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Polity: Turnout in the referendum

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, December 16th, 2013 - 72 comments
Categories: democratic participation, Maori Issues, Maori seats, pasifika, referendum - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnRob Salmond at Polity has had a look at the effectiveness of National’s deliberate strategy to discriminate against Maori and Pasifika in the asset sales referendum.

National chose a postal ballot for the referendum knowing it would disproportionately disenfranchise Maori and Pasifika communities. I hope they’re proud of themselves.

Here is a chart of turnout rates in the asset sales referendum, graphed against the National vote in the 2011 election:

asset sales turnout

What stands out? Well, first of all it contradicts the complete nonsense various people have been spreading about the turnout being just a bunch of lefties1 and also Matthew Hooten’s misinformation about turnout being pretty even around the country.

But more importantly we also see a deepening of the disturbing trend where heavily Maori and Pacific electorates have less of a voice than other areas. These communities have always had lower turnout than the rest of the country, but that trend was even more pronounced in the referendum. In the 2011 election the ten highlighted electorates turned out at about five-sixths the rate of the entire country. In this referendum, their turnout rate fell to only two thirds the nationwide average.

The dirty secret here is that National knew in advance this would happen, and that is exactly why they chose the postal ballot. Study after study has shown that postal ballots cause a wider turnout gap between the haves and the have nots.2 This is because people in low income communities (and especially low income ethnic minority communities) are:

  • Less likely to stay at one address for a long time, so less likely to receive their ballot paper.
  • Less likely to live somewhere NZ Post delivers to, so less likely to receive any mail at all.
  • Less likely to use the post office in any other part of their lives.
  • And so on.

National chose the postal ballot knowing all this full well. They wanted to make it comparatively harder – even harder than normal – for Labour’s strongest supporters in disadvantaged areas to cast their ballot’s than for National’s strong support bases in white-as-snow retirement communities.

It worked, of course. Yuck.

1.Even when you exclude the ten highlighted electorates, there, is still no relationship between National support and turnout rates. Even bearing in mind the limits of ecological inference, this pattern is highly inconsistent with the right-leaning spin.

2.An excellent example, from New Zealand-connected researchers Jeff Karp and Susan Banducci, shows that postal voting in Oregon causes increased turnout, but only really among high-turnout communities, thus expanding the turnout gap between the haves and the have nots.

72 comments on “Polity: Turnout in the referendum”

  1. Arfamo 1

    There’s a poll on stuff.co asking what support there is for the assets to be bought back. The numbers at the moment look like this:

    Should Labour buy back shares in state assets if elected?

    Yes, they should do whatever they can to get them back
    148 votes, 11.9%

    Yes – but only if it’s affordable
    328 votes, 26.3%

    No – not needed, we retained a controlling stake
    685 votes, 54.9%

    No, we should have sold all of our shares in them
    87 votes, 7.0%

    I’ve given up on polls debates. The only one that’s important to me now is the next general election.

  2. Thomas 2

    This is silly. CIRs are normally postal ballots (unless they coincide with a general election).
    The reason is simple: postal ballots are much cheaper than having in-person voting. $9 million is expensive enough.

    • lprent 2.1

      That may be the case. However the objective with voting is not to attempt to deny voters from voting – right?

      In this case it’d have been preferable to have had this referendum at the next general election. But for some obscure reason National chose to expend more money, even though they’d already sold most of the viable assets, to have a postal election away from the general election.

      I wonder why? Possibly because they damn well knew that the asset sales program was deeply unpopular amongst their own voters? And more Labour, Green, Maori and Pasifika voters would vote in a general election.

      Deeply undemocratic. Such a pity that National will probably lose a lot of provincial NZ over this “mandate” that they didn’t have. 😈

      • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1

        But by the next election, even the Genesis deal would have been done. I really don’t think there was anything sinister in the decision to go for a postal ballot rather than a polling booth ballot. I did some analysis on this. See post below.

        • Paul 2.1.1.1

          Why did you claim voting was equal across electorates when it clearly was not?

          • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.1.1

            I thought it was a bit narrower than this, but it’s all between about 30 and 50%, with the high 40s most dominant. The one good point Rob’s graph points out is that either Maori electorate and South Auckland voters tend not to vote as regularly as other voters, or that the electoral rolls in those electorates are less accurate than elsewhere.

        • greywarbler 2.1.1.2

          But Key is saying that so much has already happened with the asset sales already, there have been sales, plural, so now or at election time, would be little different.

          If it was supposed to be such a waste of money why have it now? Could it be that Shonkey had a little taunting song worked out, a childish sneering one about the Greens being dreebs, and forcing expensive, meaningless referendum on the public?

          In other words putting the referendum through now was a propaganda ploy that Key would turn to his advantage whatever the it indicated.

          • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.2.1

            I don’t think that delaying a CIR for more than a year, even if that were lawful, would be more democratic than holding it soon after the petition was accepted and before the final sale had gone ahead.

            • greywarbler 2.1.1.2.1.1

              That’s a good point – does anyone know offhand whether it would have been lawful to
              delay the referendum until election time? Is there a time limit?

            • lprent 2.1.1.2.1.2

              I don’t think that delaying a CIR for more than a year, even if that were lawful,

              Just requires 75% of parliament to vote for it. That only required National to want to do it.

              National preferred holding it in a postal vote in December immediately after selling large chunks of two more assets to their mates.

              It has been interesting seeing how much that decision about when the referendum has been help has been pissing off family and friends out of the urban areas. They’re irritated.

            • Puddleglum 2.1.1.2.1.3

              I think it’s clear that National did not want the asset sales issue to have any official oxygen in an election year – hence rushing it through just before Christmas.

              On the broader issue of the post, polls consistently have shown that Maori are more opposed to asset sales than any other part of the electorate. Low turnout in those electorates compared with Pakeha dominated electorates reduces the proportion likely to be opposed to asset sales (and it’s not ‘MOM’, it’s ‘asset sales’ – shares have always been classed as assets in their own right),

          • lurgee 2.1.1.2.2

            Crikey, people demanded a referendum and now they are complaining about it being held!

            I really find being a leftie dispiriting at times.

        • Tracey 2.1.1.3

          I agree that waiting til the election would have been even more invalidating because all the jewels would be gone to the pawn broker by then.

      • Thomas 2.1.2

        The CIR act stipulates that the referendum must be held within a year. Ergo holding it at the next general election would not have been possible. See http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/about-parliament/get-involved/referendum/summary/00CLOOC_ReferendumProposals_1/citizens-initiated-referenda

        • lprent 2.1.2.1

          Ah no you silly clown. You should read your own references

          The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75% of all members of the House vote to defer it.

          Labour, Greens, NZ First, Mana, and I think even the Maori party were all happy to have it at the next election and even put up a remit for that. The 12 months was only a few months out from the next general election.

          National wasn’t interested in that. ergo National are responsible for having the postal vote for the referendum costing $9 million held at the very end of the year. Just designed to limit the types of people who’d vote..

          Pity it pissed off so many people in provincial NZ eh!

          • Thomas 2.1.2.1.1

            Oh good grief. That’s an entrenchment clause not a “or like whatever” clause.

            Your argument is really “well National could have amended the CIR act”. There is no good reason to overturn entrenched legislation to hold the CIR at the next election.

            Besides, I’m sure that, if National had moved the referendum to the next election, the Standard would be attacking them for delaying it and disregarding the rules of the CIR act.

            This is a conspiracy theory of the most ridiculous nature.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Wow dude is everything a “conspiracy theory” nowadays? Seems like you’ve just hit peak conspiracy theory.

      • Wayne 2.1.3

        You are being ridiculous about postal voting. Not really an evil right wing conspiracy. Unless you think all local elections are such.

        Actually postal voting was first introduced to increase participation, not reduce it.

        • lprent 2.1.3.1

          Actually postal voting was first introduced to increase participation, not reduce it.

          It may have even done that when snail mail was popular. However I don’t think that it has succeeded for many years. At least for the last two decades it has been failing to achieve its goals at an accelerating rate.

          I didn’t do it at this years Auckland local body elections, but I have been working the intermediates at every other Auckland local body postal vote since 1995. What has been most noticeable is that the percentages in each 5 years age bracket who have voted has been steadily drifting downward. It remains high in the oldest brackets, but voters in 25-29 age bracket was down by a third since about 1995 in 2010 The other younger (ie <45) age brackets all show the same effect. Moreover it is doing it with at least double the acceleration of the general election votes.

          Living in an apartment block is quite interesting. We two moved back into my apartment in september after 3 years of renting it. But we got got about 7 voting forms at the local body elections, 6 for the referendum, and I was only able to forward 2. We only had two sets of tenants while we were in a larger place.

          Who uses snail mail any more? I haven’t for at least 6 years. But about the only mail I get is from the city council and the electoral commission.

          Basically postal voting works in the provincial areas and even in some settled urban areas. But the local body results and the referendum show that it has become essentially useless in urban areas. In those areas the voting is nearly twice as effective using polling stations for people who are < 35.

  3. Ad 3

    Look, conspiracy is daft.

    But the graph strongly supports Cunliffe’s tactical direction of focussing the general election effort on mobilising the 800,000 Enrolled Non-Vote.

    The south of Auckland won it for Labour last time, and this time the Maori Party is going to fold like origami, so concentrating effort on mobilising effort there will reap rich electoral rewards.

    • Matthew Hooton 3.1

      That’s true from Labour’s perspective if you believe that the integrity of the electoral rolls is the same in all electorates but there are reasons not to believe that.

      • Yeah, let’s get into that whole voter fraud morass because Hooton says so, even though individuals fake-enrolling has never been demonstrated to be a problem in any developed country. Whoops.

        Labour could do well focusing there, and on voters who haven’t enrolled but would like something to vote for.

      • rhinocrates 3.1.2

        So apparently the massive opposition to asset sales is do to huuuge voter fraud. That’s a serious allegation Hoots – would care to substantiate it and better still, take your damning evidence to the Electoral Commission or is it more desperate spin and insinuation from a slimeball? Oh, let me guess, the latter…

        • lurgee 3.1.2.1

          It’s a ‘Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander’ situation. The arguments put forward against a postal ballot also apply to a polling statino ballot, and also impugn the electoral roll.

          Nice to see you passing up another opportunity to hurl abuse and tilt at strawmen. Oh, wait a minute. You managed both, in about 30 words. Well done!

  4. DS 4

    By this same logic, in person voting is discriminatory because that also requires a properly registered address. Alleging conspiracy is utterly daft, and I’m hardly pro-Tory.

  5. DS 5

    And for what it’s worth, the likes of Dunedin South achieved solid turnout, and was very anti-asset sales too. If it was a conspiracy, it was an incompetent conspiracy.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Dunedin South actually remains a very strong and politically active Labour supporting seat as evidenced by the referendum results. Just needs to get over a few constraints.

      • swordfish 5.1.1

        True enough, CV. But there has certainly been a significant swing to the Right in the seat over recent elections (well above the nationwide average, from memory). The hefty size of the Lab-to-Nat swings in the far south-west of Dunedin in particular (Green Island, Burnside, Concord and, above all, Abbotsford) have been something to behold. I do de-Clare !

  6. Matthew Hooton 6

    Rob Salmond is obviously angry about the result. The allegation that the government made a decision to use a postal ballot instead of making people go to the polling booth is absurd. Turnout in South Auckland and the Maori electorates is always lower than the average under either system.

    For example, in the 1995 firefighters referendum, where everyone had to go to the polling booths, turnout in the Maori electorates was between 11% and 16%, by far the lowest in the country, which had an average of 27%. The turnout in Mangere was below 20%. In Manukau East it was 21% and in Manurewa 23%. See http://electionresults.govt.nz/1995_citizens_referenda/7.1%20Return%20of%20Citizens%20Initiated%20Referendum%20Poll%20Votes.pdf

    However, in 2009, with the smacking referendum, a postal ballot, the turnout in the Maori electorates was in the 30s, compared with a national average of 56%. See http://electionresults.govt.nz/2009_citizens_referendum/2009_referendum_results.html

    This means that in the previous two CIRs conducted outside a general election, the percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland, compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model (roughly 50% to 60%).

    In other words, the actual data suggests Maori and South Aucklanders tend to have higher representation in postal ballots than in polling booth ballots.

    Which means that, if Rob Salmond is right that National choose a postal ballot for the MON referendum in order to disenfranchise Maori and South Aucklanders, then that was the wrong strategy for National. Which seems improbable given John Key is quite an astute politician. (In fact, had it been a polling booth ballot the turn out would probably have been much lower so National could have rubbished the result even more than they have.)

    Which suggests that Rob Salmond’s post is a load of shit.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.1

      “then that was the wrong strategy for National. Which seems improbable given John Key is quite an astute politician. “

      lolz …I think you draw the wrong conclusion here, given that everything this government touches falls to bits, they seem to specialize in taking the wrong strategy – their hallmark, if you will.

      Or is getting away with messing up the entire country in numerous areas what being ‘quite an astute politician’ means these days?

    • QoT 6.2

      Rob Salmond is obviously angry about the result.

      Ah yes, undermine people by implying they’re emotional about something. And this from the dude who screamed “HE’S LYING! HE’S LYING!” on Radio NZ?

      • Paul 6.2.1

        Honestly Hooton is quite pathetic.
        He pretends to debate rationally but same as many others on this site, reverts to insults and tricks like the one you noticed to attempt to weaken the other person’s viewpoint.
        If you haven’t got an argument, I guess you have to use dishonest tricks.

        • rhinocrates 6.2.1.1

          His advantage is that he gets paid to do it. I wish I had a gig like that.

          Hoots is quite funny though – he’s incredibly pompous, but push him and you can seem him barely restraining the tantrums that he so often throws on Nine to Noon.

    • swordfish 6.3

      @ Young Master Hooton – “This means that in the previous two CIRs conducted outside a general election, the percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland, compared with overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model (roughly 50% to 60%). In other words, the actual data suggests Maori and South Aucklanders tend to have higher representation in postal ballots than in polling booth ballots.”

      Utterly wrong on South Auckland, Big Fella.

      1995 (Polling Booth) Referendum on Firefighters.

      South Auckland Seat turnout as % of Nationwide turnout…

      Mangere 73%, Manukau East 78%, Manurewa 86%

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      2009 (Postal Ballot) Referendum on Smacking

      South Auckland Seat turnout as % of Nationwide turnout…

      Mangere 68%, Manukau East 72%, Manurewa 79%

      So, the data suggests the opposite to what you imply, you amusingly disingenuous young scamp. (Which is probably, incidently, why you very carefully left out the 2009 Referendum figures for South Auckland – hoping no one would notice your little bit of intellectual sleight-of-hand).

      • lurgee 6.3.1

        I think you are trying to fudge the figures by expressing them as percentages of the nationwide turnout.

        Viewed simply as percentages of voters participating by electorate, the figures tell a very different story.

        In the 1995 referendum (Polling booth) 19.3% of the electors of Mangere voted, 21.08% of the people of Manukau East voted, and 23.21 of the good burghers of Manurewa voted.

        (Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_firefighter_referendum,_1995)

        In the 2008 Smacking referendum (postal), in Mangere 38.49% of the electorate voted, in Manukau East it was 40.47 and in Manurewa 44.25.

        (Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_corporal_punishment_referendum,_2009#By_electorate)

        I’d say that was pretty decisive in favour of postal ballots.

        • swordfish 6.3.1.1

          Nah, I was responding to Hooton – who, of course, was the one who focussed on comparing percentage turnout in the Maori seats and South Auckland with percentage turnout Nationwide. Do please try to keep up.

          • lurgee 6.3.1.1.1

            It’s a fair cop.

            But he is rightish in that participation almost doubled with the postal ballot. Dunno why he opted for some spurious and made up measurement concerning the national vote, when the path to victory was open in front of him.

            • lurgee 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Actually, re-reading the exchange, I was right – you’re aren’t playing fair with the numbers.

              Hooton is quite clearly looking at participation across several electorates (Maori seats plus Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East) while you focused on one (Manukau East) so I don’t think you’re making a fair comparison.

