The specials are going to be crucial in a number of seats, and to determine whether National can form a majority without needing the Maori Party or the Greens. National could easily lose 2 seats on specials, leaving 58. Banks and Dunne bring 1 each, which equals 60 out of 121, not enough to pass legislation without at least tacit support from elsewhere.
There are 240,000 specials to be counted. Usually, the Nats lose half a percent on specials. If that happens this time, a large number of permutations that see them lose 2 seats pretty easily. The most likely is that NZF and the Greens take one each – that would need a relatively small change as they are currently only 3,300 and 9,100 votes respectively from overtaking both of National’s bottom seats and taking the 119th and 120th seats. It’s also possible that Labour could take one or that the Greens could take both.
If the specials as a proportion of preliminaries mirror 2008, then the Nats would end up with 47.46%, Labour with 27.29%, the Greens with 11.06%, and NZF with 6.59% – National would lose 1 seat to the Greens. But, if NZF were to get 6.9% after specials, which I think is entirely possible because of their late surge, or if the Nats were to come in a little lower, again perfectly possible because of their late fall (ordinary votes on the day had them 2% below advance votes), then NZF will take another seat from National. A small change but of great consequence because National would have 58 seats, 3 short of a majority.
This would be National’s nightmare scenario – having to get support of abstention from the Maori Party, NZF, Labour, the Greens, or Mana on everything, including asset sales. I have no doubt that the Maori Party would sell out on asset sales but just what latter day beads and blankets in return would be interesting – if they insist on special share offers to iwi, which is what they’re shaping to do, that would hurt National badly. The Nats will not be pleased to have dropped over 5% in the last fortnight, and it speaks to big future problems.
Looking at the electorates, Christchurch Central is the most obvious one that will be decided on specials since it’s a draw at the moment. That should go to Burns.
Waimakariri and Waitakere have the Nat candidate ahead by 395 and 349 respectively, which could easily be overturned on specials. Auckland Central has 6,660 specials and a margin of just 535 so that’s also in play.
It should be noted that there will be a large number of specials for Christchurch residents who are out of their home electorates due to earthquake damage to their homes but were allowed to remain enrolled there as they intend to return. Christchurch Central, for example, registered 20% fewer votes than last time (the nationwide total that was down 5%) so expect to see a lot of specials some in to those Christchurch seats from other electorates.
– Bright Red