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Roy Morgan poll

Written By: - Date published: 2:49 pm, October 24th, 2008 - 86 comments
Categories: polls - Tags:

And the polls keep coming. Today’s Roy Morgan poll has Labour down 5.5% and National up slightly, while the Greens rise to an astonishing 11.5% – that’s 15 MPs. NZ First drops just below the threshold to 4.5%.

Under this scenario an LPG+M arrangement is possible, but only just, with 61 seats out of 121 between them.

And Roger Douglas would be back in Parliament.

86 comments on “Roy Morgan poll ”

  1. LOL!!!!!

    Yeepers the polls are crazy, you cant have that big of a spike, with no major news story accounting for it.

  2. the sprout 2

    i’d be surprised if the Maori party’s Party Vote holds up like that. And the more it drops, assuming Maori Party does well in the electorates, the greater the overhang. 61 won’t get a majority in the House.

  3. insider 3

    yikes on both Labour’s drop and teh Green’s rise.

    I did wonder if the announcement on the Green’s going with Labour would gain them support from soft Labour voters who previously might have been concerned about wasted votes if the Greens cuddled up to National

  4. Sarah 4

    That is such a fucking stupid poll.

  5. insider 5

    Time to look at what loons are on the Green list if they do get 11.5%

  6. randal 6

    sarah…sorry. boo hoo hoo. close the door on the way out!

  7. outofbed 7

    I like it

  8. Tane 8

    Have to agree, I don’t put too much stock in this poll. A jump like that just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    I like the big green slice too oob, though it would mean Mike Ward back in Parliament.

  9. Sarah 9

    Randal. If you’re happy with Labour on 32%, then you should go and shoot yourself in the foot.

    This poll is such a rogue.

  10. Ben R 10

    Why are the Greens doing so well? Granted, they have much better billboards this time around.

  11. NeillR 11

    TBH, anyone who thinks that the MP will side with a minority party (Labour) to form a government while ignoring the major party (National) is seriously kidding themselves.
    The Maori Party know that in doing so they would consign the Maori seats (and themselves) to the political scrapheap. Whether you like it or not, if these results stood then the MP will almost certainly abstain (or go into coalition) allowing National to govern.

  12. gobsmacked 12

    Hang on. The last Morgan one was a “rogue poll” according to the commenters on here from the right.

    So is that two rogue polls? Or this one is true, the last one wasn’t. Or the last one was fine after all?

    Never mind, the polling period ended a few days ago. And since then things have been going much better for National … er …

  13. Tane 13

    BenR, I think it might just be the Roy Morgan poll, for some reason they tend to have the Greens all over the place. Quentin Duthie shouldn’t be getting too excited yet.

  14. randal 14

    polls schmolls.
    the post modern generation is getting a taste of uncertainty and they dont like it. WE know what is going to happen and you wont like it!

  15. Dom 15

    Interesting, had me searching down the Green list. How many MPs would this mean?

  16. DS 16

    >>>TBH, anyone who thinks that the MP will side with a minority party (Labour) to form a government while ignoring the major party (National) is seriously kidding themselves.<<<

    For the 56,578,569,886th time: there is no rule requiring the largest single party to be the government (see, for instance, Sweden, where the largest single party, the Social Democrats, are out of power, because their opponents had better combined numbers). It’s not about Labour vs National, but Labour and Friends vs National and Friends.

    As for the Maori Party, their leadership knows that they would get lynched by their supporters for backing a National Government. An abstention agreement I could see, but nothing more than that.

  17. vidiot 17

    The RM polls seem to oscillate a lot, if you compare the mid month to mid month polls, they track the same. If you compare the end of month to end of moth polls, they track the same. But if you read it logically, mid month, end of month, mid month, end of month – it’s yo-yo time.

  18. outofbed 18

    “Time to look at what loons are on the Green list if they do get 11.5%”
    well actually there are no loons on the list
    We have a very strong team with some amazing people

    Tale Kenny Graham for example
    Google him you will be impressed

    Talking about loons have you ever met National’s Chris Auchinvole
    God that man is a prick

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    Does anybody personally know people that:

    – have been late in making up their minds,

    -usually vote Labour,

    -can’t stand NZF or United,

    – would rather see Labour in a LPG coalition,

    -and winnie and dunne out in the cold harsh winds of the cross benches?

    I know a few. They are all voting green this time out for the first time.

  20. NeillR 20

    DS, i understand that only too well, but you also have to realise that Sweden (and Germany) have a long history of proportional representation, whereas it’s relatively new here.
    Make no mistake – the clamour to remove the Maori seats will rise to a crescendo if the MP go down that path. Personally, i don’t think they’re that stupid.

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    Talking about loons have you ever met National’s Chris Auchinvole

    or Terry Heffernan?

  22. Sarah 22

    I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be V day for national soon enough.

    The worst out of the last three polls for national was TV3’s last night. And that still had National ahead of Labour by a considerable margin.

    As for the Maori Party, I don’t want them to get into government on either side. I can take the greens in government, for they at least have some strong policies, but the Maori Party in government actually scares me.

  23. outofbed 23

    or Nick smith ?

  24. Ms M 24

    Funnily enough confidence the Government is heading in the right direction is up.

  25. Dom 25

    Surely the Maori Party will go the way their members dictate – they will consult and move forward that way. To do otherwise would betray their membership (NZF in 1996 being a good example of that). So far their members prefer Labour (at least that’s what a poll of them said).

    They SHOULD go the way that is the best for them – bugger which party gets more votes – the MP have every right to choose a path that gives their members the best deal. And more power to them if they are king or queen makers…

  26. yl 26

    It is funny hearing a comment like that from Sarah,

    it suggests that she doesnt understand MMP.

    All three of these polls show a trend towards a left wing government. These polls are not good for a national supporter.

  27. The Nats were always going to move up on the previous Roy Morgan. 40.5% was too low, but its good to see that it has stayed at just 43%.

    This poll, along with the previous Roy Morgan, and the previous two Tv3 polls give a Labour-led govt. despite the wishes of Sarah, Richard Long, and the Herald editorial, the odds on a fourth term are improving by the day.

    It is a concern that there is such a difference between polls though. It could suggest a lot of volatility or methodological problems for certain polls (cough Colmar Brunton cough) but the trend is clear – National down, Greens up. Good news.

  28. insider 28

    Yes I have met Chris Unspellable – he was ok as junior opposition people go.

    I think a number of those middle class Green mums might start to baulk at “Gareth is a vegetarian… Before that he worked for Greenpeace … and has been involved in activism for many years, including being arrested dressed as Ronald McDonald, climb buildings and unfurling a protest banner in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.”

    “Catherine describes herself as an “activist, feminist, mother, gardener, writer, teacher, mediator, advocate – and stand-up comic.” A political activist since her teens, she has worked for change in the areas of social justice, Te Tiriti and environmental issues. She has a history of challenging corporate polluters…”

    And this is just what they say about themselves…

  29. yl 29

    It is clear that JOKey is worried about the polls as he is trying to scare votes with a ‘5 headed monster’

    Looks to me like a sign of desperation.


    Bring on a Labour led government

    Captcha $768 operation (a sign of costs to come if National make it in?)

  30. Tim Ellis 30

    Gobsmacked said:

    Hang on. The last Morgan one was a “rogue poll’ according to the commenters on here from the right.

    So is that two rogue polls? Or this one is true, the last one wasn’t. Or the last one was fine after all?

    Gobsmacked, if you factor all the polling data into a weighted average, of the kind that 08wire uses, which is based on the very robust fivethirtyeight.com methodology, then really no poll is a rogue poll.

    This is an interesting result, which I think just proves again the point I’ve been making consistently that the polls will bounce around considerably between now and the election between polls, for no apparent reason. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are lots of shifts between the political parties; it’s just that individual polls become much less reliable on their own. A time-weighted, rolling poll average, including all of the poll data, does give a clear picture of where the parties are likely to be at. Sadly, of all the “polls of polls” that get published, the only very robust one appears to be at 08wire.

    I’ve done a bit of work to record all of the polling data over the last year, with all the published polls, using the fivethirtyeight.com methodology.

    There does appear to be consistent differences for various parties supports between different polls. As 08wire points out today, there are two camps with respect to Labour and National: Fairfax, the Herald, and Colmar Brunton consistently have the National Party’s support at around 51% on a weighted poll average basis, and the Labour Party at around 35%. In the other camp, Morgan and TV3 have National on about 45% on a weighted poll average basis, and Labour on 35%. Morgan consistently has Labour at a couple of points below the weighted averages.

    With respect to the minor parties, all of the polls with the exception of Morgan are largely consistent. The Greens are tracking at about 6.5% excluding Morgan, yet Morgan has the Greens tracking more than two points higher. Morgan is also inconsistent with the other polls vis-a-vis NZFirst’s support, consistently tracking NZ First at 1.5% higher than any of the other polls. Of all the published polls in the last year, Morgan is the only pollster to record NZ First’s support above 5%, and that’s only happened five times all year.

    Maori and United are broadly similarly represented by all pollsters, with the Maori Party at around 2.7%. Act’s result is consistently at 1.5% across all polls, again with the one exception of Morgan, which has Act’s support 1% higher than any of the other polls.

    I’m not suggesting that Morgan is right or wrong, but its results are inconsistent with all the others in several respects. As I say that doesn’t matter in a weighted average where the inconsistencies between polls cancel each other out.

  31. Ben R 31

    Insider, the list gets more interesting as you get past the first 15 or so. I didn’t realise Rawiri Paratene, from Whale Rider & Playschool many years ago, was on their list.

  32. Sarah 32

    SP, do you actually have any real proof that there are methodological problems for the Colmar Brunton poll? Or is this again one of those times where baseless claims are made by you according to dodgy anecdotal evidence?

    The trend is not clear whatsoever. TV3 has undoubtedly demonstrated that the chances of a fourth term labour government are good. But the Herald Digipoll, the Colmar Brunton Poll, the Fairfax Poll, and this particular Roy Moran Poll say otherwise.

    Last nights TV3 poll actually showed no real decrease for the National bloc at all, which is good considering the period of polling was during the beginning of the campaign where labour got out of the blocks well. I remember only a few weeks ago that you as well as Tane were claiming that National would be hurt considerably by the whole Tax Cut-Kiwisaver Cut fiasco. But it hasn’t happened.

  33. Lampie 33

    Come my little hydra

  34. Sarah. Remember the polls we are seeing are for data collected 1-2 weeks ago and that it takes time for political events to flow through into voting intentions.

    Also, look at the pie chart for this graph LPG+M is the logical arrangement on these numbers. In fact, it’s not as close as it looks because Tane assumes the Maori Party would get 4, when they’ll probably get 7.

    Colmar Brunton is regarded as the least accurate polling company in New Zealand, they’ve earned that reputation over the years, particularly at the last election, when they managed to have the Nat-Lab gap 6 points out and the wrong way round in their final poll.

    Both the latest CB and Herald have National dropping.

    You’ve got to stop looking at the Nat vs Lab numbers and look at the blocs – the trend over the last 2-3 months is for the Left bloc to rise – it got down to 33-35%, now it’s 44-46% and growing, and that’s not counting the Maori Party who will obviously go with Labour.

  35. insider 35


    The nats can do better – they have Jacqui ‘Playschool’ Dean and Lockwood ‘W3’ Smith

  36. bradluen 36

    Tim, you probably know this, but for those who don’t: you can only be sure that (correctly done) weighted averages remove sampling error. In general, you can only *hope* that they’ll remove non-sampling error. If you have a very good idea of the accuracy of individual polls, like 538 does, then you can have something stronger than hope, but we don’t have enough data in NZ for that kind of precision.

    The best argument for polls-of-polls is that they worked pretty well in 2005, but 2005 didn’t so obviously display the systematic differences we’re seeing this time.

  37. Sarah 37

    I don’t think that it does take time for political events to flow through into voting intentions. If an individual is discouraged to vote for a particular group because of a political scandal, then it would be straight away, when the scandal is at its peak and the media is reporting on it substantially. That’s when most people would formulate their own view on it.

    It doesn’t make sense to suggest that the change in voting would come later — for at a later time the particular scandal would not be most likely forgotten.

    This poll does show a fourth term labour government, but I doubt that it is completely accurate. If you look at the rolling average, from all polls, National is achieving a much higher percentage than in this poll.

    As for the trends, the left bloc has indeed increased their vote. But that was inevitable. However what is important is that both blocs have now stablisied, which is good news for National.

  38. Tim Ellis 38

    Colmar Brunton is regarded as the least accurate polling company in New Zealand, they’ve earned that reputation over the years

    It might be regarded by you as the least accurate polling company, SP. That’s a matter of opinion. I’m open-minded about all polls, including Roy Morgan. You have a tendency to cherry-pick the poll results you like, and disregard any poll that doesn’t suit your interpretation of the facts.

    particularly at the last election, when they managed to have the Nat-Lab gap 6 points out and the wrong way round in their final poll.

    The Herald poll had Labour leading National by 3.5% in the week before the election, and Labour leading National by 7 points the day before the election. 3 News had Labour leading National by 9 points 10 days before the election, and National leading Labour by 2 points a week before that. Colmar Brunton had National trailing Labour by 3 points three weeks before the election.

    This says to me that all of the polls–Colmar Brunton, Fairfax, the Herald, Morgan and TV3 are very bouncy. This is why they have margins for error.

    Take a single Morgan poll: the current one has a 3.6% margin for error. This means that it is 95% probable that National’s support is somewhere between 39.4% and 46.6%. Labour’s support is 95% likely to fall between 29% and 35%. Neither of those results are inconsistent with Morgan’s last poll. It is quite possible that neither National’s, nor Labour’s support, have changed since the last poll.

    Both the latest CB and Herald have National dropping.

    No they don’t SP. Both the CB and Herald have National peaking in June-July, but their support on a weighted average within the Herald and CB datasets at over 51% and within that range since. Labour’s support in both those poll sets has broadly been around the 36% range.

    You’ve got to stop looking at the Nat vs Lab numbers and look at the blocs – the trend over the last 2-3 months is for the Left bloc to rise – it got down to 33-35%, now it’s 44-46% and growing, and that’s not counting the Maori Party who will obviously go with Labour.

    No it hasn’t, SP. On a weighted poll average, the LPGNZF vote has risen slowly from 41.5% in July (its lowest point) to 44.9%. On a weighted average it has never been as low as 33-35%. The NACTUF vote has decreased from 55% to 51% in the same period. The close has not accelerated in the last three weeks.

  39. Matthew Pilott 39

    NeillR, I’m going to do something unprecedented here, and agree with you. If a great number of people vote for the Greens over Labour, and Labour drops too low, the Maori Party will find it very hard to work with Labour – they’ll have lost the moral authority, even as a lesser minority, to govern. Sure, overall, more than 50% of people voted for a centre-left government. But with the left fragmented in a new MMP system the MP will find it nigh on impossible to work with the left based upon such a result.

    If the Greens keep taking Labour’s votes, National only look more likely to govern with Maori abstention.

  40. Pat 40

    Matthew – nail hit on the head.

    Even Sharples comments said this the other day – it would make it easier for the MP if Labour get the majority of the votes come election day. Clearly, from every poll, they will not.

  41. Tim Ellis 41

    Matthew said:

    If a great number of people vote for the Greens over Labour, and Labour drops too low, the Maori Party will find it very hard to work with Labour – they’ll have lost the moral authority, even as a lesser minority, to govern. Sure, overall, more than 50% of people voted for a centre-left government.

    I think that’s very insightful analysis, Matthew. On pretty much every poll, the Left can only govern with Maori Party support, and even then, pretty much only if NZ First passes the threshhold. The more power that the Greens have within the governing group, the more demands they will think they’re entitled to, and the harder it will be for Labour to accommodate centre-parties like the Maori Party and NZ First.

    There is another potential risk for the Left if the Greens get too powerful before the election: that centrist, soft Labour voters alarmed at the prospect of the Greens having significantly more power, drift across to National.

    National has the same problems, of course, with Act becoming too powerful. It scares the living sh*t out of many centrist voters currently supporting National. Roger Douglas may well be the darling of Act Party gatherings, but he’s held in pretty low regard by a big proportion of the population. The difference is that the Act Party has failed to get any real momentum this election, and the prospects of the Act Party wielding much power in a government with just two seats, is very remote. If the Greens had 15 seats against Labour’s 40, however, it would be a very different story for the Left.

  42. Pixie 42

    Updating my comments on an earlier posting (re the Herald poll), here’s a summary of how stats in the three polls have changed since each previous poll:

    National TV3: +0.1; Herald: -1.0; Roy Morgan: +2.5
    Labour TV3: -1.6; Herald: +1.3; RM: -5.5
    Greens TV3: +2.0; Herald: +0.5; RM: +2.5
    NZF TV3: +1.8; Herald: -0.7; RM: +0.5
    Act TV3: -0.1; Herald: +0.2; RM: N/C
    Maori TV3: -0.2; Herald: +0.5; RM: +0.5
    United TV3: +0.1; Herald: +0.2; RM: -0.5
    Progressives: TV3: NC; Herald: +0.3; RM: -0.5
    Other: TV3: -1.1; Herald: -1.2; RM: +0.5

    Gap between Labour and National
    TV3: 7.7 (+1.7); Herald: 13.4 (-2.3); RM: 11 (+8.0)
    Gap between National/Act/UF & Labour/Greens/Prog
    TV3: 0.6 (-0.4); Herald: 9.1 (-2.8); RM: 3.0 (+5.5)

    So, only common trend to come out of all three polls in last couple of days is a steady increase for the Greens.

  43. outofbed 43

    Morgan Green+ Lab 43.5% nat act 46.5%
    Herald Green+ Lab 42.4% nat act 51.6%
    TV3 Green+ Lab 46.2% nat act 46.8%



  44. Pixie 44

    If you took 0.5% from the Greens and gave it to NZ First, the results would be very interesting indeed…

  45. toad 45

    Matthew Pilott said: If the Greens keep taking Labour’s votes, National only look more likely to govern with Maori abstention.

    Matthew, you are forgetting policy considerations and just considering “the game”. The Greens and the Maori Party have voted the same way on legislation and have a greater policy synergy than either of them have with either National or Labour. Together they could form a very strong bloc to force Labour to agree to entrenching the Maori seats and even getting a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act on the table again.

    If the Greens and the Maori Party can get between them 16 or 17 seats, which seems a reasonable possibility given at least the Morgan/TV3 poll scenario, that could be a real possibility. I can’t imagine National would ahve a bar of entrenching the Maori seats, and the Green will not support National in forming a Government anyway.

    So it is not all that simple. I think that wavering voters moving from Labour to the Greens actually strengthens the bargaining position of both the Greens and the Maori Party, given that Maori Party voters have little affnity with National and supporting a National-led Government, even through abstention, could be very dangerous politically for the Maori Party..

  46. toad 46

    outofbed said:
    Morgan Green+ Lab 43.5% nat act 46.5%
    Herald Green+ Lab 42.4% nat act 51.6%
    TV3 Green+ Lab 46.2% nat act 46.8%

    And that was before we got the Second Stanza of the Lockwood and Maurice Show this week.

    Things could be very close and very interesting.

  47. Carol 47

    Academic Jo Atkinson was on Nat Rad Panel this arvo:


    at about 20 minutes into it. He talked about some of the difficulties with polling. Part of it is that no company tells all of their methodology, probably to cover up any inadequacies in their techniques. He said that the Herald Digipoll had shrunk the numbers of participants recently to save money. So the sample is a bit too small, especially when it comes to the small parties.

    He said that Roy Morgan has a much bigger sample so should be more accurate, but it also tacks it’s political questions onto some marketing stuff, and asks a lot of other questions. This could influence the responses, and may account for the way the stats fluctuate from poll to poll. Though I see the sample size was quite a bit smaller for the latest Roy Morgan poll (about 743, while the last poll was about 923), and I thought Atkinson said the Herald digi poll was too small with a sample size of about 750. hmmm. The Sept & Aug sample sizes were around 820-840. Does this have to do with don’t knows?

    Atkinson also said that most of the polls don’t change more than the margin of error (I think about 4 points in the Roy Morgan poll), but that the news media likes to make it sound like there are changes, when none really happen.

    Furthermore he said the fluctuations in polling may have to do with strategic voting and people changing their minds about this as the election gets closer.

  48. Carol 48

    I just checked the sample sizes for the last Herald & TV3 polls. Herald digipoll was 750 people. TV3 was 1000 (therefore a bigger sample and likely to be more accurate than the Roy Morgan poll of Herald digipoll – though the TV3 one is not a lot bigger IMO). I note also that the TV3 one used mixed random and quota sampling – ie selecting from a random generation of phone numbers to get a representative cross section of age, sex and geography. Are there other criteria they should have included?

    TV 3 info accessed from here:


  49. NeillR 49

    If a great number of people vote for the Greens over Labour, and Labour drops too low, the Maori Party will find it very hard to work with Labour – they’ll have lost the moral authority, even as a lesser minority, to govern
    At what point do you consider Labour to be “too low”? My personal opinion is that if National outpolls Labour, then they (Labour) have lost the moral authority to govern.

    Should that occur then National is in the prime position to begin coalition talks – if they can’t do a deal then it falls to Labour (as second largest) to try. What i find interesting is that everyone assumes that a deal can be done between Lab/Green/Prog/Maori – i’m not so sure. And i’m not even so sure that anyone would want to put that deal together.

    I don’t believe it will be in the best interests of the country to do a deal like that. Frankly, if the TV3 poll was reflected on election night, the best thing that could emerge would be a Nat minority governing with a conditional C&S agreement with Labour. This would be a huge shock to many (Labour supporters in particular), but it is the only sane way to get through the current economic crisis. Unfortunately, i don’t think that Helen Clark would be up to such a deal, so it would remain to be seen if she stepped aside to allow it to go ahead.

  50. gobsmacked 50


    A Nat-Lab coalition should not be ruled out, if parliament was genuinely “hung”.

    But obviously Clark would be PM. Nobody could seriously suggest Key is better qualified for the job, if you put them on the same team.

    (Mind you, I’m 99% certain the Grand Coalition won’t happen – our political culture is not like Germany)

  51. Carol 51

    I don’t think “moral authority” comes into it. Under FPP, most lefties would probably give their votes to Labour. In MMP we have more choices. If there were enough seats between Labour and Greens to put them close to the Nats, I think they could try to form a coalition. Labour & The Greens have both already signalled they would try to negotiate this.

    In practice, if it were that close between left & right blocks, then I think both Nats & Labour would set about trying to negotiate a coalition at the same time. The MP might well be the kingmaker, and they might chose to talk first to the Nats if they thought the Nats had the mandate. But if they couldn’t get the deal they wanted, and thought the Nats wouldn’t achieve the desires of the MP voters, they might try to do a deal with Labour.

    That’s MMP. People vote for each of the parties mostly knowing what the preferences of each party are. It’s not the same as FPP. I think it’s more fruitful to think in terms of voting blocks rather than outright party winners.

  52. DS 52

    >>>At what point do you consider Labour to be “too low’? My personal opinion is that if National outpolls Labour, then they (Labour) have lost the moral authority to govern. <<<

    Say we had the (unlikely) scenario of National 45 percent, Labour 30 percent, Greens 25 percent. Suggesting that the Greens should have a moral obligation to back the Nats under that situation would be ludicrous: if 55 percent of NZers want a Labour/Green Government, they should not be lumbered with a National Government just because conservatives threw their votes behind one party, rather than two. Under MMP a group of parties has just as much moral legitimacy as a single party. This FPP-style “the Nats have a moral right to govern because they’re the largest single party” argument is just a hangover from a bygone era, and one that I find exceptionally annoying.

  53. randal 53

    My personal opinion is that Labour is fit to govern solely on track record.
    Key and his coterie of grey suited adventurers want to have a little ‘go’ at running the new zealand economy.

  54. the sprout 54

    nicely put randal.

  55. Spectator 55

    “unfurling a protest banner in Tiananmen Square, Beijing”

    Good on him for doing so. If only some National or Labour MPs had sufficient courage to stand up for what is right in such a manner.

  56. NeillR 56

    This FPP-style “the Nats have a moral right to govern because they’re the largest single party’ argument is just a hangover from a bygone era, and one that I find exceptionally annoying.
    It seems that you are showing an FPP mentality – i never said that National would have a “moral right to govern”, but that Labour would have lost theirs by virtue of the fact that another party (in this case National) would have out-polled them.
    It is only natural that the largest party is given the first option to form a government – it’s happened in every MMP election that we’ve had so far and in each case the major party has been able to form a government.
    I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be the case this time and as i’ve stated before, it is the most natural course of events as it means the least number of parties would have to be involved (cf: Nat/NZF in 1996).

  57. the sprout 57

    “it’s only natural” = WARNING: Fallacy approaching.

  58. Carol 58

    It’s not about who gets the most votes/seats, but which party or group of parties can represent the majority of voters. If National only receives 45% of the votes,/seats they can’t claim to represent the majority of voters. The Greens have already said that the Nats won’t be able to represent Green’s voters, while Labour may be able to provide more of what Green voters want.

    If a 45%-of -the-seats Nat government can’t do a deal that will provide what 50% of the voters want, they can’t claim the authority to run the country. ie if The Maori Party has the balance of power, they might talk to National first. But ultimately the MP will do a deal with the party/parties that they think can deliver most of what their voters want.

    So basically it may be that Labour provides more of what the majority of voters want, if National falls short of a 50% majority – much fairer than an FPP system where getting 45% of the vote means you can govern, even if it means that the majority of voters (55%) don’t want you AT ALL.

  59. Lew 59

    NeillR: Anyone can attempt to form a government. There’s no first dibs for the party with the most members; except inasmuch as they are probably most likely (all else being equal) to form a government. The Cabinet Manual, which sets out the rules for these things, is quite explicit that the Governor-General has no input in the process whatsoever, except to abide by whatever decision the parliament reaches. (see http://cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/6.36 ). Conventionally, it’s happened that that the party with most seats approaches the G-G and announces that they believe they have enough votes to govern; but if that party cannot muster sufficient votes, nothing prevents any other party or group of parties from doing so. They needn’t wait until the leading party declared it cannot. If a week out from the election the Labour, Green, Progressive and māori parties declare that, if they have enough votes to govern they will form a coalition, and it turns out that they do after the vote is counted, the G-G is bound to accept that without anyone else getting a look in. Not that anyone else would succeed anyhow.

    Carol: It’s also important to note that a coalition can, under MMP, still form a government (50% of seats + 1) even having received fewer than 50% of the party votes. This is rare, but possible, and it could happen in this case because of the overhang caused by the māori party, who might win seven seats and only garner 2% of the party vote.

    Regardless of some abstract idea of moral authority, it’s still a legitimate government, as were National’s governments in the 1998s and 90s when they received less popular vote than the Labour-aligned bloc, but won more electorates. We don’t use `moral authority’ to decide who governs; we use an electoral system.


  60. NeillR 60

    You can’t have it both ways. If Labour gets 36% of the votes then that means that 63% of voters don’t want them. Even an NCEA graduate can see that’s not a mandate. There are probably just as many Greens and Maori Party supporters who don’t want a Labour government than do.
    Sure, they are probably prepared to stomach it because the alternative is National et al, but that’s not the point. The point is what is going to create a stable government – and it’s not Labour/Greens/Maori/JAPP.

    In fact, what’s more likely is that the “right” faction within Labour will threaten to cross the floor if Clark doesn’t do a deal with National. That would see a National minority government, with Clark “stepping aside” as leader – with the country’s best wishes and a recommendation for a UN role.

    Once we have our first MMP grand coaltion, we will see the system operating as it was intended. But it won’t occur while we have leaders who rant “over my dead body”.

  61. Lew 61

    NeillR: “If Labour gets 36% of the votes then that means that 63% of voters don’t want them.”

    No. You don’t vote against parties – you vote for one. Just because you only get one party vote does not mean you have explicitly stated you don’t want all the parties for whom you didn’t vote. If Labour gets 36%, that means means 64% (fixed your failed-NCEA maths, there) of people want someone else more than Labour but might be prepared to accept Labour in coalition with their party of choice. If (as may be the case) those electing the remaining seats to make a majority is made up of people who voted Green, māori, Progressive or whatever, then that is a mandate.

    I recognise that grand coalitions can occur under MMP more easily than under FPP, but not this campaign. There’s too much blood on the floor for that. And your speculation about a `right’ faction within Labour crossing the floor is as ridiculous as the suggestion that John Key might approach Winston Peters if he needs a spare vote come November 9.


  62. matt 62

    pretty scary really – are there really that many people lacking a functional moral compass that labour can poll 32%?? it beggars belief that over 10% support the Greens – a group of politicians who have argued for minimising the ability of police officers to defend themselves, pretty disgusting really. what is wrong with these people???

    as for that pensioners leaflet rort – labour should be forced to pay for that from their own pockets.

    fact is good people don’t vote labour

  63. Pascal's bookie 63

    I think grand coalitions are more likely to occur when the two ‘main’ parties have a smaller share of the vote than they do in NZ at present. The left wing of Labour and the right wing of National are not compatible at present. National will need to dump the KBR.

  64. NeillR 64

    Lew, i suggest you read Carol’s comment for context.

    My bad on the maths. I suppose i’ll get a “must try harder” sometime soon? 😉

    The grand coalition can’t go ahead with Clark as leader, though Key has been able to broker a number of deals – s59 amendment being the most prominent. For my mind, his most sensible first move (assuming National gains more seats than Labour), would be to offer the grand coalition – if it’s turned down and Labour form a government with the Greens/Progs and Maori it gives National the moral high ground if it falls over.

    As for the “ridiculous suggestion” – can you explain why Phil Goff was the only Labour MP who put “Labour MP for …” on his “information kit”? All the rest (apart from Lesley Soper) ensured that there were no references to the Labour Party. The right has been down for a long time within Labour – what easier way to purge the stranglehold of the left than to whisk their majority straight out from under their feet? The old saying about “the enemy of my enemy” has never held more true than within Labour.

  65. Pascal's bookie 65

    “a group of politicians who have argued for minimising the ability of police officers to defend themselves,”

    cite? I think you mean that they have argued against giving the state more power to use force against it’s citizens.

  66. gobsmacked 66

    “fact is good people don’t vote labour”

    Hey, it’s Sarah Palin! Thanks for dropping by, Governor. Love your work!

  67. Jared 68

    So what qualifies an opposition government to run the country? do they all need to attend university so they can be accredited? Or after 9 years is it impossible for another party to run the country. Luckily we live in a democracy where the choice of government is largely influenced by the will of the people through MMP, not by who extremists think are qualified (or unqualified) to run the country.

  68. T-Rex 69

    Matt. Hillarious.

    Now you’re really reaching.

  69. Speaking of Wikipedia has anyone notice John Key’s middle name has been amended? Maybe someone with an account and the know how could look up and see if the amendment originates from a parliamentary ip address.

  70. Carol 71

    NeilR, Labour & The Greens are close enough in the main things they agree on, that they could be considered as representing a possible 36% + 10% = 46%. Pretty much equal to Nats, if they got about 45% of the vote.

    The real test is if a coalition can be agreed with parties that represent the majority of the seats, so that they will be able to get their policies/bills passed in parliament. It’s possible that Nats with 45% could make such an agreement with the MP.

    But if the MP decided to go with the Nats, only on the basis of the Nats having the (dubious idea of) “moral authority”, it’s possible that coalition would only last 2 minutes before another general election was called. The government has to be able to get a majority vote in parliament for most of the things they propose, otherwise they’d be a lame-duck government. If the MP was very strongly opposed to some Nats Bills, they could say that they will no longer support the Nats on confidence and supply. The government would fall – an election would be called.

    OTOH, Clark (leading with a minority of Labour party seats) has shown she is very capable of negotiating successfully with several parties. Consequently it’s possible that she plus the Greens, could negotiate with the MP to ensure that the proposed Bills are passed, and that none of the coalition partners become so unhappy that they withdraw confidence and supply.

    When the government is formed in the first place, they have to have a sufficiently strong coalition agreement to look like they will survive the parliamentary term.

    Actually, for me a very good outcome would be a shaky coalition between the MP & Nats. The government would probably fall very quickly. In the subsequent election Labour (with proably a new look, new Leader) would then be likely to win the most votes.

    So I say, if the MP want to go with the Nats because of the (dodgy) “moral authority” argument, then go to it.

  71. Felix 72


    Is matt taking part in your project yet?

    pretty scary really – are there really that many people lacking a functional moral compass that labour can poll 32%?? it beggars belief that over 10% support the Greens – a group of politicians who have argued for minimising the ability of police officers to defend themselves, pretty disgusting really. what is wrong with these people???

    as for that pensioners leaflet rort – labour should be forced to pay for that from their own pockets.

    fact is good people don’t vote labour

    [lprent: No but from that sample it looks like a good candidate]

  72. Lew 73

    NeillR: “can you explain why Phil Goff was the only Labour MP who put “Labour MP for ‘ on his “information kit’?”

    Occam’s razor. I’m not buying this wild and wooly KBR conspiracy that he’s locked in a grim battle for dominance with David Cunliffe, and further that he would purposefully sabotage his party’s fortunes in order to gain an advantage. Since when was looking incompetent and losing an election a good career move? just look at the last person who fits that description – he’s back to tending his kiwifruit orchard.

    Honestly, pull the other one.


  73. Single Malt Social Democrat 74

    The seat distributions from this poll don’t recognise the number of electorate seats the Maori Party will win. They will likely take 6 or 7 of the seats, leaving a larger overhang, and a higher chance of a centre-left govt.

    I doubt Labour will come in this low, my pick would be somewhere very close to 40 per cent. i also think National will be close to 45 percent, but will struggle to find enough coalition partners. I think National themselves are coming to a similar conclusion, hence the scare-mongering from John Key, and the ever-increasing bile levels on Kiwiblog.

  74. the sprout 75

    what Single Malt said

  75. NeillR 76

    Carol, i’m not sure if you’ve caught up with this one: Can a party that “loses” a general election form a government acceptable to New Zealanders?, but there’s a clear majority who think that a government formed by a minority party wouldn’t be legitimate.

    But when they were asked whether New Zealanders would see a party that finished second as the rightful government, the verdict was clearcut. Sixty per cent said the country would not, 20 said it would, and 20 were unsure.

    Like i said, you may not agree with it, but a majority of the country would be outraged at the idea that a lower polling party would be able to enjoy “the baubles of office”. The backlash would be more than it’s worth.

  76. gobsmacked 77


    Sixty percent would be in favour of capital punishment too, in an opinion poll. Fortunately, instant opinion does not make laws. We have a debate first.

    “Finishing second” is nonsense, as a moment’s thought would make clear.

    If National get 36% and ACT 15%, we won’t get a Labour government, even if Labour get 37%. I won’t like the result, but it’s totally democratic, and I’m not going to fake outrage and stir up a backlash just because I can’t count.

  77. oob 78

    Some people have short memories I can remember Brash trying to stitch together a coalition last election didn’t here much screaming from the Herald and the KBR then
    you may remember labour was the biggest party

    Obviously the Bastards are worried

  78. Lew 79

    NeillR: 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 above, “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.


  79. RedLogix 80


    What you are touching on is a scary level of ignorance in the wider population about how government really works, and in particular how MMP works.

    I remember thinking about years ago is how, for all their faults, the USA does actively teach the subject of Civics in its schools. I’m not sure if that by itself is the whole solution, but it has to be better than the default ‘know nothing’ position on politics many New Zealanders seem to take a perverse pride in holding.

    If a decently informed group of people had been in that Herald focus group they would have likely, as you did, rejected the question put to them as meaningless. Instead as a nation we are largely the ill-informed pawns of disinformation and misdirection.

  80. oob 81

    if key didn’t keep ruling out coalition partners maybe the nats would have a chance
    Hes ruled out Winnie
    He’s ruled out Act with Douglas
    I mean fuck lets let you govern on 45%

  81. Lew 82

    RL: Yes, I think I’ve said before that if I were Minister of Education, civics from Plato to the present day would be taught in every high school. But that wouldn’t change the tendency (and just as evident among the supposedly politically aware and active types in this and other fora) that ignorance is a virtue.


  82. Single Malt Social Democrat 83

    This “poll” the Herald is quoting is a load of nonsense. it is based on just 100 responses (they don’t even say how many people didnt respond), and the response is obviously prompted. This is really of very little interest.

    Having said that, i think there would be some perception of a lack of mandate if National’s lead was over about ten per cent. i dont think it would be a problem if the margin of 45-40, but if it is 48-35, then i think we might have a problem. Note i view that as a problem of perception, rather than reality.

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