What will happen with the specials?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 pm, November 9th, 2008 - 25 comments
Categories: election 2008 - Tags:

There are about 240,000 special votes still be be counted. That’s about 11% of the vote in total. Special voters include large numbers of students and late-enrollees, which tends to favour the Left. Last election, Labour and the Greens together took 45.8% of the first count and 51.4% of the specials, ending up with 46.4% in total. National took 39.63% of the first count, 34.6% of the specials, equalling 39.1% of the total.

If the parties get roughly the same ratio of their prelimary vote to their special vote as last time, Labour and the Greens will end up getting about 46% of the special votes, National 40%. I’ve run the official St Laguë calculations for this scenario: both the Greens and Labour would take a seat from National.

That’s not enough to change the result, of course. National/ACT would be a majority of 62 seats (63 with Dunne) in the 122 seat Parliament.

25 comments on “What will happen with the specials?”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    Last time National lost a seat, and the Maori Party gained one (so the overhang was reduced).

  2. Oh you’re right. Of course it wasn’t from Nat to Lab, if it had been they would have been level on 49 on the night.

  3. ken 3

    I’m sorry you guys lost. The special votes will make no difference as they tend to be cast by people who can afford to be away from home. And that ain’t South Auckland.

  4. Graeme 4

    ken – specials are also cast by people who enrolled after writ day.

    Those who may be away may have more of a tendency to vote early (which is counted on the night)

  5. Graeme – I know it’s not gonna happen but if the specials tipped it back and Key had already been sworn in like he wants to be for APEC, what would happen?

  6. ken 6

    Well, Helen and Michael are gone … so Lord knows what the special votes would be voting for. Wow, imagine being a special voter who learns afterwards that what you voted for buggered off a nonosecond after the result.

  7. Felix 7

    ken you’re embarrassing yourself. Special votes are not cast later, they’re just counted later.

    I think it might be past your bedtime.

  8. QoT 8

    Seriously, ken? Everyone I know who cast a special vote a) lives in Wellington Central and b) is a young leftie who was travelling and had already planned to be away before the election was called. Not to even mention the fact that it’s all spelled out for you right there above your snide little comments that special votes do favour the left.

  9. ken 9

    Well, lets see if it makes a difference shall we?

  10. ken 10

    Oh, and Felix, where did I say special votes are cast later? I didn’t.

  11. deemac 11

    ken: it’s where you say “Lord knows what the special votes would be voting for” which makes no sense, since they were cast at the same time as all other votes;
    you seem confused (that’s me being polite)

  12. ken 12

    No, just saying that what they voted for is no longer there. Nothing “confused” about that.

  13. tsmithfield 14

    I guess we will find out the truth about the specials soon enough.

    However, I think a fair point is that since there was a substantial swing towards National in the general vote, it is highly likely that this swing will be represented in the specials also. Therefore, I don’t expect that the special votes will favour the left to the same degree as they did last time. Therefore, the benefit to the left is unlikely to be as great as previously.

  14. Bill 15

    Safe to say, the result will stand. And with Labour looking for a new leader, a nice distraction is in the offing while policy is rolled out.

    So the question is: What comes first?

    90 Day Bill? Troops to Afghanistan when Obama asks? Crime legislation? Privatisation of services?

    Whatever (unpopular) policies are first…and I’m guessing they will come thick and fast while people are distracted…where is the nascent grassroots resistance from which widespread opposition can flower?

    If we look to the US we see that efforts are being made to build a mass movement in order to force Obama to come through on the hope he has generated and rode on his way to the Whitehouse.

    But here, it seems to me that popular dissent was contained and stifled during the Labour terms. All gains came through, what might be termed, professional lobbying, whether from the unions or elsewhere. It didn’t include ordinary people in any meaningful way or encourage their ongoing participation.

    So gains, such as four weeks leave were ‘handed down’ rather than fought for; which makes such gains hard to defend because no personal investment was made in their coming about.

    Starting from scratch, in terms of building a meaningful inclusive social counterbalance to unpopular Government policy is hard and takes time. I humbly suggest that time is not something we have much of.

    We simply cannot rely on unions and the like to pressure the Government and win concessions as they have done for the past nine years. We need to do it ourselves if we want to be effective. And the tradition of people exercising their democratic muscle on the street or elsewhere seems to have disappeared in the NZ context. (There are examples such as the foreshore and seabed protests which can be pointed to as contradicting what I’ve just said, but single issue or one off examples of resistance do not make for a tradition…they don’t build on the past and offer little or no foundation on which to build going forward.)

    Am I the only one thinking like this? Does anybody want to engage in a discussion focussed on putting useful frameworks in place should the worst come to pass? Or is everyone happy to sit back, give JK and the Nats the benefit of the doubt and run the risk of being caught off-guard when the policies start coming?

  15. Janet 16

    Someone in the Dompost today says that the specials tend to vote Green or go with the prevailing mood so could favour National.

    On the other hand there are a lot of people voting overseas who are very proud of NZ because of Labour and Helen. I have heard from many overseas NZers this weekend and none of them could understand why NZ chose to change direction politically as we has such a good reputation internationally..

    This election seems to be a classic case of Labour voters staying home and it was the lowest voter turnout in decades – only 77% which is disgracefully low for NZ.

    So who knows what will happen with the specials. – personally I hope they go Green.

  16. Robinsod

    First, the GG is unlikely to appoint Key if the specials were likely to be material.

    Secondly, if he was appointed and the specials suprised us such that they made a difference, then Key would be required to resign if he could no longer command the confidence of the House. The GG’s reserve powers would come back into play and we’d be in a new round of government formation. Until then, Key would remain PM in a caretake capacity.


  17. fiona 18

    I agree that now is the time to continue ‘campaigning’ and organising. One avenue for this is the Labour Party at grass roots level. In my electorate (as in the one I lived in previously), LEC activity is largely limited to candidate selection, fundraising and campaigning. I would like to see all LECs becoming more proactive at reaching out to new members and encouraging people to become involved in a meaningful way.

    LECs should be educating members about Labour policies cf National policies, and getting the word out so the crap peddled by National and the media during the last Campaign does not get accepted so readily by voters.

  18. So if National do lose two MPs on specials then it would be Aaron Gilmore (56) and Cam Calder (58) who go right? (57 is Nikki Kaye who would Akl Central)

    And Labour would get Judith Tizard back…

  19. Bill 20


    First up. Nice to see I’m not the only one.

    I want to make an observation on your comment.

    You say:” I would like to see all LECs becoming more proactive at reaching out to new members and encouraging people to become involved in a meaningful way.

    LECs should be educating members about Labour policies….”

    If I read you correctly, the result of the quote above would be some new Labour Party members who, I assume you hope would be pro-active in a broader context than at present. That’s all fine and good. I’ve no problems there at all.

    However, implicit to your comment is a suggestion that Labour and or Labour activists would be elevated to some pre-eminent position within any protest movement. That’s dangerously counter productive in my opinion.

    My explanation goes something like this. Any attempt by any constituency (with all the best intentions in the world) to raise itself above other constituencies, or to subsume the broader resistance under it’s own brand will, firstly, drive those people who do not ascribe to (in this case Labour) away in their droves. Secondly, it would narrow any analysis or comment to the extent that it fitted with Party lines….a ‘many people, one voice’ scenario. Next comes infighting and factionalism as a battle is fought over what or whose party line should be adopted by the broader community of resistance.

    Far better to accept that many people will involve themselves for a whole variety of reasons and put structure in place that safeguards their distinct viewpoint. . Allow all views to be expressed (even contradictory ones) and therefore become as inclusive as possible. (Many people, many voices)

    The Labour Party and every other constituency can express their view …but only on their own behalf, not that of the broader movement.

    A successful movement of resistance or protest ( one that can grow and flourish) has to recognise the diversity present within itself and not attempt to curtail that diversity. It has to organise itself in such a way that the structures put in place to aid different constituencies in working together simultaneously makes any attempt by any grouping to seize the high ground and project itself as the whole rather than as a part, impossible.

    I’ve been involved in enough grassroots protest to understand that the drive by some to command and control the whole shebang and meld it to reflect their own distinct agenda, is the death knell for any protest or movement.

    And I don’t mean all that to sound negative. It’s important though in he context of broad movements…a subtlety too many ignore, deliberately or otherwise

  20. OOB 21

    So about 9% green specials to get Kenny Graham in
    not that that matter as Jeanette will probably step down later next year an Ken will be in anyway.

  21. fiona 22

    Bill, no doubt there will be many avenues for organising and protesting. I would like to think that the Labour Party (as opposed to caucus) might be part of that. There is the possibility for genuine debate within the Party. My experience of the Party is that there is much opportunity to improve the effort to reach out to new people, and to debate ideas and policies. Perhaps because it has been in government so long, the Party seems to be very much driven by the caucus arm, but that is surely not a given.

  22. Bill 23

    “no doubt there will be many avenues for organising and protesting.”


    However, the trick is to have activity that feeds into and reinforces a greater whole; that empowers individuals and all groupings, rather than fragmented or isolated flare-ups that may or may not improve the profile of a particular grouping or org before fading away with little or no legacy left behind for others to use and build on.

  23. Phil 24

    And Labour would get Judith Tizard back

    Oh yay

  24. And Labour would get Judith Tizard back

    Not if Labour only wins one seat. Damien O’Connor is ranked next.

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