery and resilience of the arts, culture and heritage sector as part of its COVID Recovery Programme’s Innovation Fund. “We’re continuing to secure the recovery of our arts, culture and heritage in Aotearoa New Zealand by supporting transformational initiatives across the motu,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government steps up kauri protection
    The Government is delivering on an election commitment to protect kauri in our northern forests through the new National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) for the forest giant and the allocation of $32 million of funding to back the coordinated effort, Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor and Associate Environment Minister (Biodiversity) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Russia’s Ukraine referenda a sham
    Aotearoa New Zealand does not recognise the results of the sham referenda in Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says.  “These so-called referenda were not free or fair, and they very clearly were not held in accordance with democratic principles,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “Instead, they were hastily organised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt invests in New Zealand’s wine future
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has officially opened New Zealand Wine Centre–Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa in Blenheim today, saying that investments like these give us cause for optimism for the future. Funding of $3.79 million for the Marlborough Research Centre to build a national wine centre was announced in 2020, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Appointment of Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Colonel Craig Ruane, Commander Robyn Loversidge, and James Wilding KC as Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court. The Court Martial Appeal Court is a senior court of record established under the Court Martial Appeals Act 1953. It is summoned by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government strengthens measures to combat migrant worker exploitation
    Offence and penalty regime significantly strengthened New infringement offences for non-compliance Public register of individuals and businesses that are found guilty of migrant exploitation New community-led pilot to educate migrants workers and employers of employment rights Implemented reporting tools successfully brings exploitation out of the shadows Take-up of protective visa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Livestock exports by sea to cease
    The passing of a Bill today to end the export of livestock by sea will protect New Zealand’s reputation for world-leading animal welfare standards, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said. “The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill future-proofs our economic security amid increasing consumer scrutiny across the board on production practices," Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Extra measures to increase census turnout in 2023
    3500 census workers on the ground, twice as many as last census More forms to be delivered – 44% compared to 3% in 2018 Prioritisation of Māori and other groups and regions with lower response rates in 2018 Major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Shining the light on screen workers
    Improved working conditions for workers in the screen industry is now a reality with the Screen Industry Workers Bill passing its third reading today, announced Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood. “It’s fantastic to see the Screen Industry Workers Bill progress through Parliament. The new Act will strengthen protections ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mental health resources for young people and schools launched
    Associate Minister of Education (School Operations) Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis have today launched two new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of mental health education in schools and kura. “Students who are happy and healthy learn better. These resources ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress continues on future-proofing Auckland’s transport infrastructure
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the latest progress on Auckland’s two most transformational transport projects in a generation – Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections. Auckland Light Rail and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have named preferred bidders to move each project to their next phase, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports local innovation in homelessness prevention
    Ten successful applicants in round two of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund (LIPF) Close to $6 million allocated as part of the Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) Māori, Pasefika and rangatahi a strong focus Round three opening later this year with up to $6.8 million available. Government is stepping up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More medicines for New Zealanders, thanks to Govt’s Budget boost
    Health Minister Andrew Little is welcoming news that two more important medicines are set to be funded, thanks to the Government’s big boost to the country’s medicines budget. “Since coming into Government in 2017, the Labour Government has increased Pharmac’s funding by 43 per cent, including a $71 million boost ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents
    The Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill passes Third Reading – the first amendment to ACC legislation of its kind From 1 October 2022, new ACC cover to benefit approximately 28,000 birthing parents Additional maternal birth injuries added alongside new review provision to ensure cover remains comprehensive Greater clarity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further cuts for East Coast tarakihi limits to rebuild numbers faster
    Commercial catch limits for East Coast tarakihi will be reduced further to help the stock rebuild faster. “Tarakihi is a popular fish, and this has led to declining levels over time. Many adjustments have been made and the stock is recovering. I have decided on further commercial catch reductions of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Ambassador to Colombia announced
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of diplomat Nicci Stilwell as the next Ambassador to Colombia. “Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with Colombia is fast growing with strong links across education, climate change and indigenous co-operation,” Nanaia Mahuta said.  “Trade is a key part of our relationship with Colombia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 3000 more RSE workers to ease workforce pressures
    The Government continues to respond to global workforce shortages by announcing the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), providing 3000 additional places, Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have announced. The new RSE cap will allow access to 19,000 workers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Sanctions on more of the Russian political elite
    Further sanctions are being imposed on members of President Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Governments ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. “Ukraine has been clear that the most important action we can take to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Principal Youth Court Judge appointed
    Judge Ida Malosi, District Court Judge of Wellington, has been appointed as the new Principal Youth Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Born and raised in Southland, Judge Malosi graduated from Victoria University of Wellington and spent her legal career in South Auckland.  She was a founding partner of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visitor arrivals highest since pandemic began
    Overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 in July, for the first time since the borders closed in March 2020 Strong ski season lifts arrivals to Queenstown to at least 90% of the same period in 2019 Australia holiday recovery has continued to trend upwards New Zealand’s tourism recovery is on its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Language provides hope for Tuvalu
    Climate change continues to present a major risk for the island nation of Tuvalu, which means sustaining te gana Tuvalu, both on home soil and in New Zealand Aotearoa, has never been more important, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said. The Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust and wider Tuvalu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister Sio to attend Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to the Philippines this weekend to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors in Manila. “The ADB Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to engage with other ADB member countries, including those ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • United Nations General Assembly National Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā kua huihui mai nei i tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa, mai i tōku Whenua o Aotearoa Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, ka Rongo to pō ka rongo te ao Nō reira, tēnā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New strategy unifies all-of-Government approach to help Pacific languages thrive
    A united approach across all-of-Government underpins the new Pacific Language Strategy, announced by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio at Parliament today. “The cornerstone of our Pacific cultures, identities and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand are our Pacific languages. They are at the heart of our wellbeing,” Aupito ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago