Parliament under the Electoral Commission recommendations

August 14th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The has recommended three significant changes being:

  • Party vote threshold from 5% to 4%
  • No electorate seat threshold
  • No over-hang

I’ve modeled how the 1996 to 2011 elections would look under these changes. They are:

In 1996, this would have resulted in the Nat/NZF Govt being unable to govern as they would have fallen two seats short of a majority.  Rev Graham Capill would have become an MP and Party Leader of a five person party. Either ACT or Christian Coalition would have been needed to join Nat/NZF or it would be a Lab/All/NZF Govt.

In 1999, there would have been no change under different rules.

In 2002, the only change would be United gain a seat and Progressive lose a seat.

In 2005 there would have been a significant impact as the Lab/Prog/NZF/UF Govt would be one seat short. Either the Greens (whom NZF had vetoed) or Maori Party (last cab off the rank) would have been need by Labour also. Alternatively Nat/NZF/Maori/ACT/UFNZ could get 61 seats. Either way the combinations look pretty unstable.

In 2008, National would have been unable to govern without the Maori Party as Nat/ACT/UFNZ would have gone from 64 seats to 58 seats. One could have ended up with a Lab/Gre/NZF/Maori Government.

The only change in 2011 would have been one less Green MP.

So overall in 1996, in 2005 and in 2008 these changes would have meant a different Government being formed, than what was possible under the status quo. It may have seen Labour. not National, form Government in 1996 and 2008 which is partly why Labour likes the proposals, and National do not.

However the past is not necessarily the future. A lower threshold may benefit the CR more than the CL, if it allows the Conservatives in.

UPDATE: I mistyped the party vote for the Greens in 2011, so in fact they stay the same and National would lose an MP in 2011 under the EC proposals. This means that in 2011 as well as 2008 the Maori Party would hold the balance of power.

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14 Responses to “Parliament under the Electoral Commission recommendations”

  1. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Capill’s outfit was a coalition (hence the name) so he would have been a co-leader or a leader of a 2 or 3 person party.

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  2. Don the Kiwi (1,754 comments) says:

    On the face of it, the proposed changes will lead to much less stability in govt.
    My personal view – our system of MMP is all bullshit – it allows minorities to foist their radical views on the vast majority of Kiwis who just aren’t interested in their social engineering progressive marxist policies.

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  3. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    “On the face of it, the proposed changes will lead to much less stability in govt.”

    It might allow more parties in or less. The 4% will help some but removing the threshold could make it more difficult for others. It is a shame that the terms of reference were so narrow. They should have been allowed to make recommendations on the Maori seats as well as whether private members bill be allowed under MMP or if they were to have be approved with a binding referendum.

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  4. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    2008 would’ve been National/New Zealand First/United Future. Key wouldn’t have ruled out Winston if there was a 4% threshold (5% was a decent gamble to bet against for Key, 4% not so much), and it’s quite likely ACT wouldn’t have won Epsom under such rules.

    Given Winston had ruled out working with the Greens in the past and had stuck to this after the election results were in, I don’t think a NAT/NZF government is any less feasible than a LAB/GRN/NZF one.

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  5. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    and they didn’t listen to us on candidates being on both lists!

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    “Given Winston had ruled out working with the Greens in the past and had stuck to this…”

    Yeah, nah, not betting the house on anything that lying scumbag says. Ever.

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  7. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    I heard Jim Bolger talking about voter apathy with Mike Hosking this morning. Maybe voters should be give the option of “None of the above” for both the party and electorate vote. Even MPs as egotistical as they are might learn something. I suspect many people do not vote because the hold them all in contempt rather then just being lazy.

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  8. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    hmmo
    and you would probably be right in doing that.

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  9. tvb (4,421 comments) says:

    The moral conservative vote is not being represented at the moment and may account for the non vore. A lower threshold may let the CCCP in.

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  10. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    Lowering the party vote threshold will make it easier for CCCP, and will make it easier for NZF to hang in there.

    Raising the one electorate seat threshhold will theoretically affect Act and UF – if they can turn arounsd their support substantially it will. Mana is the party most likely to be restricted, it is more feasible that they will increase their vote enough to get a list MP or two.

    Overall the changes still favour large parties and make it much harder for the smallest parties or new parties to get a toe into parliament’s door.

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  11. Murth (27 comments) says:

    Also have to remember that people would have most likely changed their voting behaviour had these changes been in place for historical elections. For example, it ACT were unlikely to pass the 4% threshold then people may have allowed them to win Epsom but still given their Party Vote to National, and therefore National would have won more seats rather than the ACT vote being wasted.

    Those that are concerned about minority parties have disproportionate impact should advocate a lower, not higher, threshold. A lower threshold will mean more diversity of parties and therefore more potential options for larger parties to get a majority as we have seen with National being able to approach the Maori Party, ACT, or UF now.

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  12. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    Quite right Murth – people would have changed their behaviour had the rules been different so not a fair analysis.

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  13. Pete George (23,561 comments) says:

    Those that are concerned about minority parties have disproportionate impact should advocate a lower, not higher, threshold. A lower threshold will mean more diversity of parties and therefore more potential options for larger parties to get a majority as we have seen with National being able to approach the Maori Party, ACT, or UF now.

    This is a strong point. Smalll parties have contributed to stable government since MMP has settled in. And more small parties mean more options for large parties, making it less likely a single small party is the only may to form a government.

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  14. Seán (397 comments) says:

    From the post:

    “A lower threshold may benefit the CR more than the CL, if it allows the Conservatives in.”

    Hahahahaha. Farrer and Slater will be spitting tacks.

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