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

  • New record number of homes consented
    In the year ended June 2021, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 44,299, up 18 percent from the June 2020 year. In June 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented rose 3.8 percent. In June 2021, 4,310 new dwellings were consented, an increase of 3.8 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Communities backed to tackle wilding pines
    Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week. “Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's rejection of ...
    I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement. Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation introduced to Parliament
    Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Introducing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, said the measures proposed were aimed at ending conversion practices which don’t work, are widely ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • New school site for booming West Auckland
    The Government will build on a new school site in West Auckland to cope with rapid population growth in the area, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry is working with existing local schools to determine how the 1.5-hectare site at 279 Hobsonville Point Road will be used to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at the launch of the National Hepatitis C Action Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you Anglesea Pharmacy and Te Manawa Taki for hosting this event. As a doctor, I saw first hand the impact of hepatitis C. I met Moana in 2019; she came to the infectious diseases outpatient clinic at Wellington Hospital having tested positive for hepatitis C. Like ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago