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Watching the specials

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, November 27th, 2011 - 42 comments
Categories: election 2011 - Tags: ,

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

42 comments on “Watching the specials”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    You could be right.

    However, historically special votes have tended to reduce the NZ First percentage. Thus, it is also quite plausible that NZ First could lose an electoral seat. Thus, if National and NZ First lost an electoral seat each, and say Labour and The Greens picked up one each, then National would still have a clear majority, even without the MP.

    I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks.

    • Richard 1.1

      The leading party has never lost two seats due to specials. Are you going to elaborate on your rather glib “easily” comment?

      • I dreamed a dream 1.1.1

        You may be right. Last election, National actually got an extra MP Cam Calder of Manurewa after the specials came it.

        • Shazzadude 1.1.1.1

          Wrong, Cam Calder was in on the night, but they lost him once the specials had been counted and the Greens got an extra one instead.

          NZF were on the cusp of getting a ninth, so I doubt it would fall enough from here to deny an eighth.

  2. Anita 2

    On the preliminary results, National holds the 119th seat with a quotient of 8186.06 and the 120th seat with a quotient of 8048.48. The 121st highest quotient is the NZF at 7992.06, then Greens at 7849.30, Labour at 7847.81, and Greens again at 7307.97.

    I have different results from you which I posted last night with a link to the full table.

    I have the 119th quotient with Labour at 8082 (541,499/67) and National with the 118th (8,186 = 957,769/117) and 120th (8048 = 957,769/119).

    I also have a different order from 122 from you. I agree on 121 being NZF (7992 = 135,865/17) but I have 122 as National (7915 = 957,769/121) and 123 for the Greens (7,849 = 211,931/27 – the same number as you but a rank lower), then Labour (7,848 = 541,499/69), then National (7,787 = 957,769/123).

    Can you check your numbers? I’ve rechecked mine but they could still be wrong.

    • Fisiani 2.1

      Your arithmetic is correct and thus means that National could increase by 1.

      • Anita 2.1.1

        If the specials swung heavily toward National and away from Labour then perhaps National could get another seat, but they traditionally swing away from National, so it’s unlikely.

        If we ignore the whole Christchurch factor (which I am thinking will lead to unusual behaviour in the specials) it would be a pretty safe assumption that National will drop one seat after specials – they have the 120th quotient and a tradition of doing poorly at specials.

        Christchurch gives me a headache – specials caused by Christchurch will have to be people still enrolled in Chch but living/voting somewhere else, or people still living in Chch but not in their own electorate. Are they more likely to be the more wealthy (the exodus is reportedly quite strong amongst more well-off professionals who can easily get a job somewhere else)? Or the poorer (given their suburbs were hit worst)?

        My gut says that the well-off professionals most likely have a home elsewhere now, and did the mail redirection thing, so got moved to the roll in their new town. The poor are more likely camping out with friends and family, quite possibly within the wider region, so haven’t been moved to another roll yet. So I’m guessing that the effect of the Christchurch quakes will be to swing specials even more toward the left than usual.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          That would be my bet as well.

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.2

          People in that situation didn’t need to cast a special vote because many of the other Christchurch booths included ballot boxes for the affected electorates. So, people in Christchurch, but out of their electorate, could vote in the normal way.

  3. Bren 3

    On a technical note, the 6,660 figure for Auckland Central means that 6,660 people made special votes in Auckland Central not for Auckland Central. Which means not much, but there could be more or less votes available to go towards Kaye/Ardern

    • alwyn 3.1

      Thank goodness someone has pointed this out. I was about to do it myself but I spotted your comment.
      Even people who should know better seem to believe that the reported number of specials apply TO a particular electorate, not to specials cast IN the electorate. Carmel Sepuloni is quoted in the Dom/Post this morning as claiming that there are 3,400 specials to be counted for Waitakere. If she doesn’t understand something as simple as this what on earth is she doing in Parliament.
      Incidentally if you look at the reported figures for any of the Maori electorates you will find that specials are all zero. They don’t have any exclusive polling places and specials are included in the General electorate in which the polling place exists.

      • HM 3.1.1

        Is that the case though..? Specials get marked with their electorate name/number on the enveloped, separated out & the quantity for each electorate gets counted on the night. They then get sent to their home electorate for the vote count.
        So I think that it is fair to assume that those numbers are FOR that electorate.
        Alwyn, if you have different information could you please provide a source as I would also like this clarified.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          That is correct. However specials from other electorates get sent back as well. It usually takes some special event to unbalance the nett effect of the specials between electorates, like a big rugby match. Most of the specials are from people who didn’t get on the roll before writ day. A significiant proportion these days are from people who are on the unlisted roll because of spousal difficulties.

          The nett unbalance between electorates is usually (in the absence of an event) well less than the numbers that are disallowed because they didn’t get on the roll even late.

          I have scrutineered a few times on them, and there is an extensive breakdown from the electoral commission when they are done.

          • Anita 3.1.1.1.1

            I think that Wellington Central always has unbalanced specials, is Auckland Central (and I guess the other central Auckland electorates) the same?

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Only Auckland central city booths and a lesser amount in Epsom (probably Newmarket). Mt Albert is just the booth at St Luke’s.

              But the effect is markedly less than what I have seen in the Wellington stats – Aucklanders are much more diffuse about where they go on weekends. There aren’t even that many booths in the central city because the central city on the weekend days is largely inhabited by youth to young to vote who hang out in town from the buses, language students, and tourists.

              My bet is that many of them will be from shop staff.

  4. Janice 4

    National will have to drop a seat anyway for the speaker. I don’t see this in anyone’s calculations.

    • Anita 4.1

      That’s because they don’t drop a seat for the speaker 🙂

      The speaker’s vote is cast by their party in party votes, and by proxy in personal votes..

  5. Tangled up in blue 5

    National could easily lose 2 seats on specials

    I think that you’re being overly optimistic. But here’s hoping.

  6. Tom Gould 6

    Your analysis is correct. But sadly, not 24 hours later, the brain dead idiots in the MSM cannot count. TVNZ is running a “special’ broadcast, to find out “what does he (MonKey) mean when he says welfare reform is his top priority?” FFS. Didn’t these utterly incompetenent fools bother to ask BEFORE people cast their votes? If ever there was a public admission from the MSM that they totally let down the public they claim to serve, this is it. What a useless bunch of craven, indolent, lazy and pathetic Tory fellow travellers they are. Pathetic.

  7. Billy Fish 7

    Watching the Specials?
    Like this?

  8. I was bitterly disappointed that Carmel Sepuloni just failed to unseat Paula Bennett. She was 349 votes short. However last election Lynne Pillay gained 262 more special votes (excluding overseas special) and there are more special votes this time.

    I would not write off Carmel’s chances and I have my fingers crossed.

    • ScottGN 8.1

      I really hope Sepuloni can flip this one.
      One of the commentators on Q & A yesterday (Michelle Boag I think) justified the closeness of this race by claiming that Waitakere is usually a safe Labour seat which is crap. Waitakere has always been a bellwether seat that flips between Labour and National depending on which way the tide is running. In an up year for National Paula Bennett should have held this seat comfortably. That she didn’t suggests that the people of Waitakere are just not that into you Paula, which pleases me hugely.

  9. DS 9

    Another curiosity for the specials: National’s party vote. At 47.9% it is currently the highest for National since 1951. and the highest for anyone since Labour got 48% in 1987. With a wee bit of luck, it’ll drop beneath National’s 47.8% in 1990 and its 47.6% in 1975. Not that it’ll really mean anything, but I don’t like the notion of the Tories trumpeting “best National result in 60 years” all over the place.

    • mikesh 9.1

      There is now supposed to be a review of MMP. I suspect that whatever changes the review panel comes up with will change things completely.

  10. Anne 10

    I hope there’s no chance of a gerrymander of the special votes.

    There’s been so much dishonesty and questionable bureaucratic behaviour since the advent of the NAct Govt. (some of it we know of, and there will be plenty more we know nothing about) that I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  11. notafeminist 11

    Nicky Wagner has said she’s turned the seat around into more of a right seat because of the large number of votes for her. I’m not sure this is necessarily true – on my very quick very dirty calculations, in 2002 the right-wing candidates shared 9633 votes, while in 2011 they have 10969 (before specials, though). That’s not *that* much of a difference between an election where National were the victims of a popular first-term incumbent government and one where they were the beneficiaries of a popular first-term incumbent government. The National candidate vote has soared, but largely I think because all other vaguely right-wing candidates’ votes have been swallowed up by National. Also, Nicky Wagner has been National candidate for the last 4 elections, whilst Labour had to contend with the replacing of a very, very popular MP (Tim Barnett) in 2008. I know specials will change all his info up, but I think it’s important to note that Nicky Wagner’s claim is not necessarily true. I think the gap has closed up, but I don’t think National can be credited too much for this as much as the natural parliamentary cycles of popularity.

  12. weka 12

    Is there any technical reason why the left couldn’t form government if they pick up two more seats?

    • yeshe 12.1

      I have the same question and another one .. what happens if Key swiftly locks in his coaltion arrangements and goes to the GG ….. and then loses any Nat seats seats on specials ??

      • weka 12.1.1

        I don’t think a government can be formed until all the votes are in.

        • Carol 12.1.1.1

          The left already seem to have capitulated. Maybe Labour feel they need a much stronger vote to lead a stable government that will be able to further the policies they are committed to?

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1

            Please note. We don’t need a Left Government, just a parliament which can block the bloody asset sales.

    • tsmithfield 12.2

      Weka: “Is there any technical reason why the left couldn’t form government if they pick up two more seats?”

      Ummm…That would be interesting.

      A government consisting of:

      Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party, and Mana. So, good luck with that.

      Also, it would require two of the parties to tell lies. It would require Labour to break its word on not dealing with Mana, and NZ First to break its word about staying on the cross-benches.

      • geoff 12.2.1

        It wasn’t ‘Labour’ who said they wouldn’t work with Mana, it was Phil Goff. If Labour gets a new
        leader then that person may be ok about working with Mana.

    • Lanthanide 12.3

      weka – no. But the MP had a caucus meeting where they decided they would speak to “the party with the most votes first” before talking to “any others”.

      If National did drop to 58, there would be the potential of the MP changing sides, but it would be Labour + Mana + Greens + NZFirst + Maori Party and Winston has pretty much scotched it by saying he’d sit on the opposition. So it’d be a bridge too far, I think.

      Alternatively, at 58 seats it would put the MP in a very strong position where they can demand that National give iwi first bite at asset sales, and if they disagree, they can vote against any asset sales. I hope they do. Either outcome would be incredibly embarrassing for National.

      A drop to 58 would also put a huge emphasis on any by-elections.

  13. Alethios 13

    When can we reasonably expect these votes to be counted by? The next week or two I presume?

  14. Zaphod Beeblebrox 14

    What if Sharples and Turia retire early?

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