              Manuakau East might have experienced a slump in participation from 1995 to 2009, but the participation across the selected electorates would have been up overall (unless Matthew is simply Making Stuff Up – I can’t be bothered wonking the figures). And expressing participation as a percentage of the national participation is still odd, but only made up a small part of his post, which you focused on exclusively – and selectively.

              • swordfish

                Nyet, Comrade, Nyet !!!

                I think you’re gonna have to re-read both my and Hooton’s comments again.

                Let’s go through your points one by one:

                (1) Turnout as % of nationwide turnout “only made up a small part of (Hooton’s) post, which you focussed on exclusively – and selectively.”

                No way. Hooton predicates his ENTIRE argument on this methodology.

                To purportedly prove that Rob’s allegation is “absurd”, Hooton begins (para one) by suggesting that “turnout in South Auckland and the Maori electorates is always lower than the average under either system.” And (para two) provides 1995 Referendum figures for these seats to partially back that claim up. But, his core aim in para two is to compare Maori/South Auckland turnout with Nationwide turnout. He then goes on to do the same for the 2009 Referendum in para three. (albeit, as I’ve shown (in my earlier comment), very carefully “forgetting” to mention the inconvenient South Auckland figures).

                That leads to his conclusion in para four that “percentage turnout in the Maori electorates and South Auckland compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the postal ballot than in the polling booth model.” His “roughly 50% to 60%” figures (mistaken as they, in fact, are) represents Hooton’s attempt to compare the 1995 with 2009 Maori/South Auckland turnout as % of nationwide turnout percentages.

                Para five re-states this conclusion.

                Paras six and seven build on that conclusion.

                So, it forms the entire basis of his argument.

                (more to follow)…….

              • swordfish

                (2) Hooton’s looking at participation across Maori seats and Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East, “while you focussed on one (Manukau East) so I don’t think you’re making a fair comparison.”

                First up, the whole point of my reply to Hooton was to challenge his argument SPECIFICALLY regarding his claims about the South Auckland seat turnout (hence my: “Utterly wrong on South Auckland, Big Fella”). I would have thought it was fairly bleeding obvious that I wasn’t challenging the claims about Maori turnout (or, at least, not his broad claims – some of his specifics were off).

                Second, I can’t even begin to understand why you would claim that I focussed only on Manukau East !!! Quite bizarre. Have another look at my comment. What do I do there ?: show that Hooton is completely wrong to suggest that “the percentage turnout in…South Auckland, compared with the overall turnout, was HIGHER in the (2009) postal ballot than in the (1995) polling booth model.”

                I show that, in fact, turnout in Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East (Please note: NOT just the latter seat !!!), was – as % of overall turnout – higher in 1995 than 2009. (Mangere 73% (1995) / 68% (2009); Manurewa 86% (1995) / 79% (2009); Manukau East 78% (1995) / 72% (2009)).

                (Possibly more to follow – but only if I have time)

                • lurgee

                  Second, I can’t even begin to understand why you would claim that I focussed only on Manukau East !!!

                  Obviously, when I said, Manakau East, I meant all the non-Maori electorates.

                  *Embarrassed face*

                  Still, my under-caffeinated blundering aside, by pointing to the three non-Maori electorates, while Hooton was basing his figures on them plus Maori electorates, you are comparing apples with wildebeest.

                  I may review the whole discussion and respond to your other points later on, before proclaiming myself correct again.

    • [Cross-posted comment from Polity]@Matthew: Welcome along. I agree that the Maori / Pacific communities almost always have lower turnout. The question is always: “how much lower?”

      The comparison you have of the 1995 firefighters CIR and the 2009 anti-smacking CIR is flawed. You cannot directly compare the two referenda because the questions are of vastly different relevance in the Maori / Pacific communities. Cultural practice arguments around family discipline have particular salience for these communities in a way that arguments about how much to pay firefighters do not.

      The evidence on my side of the argument, however, is put together by social scientists specifically to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples. *Their* pretty consistent conclusion is that the postal ballot further disadvantages already marginalised communities. Consult the Karp / Banducci paper on Oregon for an especially good example, and a good discussion of how this effect comes about.

      I’ll take the scientific evidence over two compromised observations any time.

      PS – I also endorse what Swordfish says above. If you’re going to make with the data, do it properly, huh.

    • Gotta love attempting to “normalise” the postal ballot with the general election- have you considered that rather than there being a higher proportional turnout in the postal referendum, that potentially as an electorate becomes disenfranchised, it becomes harder to suppress the vote for each additional point? Diminishing returns isn’t a hard concept to grasp.

      That said, I do disagree that this was a tactic to disenfranchise people too. That would imply that the Government actually cares about referendum results. No, they ran a postal ballot because attaching the referendum to the election would have hurt their election results.

    • Tracey 6.6

      And if you had done your analysis before shooting from the lip, you would have known that it wasn’t all fairly even as you said, so that means, by your logic, your post was full of shit.

      So now you and Rob have crappy nappies. How clever you must feel.

    • Crunchtime 6.7

      1995 was a long time ago when the internet was barely used by anyone, a cellphone was for a tiny minority of rich folks (and the size of a large brick) and everyone still sent letters to each other. Also, that CIR barely registered on the public consciousness and turnout was just flat-out low across the board.

      Also, you’re desperately looking for trends here but you have a tiny sample size. Put that tiny sample size away Hooton, nobody wants to see that.

      • lprent 6.7.1

        You also forgot that the net was clunky and largely restricted to a few enthusiastic vaguely crazy people like myself.

        http://downtothewire.co.nz/1995/

        That was the year that I finally dropped my 6 year connection of getting e-mail and usenet on uucp running over some expensive ISDN lines. I also stopped going to BBS’es.

        Unfortunately the year that microsoft released internet explorer version 1. What a pile of junk that was (and remained). I really wish I hadn’t remembered that. I was still writing code for the switches at Clear.

        • Crunchtime 6.7.1.1

          I thought I covered that off with “the internet was barely used by anyone”. 🙂

          John Key and his strategists lined this all up so that they could say the turnout was “too low to matter”.

          However, the point missed by Mr Hooton AND by the original author of this article is this: nearly 900,000 people voted no to asset sales. In the last general election, where of course turnout is far higher because it’s a general election, just over a million voted for National. Those numbers are pretty damn close.

          In other words, if the turnout was too low to matter in this CIR, it was pretty much too low to matter last election too.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    discussion may get heated further-on.

    • Matthew Hooton 7.1

      Why’s that?

      • Rogue Trooper 7.1.1

        you have taken the time to submit a more comprehensive (than usual ) alternative analysis? Anyway, I’ve got to go in from play now. See ya tomorrow (school holidays).

        ps. regardless, the referendum results are far from a suave look.

        • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1

          I was just interested to see what the real data showed, so I looked it up. Internet age and all. Doesn’t take long.

          • Paul 7.1.1.1.1

            You’re spinning Matthew. Who’s paying you to spend so much time trying to diffuse all this bad news for the government?

            • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1.1.1

              John Key pays me through Crosby Texter for every word I write here. (Or I could just be sitting here at work, bored, waiting for a 7pm conference call with a foreign client on something unrelated to NZ politics, surfing the blogs to fill in time. You choose which is more likely.)

          • Tracey 7.1.1.1.2

            you were interested in the real data after you made your fairly even comment, why not before? It seems you, like many from all sides of the political spectrum are interested in facts when they support your view and like making them up when they don’t. How does that serve the electorate?

  8. Ian 8

    you guys are just miffed cos KFC doesn’t travel through the post ,that well. You should have used vouchers.

    [lprent: Stupid troll – read the policy and pull your arse out of 2008. Otherwise I ban you (again). Can’t really be bothered with trolls who are so thick they can’t learn new lines to run. ]

  9. tricledrown 9

    Ian and mathew are having a titford moment.

  10. Dumrse 10

    No fucking wonder the blog is written by a non descript entity, it’s full of shit or lacks some very important references. Show the evidence that National deliberately chose a postal ballot to disenfranchise people who have no fucking letter box or, don’t know where it is. And, explain to us how the disenfranchised can walk to WINZ blindfolded but wouldn’t have a clue what a big red post box looks like. Grasping at straws. How about some detailed analysis on the votes. IE, percentage of eligible voters who voted. Compare and contrast with the last general election…… Some real meaningful numbers, oh! hang on a minute, that won’t look good will it.

  11. lurgee 11

    Less likely to stay at one address for a long time, so less likely to receive their ballot paper.
    Less likely to live somewhere NZ Post delivers to, so less likely to receive any mail at all.
    Less likely to use the post office in any other part of their lives.
    And so on.

    I think you are drawing a very long bow by claiming this is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise a segment of the population, and the reasons that you offered above, while valid, over look the problem that they will apply almost equally to every method of holding a referendum.

    Surely these voters are less likely to be on the electoral roll, full stop, so no form of referendum will effect them? And less likely to go along to a polling station to vote, as they didn’t bother showing up in 2008 or 2011? And unlikely register for any dubious online referendum?

    What did you have in mind as an alternative to a postal ballot?

    I’d really like it to be a Massive CONSPIRACY but I think you;re just being silly.

  12. Papa Tuanuku 12

    while y’all are debating the numbers that voted in the broke areas, you miss the larger, more fundamental point. we voted in the 90%’s against asset sales. now that is news. why are brown people more anti sales than whites?

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 12.1

      Good question Papa Tuanuku – ‘less brainwashed’ comes to mind.

      • swordfish 12.1.1

        Confirms the only ethnic breakdown I’ve seen in polls on partial privatisation.

        A February 2011 Research New Zealand Poll found Maori/Pasifikas (they lumped them in together) opposing National’s plans by 57 to 34%, compared with European/Pakehas who were evenly split 46/46 %.

        It’s the ONLY Poll I’ve ever seen where the Oppose/Support options were close (Total Sample: Oppose 47 / Support 45 %). So, small sample size (and possibly faulty methodology) leads to questionable overall findings (given it’s clearly an outlier). But, the ethnic differences appear to have been sound.

        Here (scroll down to near-bottom of page – http://www.researchnz.com/media_releases_2011.html )

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  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    6 hours ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    9 hours ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    10 hours ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    11 hours ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    11 hours ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 day ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 day ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    2 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    2 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    4 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    5 days ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    5 days ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    6 days ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    6 days ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    6 days ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    6 days ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    6 days ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Swimmable Rivers tour – Ōkahukura/Lucas Creek
    When Environment Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament that some waterways – like Auckland’s Lucas Creek – are not worth saving because no-one wants to swim in them, he forgot to ask the locals we met last week who have put ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Wellington business relief package needs flexibility
    The Government’s Wellington business support package is welcome news but needs to be implemented so that all affected businesses get the help they need, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. “Wellington businesses will be pleased that the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • EQC’s staff cuts show disregard for quake victims
    The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Maori Land Court job losses must be delayed
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must request that pending job losses at the Māori Land Court are put on hold until the Māori land reform process is resolved and the risk of losing centuries of collective institutional knowledge is ...
    1 week ago
  • Financial support needed for urgent earthquake strengthening
    The Government must provide urgent support to residents for important earthquake strengthening work so that it happens quickly, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  "I support the call from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester to bring forward work to strengthen the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour welcomes equal pay
    Labour has long appreciated the value of women’s work and welcomes the Government’s decision to address pay equity for women, say’s Labour’s associate Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Sue Moroney. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Surgeons’ letter a damning indictment
    A letter from Waikato Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons claiming that hospital managers are stopping them from making follow-up checks on patients is a damning indictment of the health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s terrifying that one woman’s elective ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of touch Nats continue state house sell-off
    The Government should be focused on building houses for families to buy and more state houses for families in need, not flogging them off, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National’s state house sell-off does nothing to help people ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce drags feet while Capital businesses suffer
     Wellington businesses affected by the earthquake are continuing to struggle while the Government drags its feet on getting a business assistance package up and running, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  “Steven Joyce needs to front up with an assistance ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health and Safety Act fails to reduce work fatalities
    After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago