Archive for the ‘Election 2011’ Category

Kicking The Tyres

November 13th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Victoria University publish a book reviewing each election campaign the year after.

The 2011 book is called “Kicking the Tyres:The New Zealand General Election and Electoral Referendum of 2011

It’s a must read for political professionals and enthusiasts. You can pre-order it from the link above, and it is launched on the 26th of November by no less than the Prime Minister.

Some of the topics are:

Kicking the Tyres includes among its authors some of the winners of the 2011 election – New Zealand First’s Winston Peters; the Greens’ Metiria Turei; National’s Steven Joyce; United Future’s Peter Dunne; and the Greens’ Mojo Mathers. 

What went wrong is the subject of chapters written by participants from other parties, including Labour’s Grant Robertson and high-ranking candidates from the Maori Party, Mana and ACT. 

Kicking the Tyres views the campaign and the election from a variety of angles and perspectives. New Zealand’s wittiest political commentator, Jane Clifton, writes about ‘the worm’ and other inanities of 2011. Jon Johansson and Colin James discuss John Key’s leadership and the impact of the Pike River mine disaster and the Christchurch earthquakes on the government and the country. Other contributors examine the images and ‘brands’ of New Zealand’s political parties and their leaders; the role of Facebook in the election campaign; the opinion polls and pollsters – which were the worst, which the best; how well New Zealand television performed with its political experts and ‘pundits’; how the government’s coalition was formed; and Maori politics, Parliament, and the future of the Maori vote.

Kicking the Tyres includes a special section on the MMP referendum, with chapters from the leaders of the pro- and anti- groups – the ‘Campaign for MMP’ and the unsuccessful ‘Vote for Change’ – and an analysis of the vote and its aftermath by well-known commentators Therese Arseneau and Nigel S. Roberts. 

I’m looking forward to buying and reading it.

National’s Advertising Campaign

March 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The expense return from National tells us quite a bit about what mediums they chose to advertise in, which is interesting to analyse.  I’ve summarised and compiled them in descending order.

Item  Cost
Billboards  $ 422,550
Creative Contractors  $ 335,650
Final fortnight newspaper ads  $ 322,345
TV/Radio Ads production  $ 194,282
Pamphlets  $ 187,900
Direct Mail  $ 157,013
Internet Ads  $ 113,565
Campaign Song  $   79,912
Marchandise  $   51,231
Hoardings  $   43,888
North Shore buses  $   29,037
Staff  $   26,697
Auto phone-calling  $   26,339
Ethnic Newspapers  $   20,255
Woman’s Day  $   14,516
Campaign Bus  $   10,697
Misc  $     6,253
Events  $     5,899
Website/Social Media  $     4,513

So billboards were the largest expense item, which is no surprise as they have been a hallmark of the 2005 and 2008 campaigns also. The contractors were next largest item followed by the final fortnight newspaper ads in all metro and provincial daily newspapers.

The taxpayer may pay for the airing of the TV and radio ads, but National paid almost $200,000 to produce them.  Pamphlets and Direct Mail were then next largest costs.

A fairly significant proportion of the budget was spent on Internet advertising – over $110,000. And the bastards didn’t spend a single cent on advertising on Kiwiblog 🙁

Someone did well out of the campaign song at almost $80,000.

Over $25,000 spent on auto phone calls. Personally I hate them and think they piss people off and cause them to not vote for you. But having said that it would be interesting if National measured turnout rate amongst those who got and did not get an auto phone call to see if they had an impact.

When you look at what you get for $2 million, it isn’t a lot. I don’t think anyone can claim our spending limits are too high, when they are less than $1/voter. The majority went on four newspaper ads, 97 billboards, two pamphlets of which one was direct mailed, and some Internet advertising. This is hardly drowning the voters in advertising.

I’ll be doing a similar analysis for other significant parties.

Party spending in 2011

March 22nd, 2012 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has released the party spending returns for the 2011 election. I have done a table of them, and the votes they got and hence the cost per vote.

Party Party Vote Expenditure Votes Expend per Vote
Conservative $1,878,337.22        59,237  $                31.71
ACT $617,035.18        23,889  $                25.83
Social Credit $34,676.21          1,714  $                20.23
Greens $779,618.38      247,372  $                  3.15
Labour $1,789,151.95      614,937  $                  2.91
Mana $60,082.31        24,168  $                  2.49
Māori Party $72,172.56        31,982  $                  2.26
National $2,321,216.06   1,058,636  $                  2.19
United Future $27,718.87        13,443  $                  2.06
Alliance $2,407.16          1,209  $                  1.99
Libertarianz $2,759.55          1,595  $                  1.73
NZ First $155,902.86      147,544  $                  1.06
ALCP $4,003.00        11,738  $                  0.34

The Conservatives spent a massive $31.71 per vote. They actually spent more money than Labour, yet still only got 2.7%. This is proof once again that the impact of money on elections is quite modest.

ACT spent 79% of what the Greens did, yet got just 10% of their vote.  Also Social Credit spent a large $20.23 per vote.

Of the two big parties, Labour spent more per vote – $2.91 vs $2.19 for National.

The ALCP were the most cost effective getting a vote for every 34c, followed by NZ First who spent $1.06 per vote.

Note that this is just what the party spent on their party vote campaign. I’ll also do an analysis at some stage which includes the taxpayer funded broadcasting allocation.

Interesting that no party spent up to their limit. National spent up to 88% of their limit, the Conservatives up to 79% and Labour 64%.

Labour candidates getting Green votes

January 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The table below lists in order what percentage of people who gave the Greens their party vote, gave their electorate vote to the Labour candidate.

This sort of split voting is somewhat different to Labour and Green voters voting for a National candidate or vice-versa. This is more left-wing voters splitting their vote between two parties of the left. It is more a measure of how tactical Green voters were.

% of Gre PV voting Lab EV Lab
Manukau East 71.5%
Palmerston North 69.1%
Mt Albert 67.5%
Manurewa 66.8%
Christchurch East 66.4%
West Coast Tasman 64.2%
Rimutaka 64.0%
Waimakariri 63.2%
Rotorua 63.1%
Auckland Central 63.0%
Hamilton West 62.2%
Wellington Central 62.0%
Port Hills 61.7%
New Plymouth 60.5%
New Lynn 60.2%
Mt Roskill 59.1%
Te Atatu 59.1%
Ohariu 56.9%
Christchurch Central 56.3%
Napier 55.0%
Dunedin South 54.8%
Mana 54.4%
Wigram 54.3%
Hamilton East 53.3%
Whanganui 50.8%
Waitakere 50.8%
Otaki 50.6%
Hutt South 50.3%
Pakuranga 47.7%
Rongotai 46.2%
East Coast 44.9%
Rangitata 44.4%
Mangere 44.0%
Bay of Plenty 44.0%
Botany 43.9%
Northcote 43.2%
Nelson 43.1%
Dunedin North 42.7%
Wairarapa 41.4%
Maungakiekie 40.2%
Rangitikei 38.8%
Tukituki 36.3%
North Shore 36.1%
Invercargill 35.4%
Waikato 30.0%
Kaikoura 29.0%
East Coast Bays 28.0%
Rodney 27.5%
Tamaki 27.1%
Whangarei 26.9%
Papakura 26.2%
Taupo 25.7%
Waitaki 24.5%
Northland 24.5%
Taranaki-King Country 23.3%
Hunua 21.8%
Ilam 21.6%
Clutha Southland 19.3%
Selwyn 19.3%
Helensville 17.8%
Tauranga 17.6%
Coromandel 15.6%
Epsom 13.2%

There were 15 seats where over 60% of Green voters voted for the Labour candidate. This included the marginal and potentially marginal seats of Palmerston North, West Coast-Tasman, Rimutaka, Waimakariri, Acukaldn Central, Hamilton West, Wellington Central and New Plymouth.

In 28 seats over 50% of Green voters voted for the Labour candidate.

At the other end of the table, in 11 seats the Labour candidate got less than 25% of Green voters electorate votes.

Split Votes

December 23rd, 2011 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

The split votes analysis is interesting. The number of peopel who split their vote continues to grow – almost 31% split their votes in 2011. Looking by party we see:

  • 63% of ACT voters voted for the National candidate
  • 40% of Conservative party voters voted for a Conservative candidate, 28% for a National candidate and 12% a Labour candidate
  • 44% of Green voters voted for a Labour candidate, 34% for a Green candidate and 14% a National candidate
  • 57% of Mana voters voted for a Mana candidate, 18% for a Labour candidate
  • 48% of Maori Party voters voted for a Maori Party candidate, 18% for a Labour candidate
  • 43% of NZ First candidate voted for a Labour candidate and 17% for a National candidate

Comparing front benches

December 20th, 2011 at 10:43 am by Jadis

I thought I’d do a ‘quick and dirty’ analysis of the Labour front bench vs the National front bench based on individual electoral performance.

1. David Shearer holds Mt Albert with an impressive personal majority (23rd highest majority in the country) and took a face-saving 37% of party vote for Labour

2. Grant Robertson holds Wellington Central, but Labour took a huge hit in the party vote (finishing third behind National and the Greens)

3. David Parker holds no seat and barely made a difference in Epsom even at a strategic level (15.5% of party vote for Labour).  It also must have hurt having to tell voters to vote for the National candidate.

4. Jacinda Ardern has now failed multiple times to win a seat.  She couldn’t even get back the Labour stronghold of Auckland Central even with strategic voting by the Greens… scary to think that Tizard can hold that seat but not the anointed Jacinda.  The Labour party vote in Auckland Central was rather low as well (25.4% – Greens just behind Labour on 22%)

5. David Cunliffe holds a pretty good personal majority (over 5000) and, like Shearer, recorded 37% for the party vote in New Lynn

6. Clayton Cosgrove.  Labour website stillsays Clayton holds Waimakariri but he actually lost it to Kate Wilkinson.  Clayton returned 23.4% for Labour party vote

7. Shane Jones failed to win a seat again but did return one of the more respectable party votes for Labour (41.5%)

8. Nanaia Mahuta won Hauraki-Waikato again (by over 6500) and recorded the fifth highest party vote for Labour at 46.5%.

So, in all not exactly a stunning front bench as far as results.  Based on electoral performance, the Cunliffe/Mahuta combo certainly is more formidable than Shearer/Robertson but Shearer and Robertson are the ‘nice guys’.

Now let’s have a look at National’s front bench:

1. John Key recorded a  massive electorate vote (won by over 21,000) and party vote at 65.8%

2. Bill English also recorded a formidable electorate vote (won by over 16,000)  and party vote at 62.9%

3. Gerry Brownlee won Ilam by over 13,000 and a very respectable party vote at 60.4%

4. Steven Joyce, doesn’t hold a seat and didn’t stand in one in 2011.  However, as the Campaign head could claim the 48% party vote across the country

5. Judith Collins won the Papakura seat by almost 10,000  and captured over 59% of the party vote

6. Tony Ryall won Bay of Plenty by a massive 17,000+ and captured over 67% of the party vote

7. Hekia Parata lost Mana  but is closing the gap in a traditionally Labour-held seat.  Recorded an increase in the National party vote to a reasonable 42%

8. Chris Finlayson is a  List MP.  At an electorate level he only captured 33% of the party vote for National but this was an increase from 2008.  Annette King proved herself once again  to be a formidable opponent at electorate level.

Both front benches have a mix of electorate and list MPs, however based on the last election it is easy to surmise that National’s front bench have (as a whole) also done the work at the electoral level (even those only seeking the party vote).


Bennett wins back Waitakere

December 16th, 2011 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

The judicial recount of Waitakere has found a number of invalid votes for Carmel Sepuloni and the Judge has found that Paula Bennett received more valid votes, and with a majority of 9 is declared once again the MP for Waitakere. That’s a wonderful result for Paula, who so loves being the local MP out west. A big ups to her and her team.

For Carmel, she is out of Parliament entirely, and Raymond Huo is once again a Labour List MP. A bit of a blow to the rejuvenation efforts for Labour, but at least a boost to their fund-raising efforts.

Carmel might now regret her ungracious tone when she was declared winner after specials. Of course she has open to her the option of an electoral petition, but those things can cost $200,000 or so and off memory National has never lost an electoral petition, well for the last 40 years or so anyway.

2011 General Election Results Analysis

December 12th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Since 1996 I’ve done an analysis of the election results after each general election. They have a number of aspects to them. The 2011 analysis is embedded below for those interested. It is 46 pages long. It includes:

  1. Overall results for NZ for each party and for each “bloc”.
  2. The change from 2008 to 2011 for each party and bloc.
  3. Results for each party and bloc by region and area.
  4. The change from 2008 to 2011 for each party and bloc by region and area.
  5. National’s Party Vote, Party Vote %, Electorate Vote, Electorate Vote %, Party Vote Change, Party Vote Relative Change, Electorate Vote Change, Electorate Vote Relative Change, and Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote – for each electorate from best to worst.
  6. Electorate Margins (from Nat point of view) and Electorate Majorities for all electorates.
  7. Labour’s Party Vote %, Electorate Vote %, Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote, Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote for Lab & Greens, Party Vote Change, Electorate Vote Change.
  8. Greens’ Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  9. NZ First Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  10. Conservative Party Vote %
  11. Maori Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  12. Mana Party Vote %
  13. ACT Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  14. United Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  15. Right, Centre and Left Blocs Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  16. Right vs Left Vote % and Party Vote Change
  17. Total Number of Voters per electorate
  18. Party Placings for Party and Electorate Vote

I usually update it once the E9 is published with further statistics such as Turnout percentage for each electorate.

What most struck me in compiling the results is the huge change in party vote in Christchurch. National’s vote went up 7.3% there and Labour’s dropped a massive 10.3%. This is much larger than the +2.4% National went up nationally and the 6.5% Labour dropped nationally. It is a huge endorsement of the work done by the Government, especially Gerry Brownlee. Labour MPs spent months complaining about various issues, setting others up to complain, and even came out with a super-bribe of offering affected home owners more. The fact their vote dropped 10.3% in Christchurch should lead them to reconsider their tactics if there is a future situation like this.

Christchurch used to be called “The People’s Republic of Christchurch” but in 2011 it voted more strongly for National than Auckland did. There is a reason for that.

2011 Final Election Results

Votes for List MPs

December 11th, 2011 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

We have 51 List MPs, 44 of whom also contested an electorate. I’ve compiled a quick table of how many people actually voted for them, given the opportunity to do so, on the electorate vote.

List MP Party  Votes
Cosgrove, Clayton LAB   16,145
Ardern, Jacinda LAB   14,321
Parata, Hekia NAT   14,093
Goldsmith, Paul NAT   13,574
Bennett, Paula NAT   13,457
Little, Andrew LAB   13,374
Auchinvole, Chris NAT   13,214
Chauvel, Charles LAB   12,965
Carter, David NAT   12,640
Moroney, Sue LAB   12,169
Groser, Tim NAT   11,809
Street, Maryan LAB   11,272
Blue, Jackie NAT   10,635
Henare, Tau NAT   10,444
Woodhouse, Michael NAT     9,487
Mackey, Moana LAB     9,229
Finlayson, Christopher NAT     9,132
Lee, Melissa NAT     8,695
Norman, Russel GRE     7,262
Shanks, Katrina NAT     6,907
Calder, Cam NAT     6,351
Jones, Shane LAB     6,184
Turei, Metiria GRE     5,721
Delahunty, Catherine GRE     5,660
Graham, Kennedy GRE     5,099
Horan, Brendan NZF     4,611
Browning, Steffan GRE     3,784
Parker, David LAB     3,751
Walker, Holly GRE     3,693
Sage, Eugenie GRE     3,674
Bakshi, Kanwaljit Singh NAT     3,561
Clendon, David GRE     3,000
Roche, Denise GRE     2,903
Logie, Jan GRE     2,652
Hughes, Gareth GRE     2,160
Hague, Kevin GRE     2,102
Stewart, Barbara NZF     1,571
Martin, Tracey NZF     1,476
Mathers, Mojo GRE     1,347
Genter, Julie Anne GRE     1,258
Taylor, Asenati NZF        999
Williams, Andrew NZF        900
O’Rourke, Denis NZF        697
Prosser, Richard NZF        588
Fenton, Darien LAB
Prasad, Rajen LAB
Smith, Lockwood NAT
Joyce, Steven NAT
Ngaro, Alfred NAT
Yang, Jian NAT
Peters, Winston NZF

The MPs who had the most electorate votes by party were:

  1. Clayton Cosgrove, Labour  – 16,145
  2. Hekia Parata, National – 14,093
  3. Russel Norman, Green – 7,262
  4. Brendan Horan, NZF – 4,611

The MPs who had the least electorate votes by party were:

  1. Richard Prosser, NZF – 588
  2. Julie Anne Genter, Greens – 1,258
  3. David Parker, Labour – 3,751
  4. Kanwaljit Bakshi Singh – 3,561

In total:

  • 14 List MPs got over 10,000 votes
  • 11 List MPs got from 5,000 to 10,000 votes
  • 9 List MPs got from 2,500 to 5,000 votes
  • 10 List MPs got under 2,500 votes
  • 7 List MPs did not stand in an electorate

Final Results

December 10th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The final results have just gone live.We now have a confirmed National-led Government

There are three changes:

Party Vote

National loses one list seat to the Greens, as often happens with special votes. Commiserations to Aaron Gilmore (who only made it by around 32 votes last time) who drops out, and congratulations to new Green MP Mojo Mathers, NZ’s first deaf MP.

If National has any vacancies during the term, those in waiting on the list are Aaron Gilmore, Paul Quinn and Paul Foster-Bell. Whether any would take up a list vacancy is likely to depend on when it occurs and what they are doing at the time.

This also allows National to go ahead and announce a Ministry, and be sworn in. If they had lost two list seats on specials, then the Maori Party would hold the balance of power. But National can pass laws 61-60 with support from ACT and united Future only. This means the Maori Party has a choice between opposition or getting some gains and influence through a confidence and supply agreement. As National only wants them, not needs them, their negotiating power is somewhat reduced. However worth remembering that Labour never gave the Maori Party anything beyond being last cab off the rank, choosing in 2005 to go with NZ First and United Future in preference to Maori and Greens.


Carmel Sepuloni has beaten Paula Bennett by 11 votes. That is probably close enough for a judicial recount, but based on this count congratulations go to Carmel who would have been out of Parliament otherwise. Commiserations to Paula who will of course remain an MP and Minister, but will miss her beloved seat.

The bigger loser is Raymond Huo, who loses his list place, as Sepuloni makes it back. While not a huge contributor to Labour within Parliament, I understand he is a relatively large fund-raiser for Labour.

Christchurch Central

Nicky Wagner has emerged with a 45 vote majority. As Brendon Burns is not high up enough on the list, he is out of Parliament entirely. Hence he may consider a judicial recount. Note a judicial recount is relatively quick and inexpensive compared to an electoral petition which costs so much you need to have someone like Owen Glenn pay for it 🙂

If Burns had won, then Labour would have also lost Rajen Prasad. I think Labour were hoping Brendon would win.

It is no small thing that National now holds Auckland Central and Christchurch Central. Neither are swing seats. They are heartland Labour. Auckland Central has been held by Labour (and Alliance for one term) since Labour’s 1st election outing in 1919. That 89 year run ended in 2008.

Christchurch Central has been much the same. It was created in 1946 and for 65 years has only been held by Labour. That loss will hurt.


The demographics for the 50th Parliament are now the following:

  • Gender – 67% male, 33% female (this is just one fewer woman MP than in 2008 as the two new MPs are both women)
  • Ethnicity – European 74%, Maori 17%, Pacific 6%, Asian 3%
  • Age – 39% 50s, 31% 40s, 16% 60s, 12% 30s, 2% 20s, 1% 70s
  • Area – 35% Auckland, 24% rural/town, 18% provincial city, 13% Wellington, 11% Christchurch
  • Island – 75% North, 25% South

I’ve also looked at how many MPs entered in each Parliament

  • 39th (1978) – 1
  • 40th (1981) – 1
  • 41st (1984) – 4
  • 42nd (1987) – 3
  • 43rd (1990) – 4
  • 44th (1993) – 5
  • 45th (1996) – 4
  • 46th (1999) – 7
  • 47th (2002) – 6
  • 48th (2005) – 24
  • 49th (2008) – 35
  • 50th (2011) – 27

So 86 of the 121 MPs entered in 2005 or later. Note those who enter part-way through a term are included in each Parliament’s total. Only 22 of 121 MPs entered before 1999.


Pleased to see Nikki Kaye increase her majority to 717. That’s a huge endorsement of her work in that seat considering in 2008 she was against Judith Tizard and in 2011 against Jacinda Ardern, who is already being talked about as a future Labour deputy leader.

Also congrats to Kate Wilkinson whose win in Waimakariri against Clayton Cosgrove has been confirmed.


December 2nd, 2011 at 11:02 am by Kokila Patel

Back Benches 30 November 2011

November 29th, 2011 at 11:47 am by Kokila Patel

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

POST-ELECTION ROUND-UP?: After an exhaustive few weeks of furious campaigning the election is over. Now, we sort through the results to look at what the hell happened and what the next three years will look like. What do the results mean for National, Labour, the Greens, ACT, United Future and New Zealand First? Speaking of New Zealand First—who predicted 8 MPs? Who made it in on the list? Who lost out? What coalition deals will we see? What will be the bottom line for these parties?

GET OUT THE VOTE: A million registered voters stayed out of the voting booths. Why? Who did it hurt the most? How can we get people more excited about their civic duty? And do we need to be doing more to get people to the polls? Is it time to make voting compulsory?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 30th of November. Our Panel: Green Party MP-Elect Holly Walker, Labour MP-Elect David Shearer, National MP-Elect Chris Tremain, and United Future Leader Peter Dunne.

TVNZ 7 Wednesday 9.05 pm and Saturday 10.05 pm

How the pollsters did

November 29th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged on Friday the final polls by the five public telephone pollsters and the final poll by Horizon. A fuller analysis will be done once we get final results, but for now I’ll do a quick analysis of how each pollster did for each party.

Note that this is not comparing apples and apples entirely. Those pollsters whose final poll was earlier in the election period naturally do not pick up what happens in the final few days. And there are other factors at work such as sample sizes. So this is not about saying who is “best” and “worst” but just a quick look at were they broadly in the right ballpark for the various parties.

This shows the actual result, and the (absolute) difference between the final poll for that pollster and the final result. Where the difference was greater than 1.5%, I have highlighted them in red.

This is just one of several ways to analyse it. One can also total up the differences for each pollster. Also you can count how many had a result within the margin of error for that poll. I’ll comment on each poll result.

Roy Morgan

They were the pollster that got NZ First closest. They had National and Greens too high and Labour too low. They did not record results for the Conservative Party at all, but otherwise were pretty good.

Fairfax Research International

National significantly too high, but Labour pretty accurate. Undershot NZ First and did not report on Conservatives. Other Minors within range.

3 News Reid Research

Like everyone had National too high (but within margin of error) and like most had the Greens too high. All other minor parties within 1.5% except NZ First whom they had at half what they got.

One News Colmar Brunton

Overall seemed to get things closest. National 2% too high and NZ First 2.6% too low, all others less than a 1% variance.

NZ Herald Digipoll

Also did well. National too high and NZ First too low, but did have them over 5%. Slightly more variance with the minor parties but none greater than 1.5%.

Horizon Poll

Of the nine significant parties, Horizon only got two of them within 1.5% – the Maori Party and United Future parties. They were the least accurate with National (14.2% out), NZ First (4.1% out), ACT (1.7% out) and Mana (1.8% out). They also had Conservatives at close to double what they actually got.

Very amusingly, Horizon are boasting how they consider their poll to have been highly accurate. It staggers me how anyone can put out a poll which had National only 5% ahead of Labour and then could claim it was “close to forecast” when the actual result was a gap of 21%.


November 27th, 2011 at 1:43 pm by David Farrar

There are 220,720 specials, which represents 11% of the total votes cast. If no special are invalids, this is what impact they could have. At present the seat allocation is:

  • 120 – National (last one in – Aaron Gilmore)
  • 121 – NZ First
  • 122 – National
  • 123 – Greens
  • 134 – Labour

If National gets only 44.6% of specials, then that drops overall vote from 47.99% to 47.81% and National drops to 59 seats, with the extra seat going to NZ First or Greens most likely. This would mean National/ACT/United have 61/121 seats and have a majority.

The great irony is this scenario eventuates is that if Labour had now won Te Tai Tonga, then there would be no partial asset sales. If Rahui Katene had held that seat for the Maori Party, then Parliament would be 122 MPs (as it would be an over-hang seat) and 61/122 would not be enough. So a huge irony in that Labour winning a seat has made it easier for National to govern.

For National to lose two seats, would be very unlikely. This has not happened under MMP with a specials count. It would need this scenario.

National to get just 41% of specials, NZ First to get 8% of specials and Greens 14% of specials. This would make the total vote for each to be 47.4%, 11.0% and 6.9% respectively and they get 58, 14 and 9 seats each.

Hard to see National getting just 41% of specials. If that did eventuate, then the Maori Party would hold the balance of power, but as I said no party has ever lost two seats on specials.

Election Winners and Losers

November 27th, 2011 at 12:19 pm by David Farrar

My initial thoughts on the winners and losers from the election.


John Key. Key has broken his own record for the highest party vote percentage achieved under MMP. Governments normally lose support, not gain it. The Clark Government did increase support in 2002 by 2% but this was really just picking up some of the Alliance vote which had been 7% and collapsed. Key is not only re-elected Prime Minister, but has the ability to implement National’s policy programme.

Steven Joyce and Jo de Joux. This is the third campaign in a row for the campaign chairman and manager (plus three by-elections). In 2005 the National vote went up 17% which at the time was all attributed to Don Brash, but the campaign played a major part also. They ran the 2008 campaign to victory and in 2011 set a target of 48% of the party vote. The count closed last night at 47.99% so that is as precise as you can get.

Gerry Brownlee. National won the party vote in all Christchurch electorates and have won Waimakariri plus tied in Christchurch Central. This would not have happened if there was wide-spread dis-satisfaction with the Government’s response to the earthquake.

Winston Peters. Made the 5% threshold with room to spare. A remarkable comeback. Will have little influence in the next three years, but is well positioned to hold the balance of power in 2014. Biggest challenge may be to avoid scandals. Will soon be in his 70s so may need to start thinking a leadership transition, which could be Andrew Williams.

Damien O’Connor. Only Labour MP to win a seat off National.

Nikki Kaye and Paula Bennett. Both with-stood massive challenges from Labour in Auckland, who targeted all their regional resources into winning Auckland Central and Waitakere. Even massive tactical voting from Green voters wasn’t enough to knock them out.

Metiria Turei and Russel Norman. They made 10% and got four extra MPs. A very good night for them.

John Banks and Peter Dunne. Partly thanks to the rise of Winston, centre-right voters showed their intelligence and voted to help ensure a National-led Government can implement a centre-right policy programme.


Phil Goff, whose political career is over. However he should not be judged by the last three years. I’ll blog in more detail on Goff later, but he has done many things to make New Zealand a better place, and was handed a poisoned chalice by Clark.

Trevor Mallard. Labour’s campaign manager managed to knock nine of his colleagues out of caucus, and drop Labour to their lowest share of the vote since the Great Depression. The disgraceful smear pamphlets reminded many people of why they voted to evict Labour in 2008.

Don Brash, He promised up to 15% and in the end failed to even get himself elected to Parliament. A sad end to a great contribution to NZ public life.

ACT. Great for National that Banks won, but will a Banks-led ACT be viable for the future? I’m not so sure.

Colin Craig. He boasted for months on the back of a very misleading poll that he would win Rodney and he got thrashed. He spent a huge amount of the party vote and got nowhere near the 5% threshold. May have had a future if NZ First had not made it back (as policies in many areas similar) but hard to see where he can gain extra support from now.

Horizon Polls, the Sunday Star-Times and Radio Live. I will post in detail on this, but the media who kept running that poll as news worthy should be humiliated. Almost all year they have been saying National has only around 35% of decided voters, and the election results shows their methodology is fatally flawed.

General Election Open Thread

November 26th, 2011 at 7:00 pm by David Farrar

You can comment away now. I’ll try and post the odd update but my primary commitment tonight is commentary on TV One. Also doing a bit for NewstalkZB and Radio Live and the OU/Herald Online coverage.

Kiwiblog tomorrow

November 25th, 2011 at 7:16 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Act states in Paragraph (g) of Section 197(1) that it an offence at any time on polling day (before 7 pm) to publish any statement advising or intended or likely to influence any elector as to the candidate or party for whom the elector should or should not vote, or any statement advising or intended or likely to influence any elector to abstain from voting.

This means I will not be posting any material after midnight that could be seen as influencing any elector as to how to vote, or not to vote. I am asking all those who comment to do the same. The law should be interpreted broadly, so do not post comments tomorrow on any candidate, MP or party, current issues or policy.

It is not my intention to disable commenting, just as I don’t expect Trade Me will close down their forums for the day. If any commenter does post a comment that could be considered in breach, I will be happy to supply their e-mail address and IP address to the Electoral Commission. I will also delete the comment and suspend the account.

If a number of people act retarded and post stuff they should not, them I may stick moderation on for comments so they do not appear automatically. I’d rather not do that, unless necessary.

I’ve already voted. I voted today for National, for Paul Foster-Bell, for change, and for STV. Whether or not you vote the same as me, make sure you vote before 7 pm tomorrow.

EXCLUSIVE: Peters an illegal candidate for NZ First

November 25th, 2011 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

An investigation by Kiwiblog has found that the candidacy of Winston Peters for New Zealand First is illegal under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Unlike other political parties, New Zealand First is an incorporated society. That means it has to obey the rules laid down under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Section 21(2) of the Act states:

Every alteration of the rules must be—

  • (a) in writing; and

  • (b) signed by at least 3 members of the society; and

  • (c) delivered to the Registrar accompanied by a certificate by an officer of the society or a solicitor certifying that the alteration has been made in accordance with the rules.

And Section 21(3) states:

The Registrar, if satisfied that the alteration has been duly made, and that the rules as so altered conform in all respects to this Act, shall register the alteration in like manner as in the case of the original rules, and the said alteration shall thereupon take effect according to the tenor thereof.

In plain English this means that any rule change for an incorporated society does not take effect until the Register has approved them. This is well known to lawyers.

NZ First says they changed the rules of NZ First back in July to allow the Leader to be a list candidate, without being an electorate candidate. However they have not filed this rule change with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies and hence, the old rules still apply. They have filed them with the Electoral Commission *but only after I blogged pointing out they have not) but not with the Registrar as the website shows. There have been no rules changes registered since 2008.

This means the version of their constitution which is still legally in force states:

Rule 46(b):

A List candidate must first be selected as an Electorate candidate

Winston Peters did not get selected as an electorate candidate, so his nomination as a list candidate is illegal under the rules of the NZ First Party, as governed by the Incorporated Societies Act.

If he is not a legal candidate for the New Zealand First Party, then any election of him to Parliament can be challenged. This has happened before when a nomination has been accepted (Kelly Chal for united Future in 2002) but after the election it was found she was ineligible and she was removed from the United Future party list.

The case is more complicated here as it is the Incorporated Societies Act, not the Electoral Act, that makes Peters an illegal candidate for New Zealand First. I can almost guarantee you though that if he is elected, lawyers will be looking to take legal action. Incorporated Societies can be forced to obey their own rules, as we saw in the legal action against the NZ Rugby Football Union over a proposed tour of South Africa.

If Peters is removed from their party list, then presumably No 2 Tracey Martin would become the Leader of NZ First.

Back Benches 26 November 2011

November 25th, 2011 at 10:03 am by Kokila Patel

THIS SATURDAY ON THE BACK BENCHES—ELECTION NIGHT SPECIAL: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests as the election results roll in!

We’ll bring you up-to-the minute election results using the most hi-tech equipment on offer—the Electionator 2000.2.1. We’ll be visited by the candidates and special guests. Plus, our fifth panellist—the audience. All will be a part of the show. Be there or be square for the best Election Night party in town.

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub for the Election Night Special—at a new hour: Saturday, 26th of November from 8-9pm. Our Panel: Charles Finny of Saunders Unsworth, Victoria University Lecturer Ana Gilling, James Sleep Step Up Spokesman, and Mark Unsworth of Saunders Unsworth.

Broadcast on TVNZ 7

The summary of the polls

November 25th, 2011 at 7:27 am by David Farrar

This is a summary of the polls released this week. You can click on it for a larger version.

  • The first five columns are the five main public polls.
  • The simple average is just that – the mean of their results
  • The weighted average is weighted by size and date. The full methodology is at Curiablog.Those polls which cover an earlier period are weighted slightly less. The fact this varies from the simple average shows there is some movement in the final days – National and Greens down a bit and Labour and NZ First up a bit
  • The weighted seats is how many seats each party would have if that was an election result, assuming all electorate seats stay with the party that currently holds them (exception is Wigram going from Progressive to Labour)
  • For comparison I have the final Horizon poll. The Horizon poll features regularly on Radio Live and on the front page of the Sunday Star-Times. Their published figures include 1.3% undecided which I have adjusted their results for, so like the other polls it is a percentage of decided voters. This allows a comparison to election results.
  • I also have the seat projections based on the final Horizon poll.
  • Under the weighted average there would be a centre-right Government of the only three parties pledged to support National.
  • Under Horizon’s poll there would easily be a centre-left Government with the four centre-left parties having 67 seats.
  • The Maori and Conservative parties have said they will go with either Labour or National so are shown in their own bloc

People should be aware of the commentary with the final NZ Herald poll:

Today’s poll also throws up a bizarre possible outcome – National winning more than 50 per cent of the party vote but still needing Act, the Maori Party or United Future to give it a majority in Parliament.

This could happen if today’s poll results were translated to votes.

The revival of New Zealand First – which National won’t deal with – could make the survival of Act crucial.

The Maori Party could be in the box seat to negotiate a confidence and supply agreement to give National a cushion of comfort if Act and United Future don’t make it.

The reason National could get a majority of party votes tomorrow but not a majority of seats in Parliament is the overhang factor.

If today’s poll figures were translated to votes, United Future, the Maori Party and Mana would get more electorate seats than their party vote entitlement.

When that happens, the size of Parliament expands beyond 120 seats, and the parties are allowed to keep the extra seats.

In this case, the “overhang” seats would take Parliament to 126 seats.

In that scenario, a Government would need 64 seats for a majority and in today’s poll, National would have 63 seats – based on the assumption that Act, Mana, United Future and the Maori Party will keep their electorate seats.

Only Act and United Future have pledged to support National.

MMP does not always deliver proportional results. As the Herald says, one could have National get over 50% of the votes, but lose power.

It is quite simple. If you want a National-led Government, party vote National. If you live in Ohariu you should vote for Peter Dunne or Winston may get to pick the Government. If you live in Epsom and want John Key to remain Prime Minister, you should vote for John Banks.

The Conservative Party have not said they will back National. Do not think a vote for them, or a vote for Craig, is a vote for John Key to remain Prime Minister.

It should not be assumed the Maori Party would back National if they hold the balance of power. They have more policy in common with Labour, and would be more likely to retain their seats in 2014 if they go with a centre-left Government.

Despite the fact the average of the polls show Phil Goff is leading Labour to their lowest ever vote share, the way MMP works means he can still emerge Prime Minister. National would never say yes to the huge spending demands that the Greens, and Winston would demand for supply and confidence.

People may also wish to think about how they will vote in the referendum, based on the scenario outlined by the NZ Herald that MMP could deliver government to Labour on 28%, even if National gets 51%. Do you want to lock MMP in as our electoral system for the next 50 years, or do you want to vote to have a referendum in 2014 pitting MMP against the most popular alternative?

Have a look at what John Key and Phil Goff are saying on the referendum, and decide for yourself.

UPDATE: The original version did not include the Roy Morgan poll released overnight. This is now included.

Goff being kept away from marginal seats

November 24th, 2011 at 3:27 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance blogs:

Goff hasn’t been seen in the city. Nor has he been in Palmerston North – the last provincial seat his party holds – in the past four weeks. You can’t help but wonder if the candidates are keen to keep him away – just as his mug is missing from the billboards.

After losing Napier, Otaki, Hamilton and the East and West Coast electorates, letting Palmerston North slip from the party’s grasp will be a serious psychological blow to the party.

Has Goff become the Marginal Labour candidates know the only way to hold their seats is to get National voters to vote for them. That’s why they are hiding Goff.

Making your vote count

November 22nd, 2011 at 9:36 am by David Farrar

I’ve done a little table which may help people who want a Key-led Government or a Goff-led Government to decide how to vote, or more specifically how to make sure your vote is not wasted.

There are two ways a vote can be “wasted”. By this I don’t mean it isn’t counted, but that it doesn’t help a party gain extra seats in Parliament.Ineffective might be a better name for it.

The first way is if a party does not make the threshold of 5% or one electorate seat. People may wish to still vote for these parties because of a strong belief in their policies, but other people might want to make sure their vote helps decide who will be Prime Minister – Key or Goff.

The other way a party vote can be ineffective is if you vote for a party that gains no list mps on top of their electorate seats. For example the Maori Party won five electorate seats last election, and their party vote was just 2.4% and they needed 4.6% of the vote to gain a list MP on top of their electorate MPs. So all those party votes didn’t help the Maori Party gain extra MPs.

Party Vote needed for a party vote to not be “wasted” Likely vote in Parliament
National 33% To make John Key PM
Labour 18% To make Phil Goff PM
Greens 5% To make Phil Goff PM
ACT 1.2% if Banks wins Epsom, otherwise 5% To make John Key PM
United Future 1.2% if Dunne wins Ohariu, otherwise 5% To make John Key PM
Maori Party 3.6% (assumes they hold all 4 seats) Could vote either way
Mana Party 1.2% if Harawira wins Te Tai Tokerau To make Phil Goff PM
NZ First 5% To make Phil Goff PM
or force new election
Conservative 5% Could vote either way

So what does this mean. Here’s what it means if you want John Key to remain Prime Minister:

  • Only a vote for National is guaranteed to help Key remain Prime Minister
  • A vote for United Future or ACT will only help Key remain PM if they win an electorate seat and their party vote is at least 1.2%.
  • A vote for any other party is unlikely to help Key remain Prime Minister

If you want Phil Goff to become Prime Minister:

  • A vote for Labour is guaranteed to help Goff become Prime Minister
  • A vote for the Greens is exceptionally likely to help Goff become Prime Minister
  • A vote for the Mana Party helps Phil Goff become PM if Harawira retains Te Tai Tokerau and they get at least 1.2% party vote
  • A vote for NZ First helps Phil Goff become PM, or will lead to a new election if they refuse confidence and supply to both parties

If you want your party to decide after the election between Key and Goff, there is not much to choose from

  • A vote for the Maori Party will only help them gain MPs if they exceed 3.6%
  • A vote for the Conservative Party will only help them gain MPs if they exceed 5.0%

Now this post is not telling people how to vote. It is informing people how to make sure your vote is most effective in determining the Prime Minister and Government, if that is what matters to you. It doesn’t for some people, but it does for others.

A vote for NZ First is a vote for a new election

November 20th, 2011 at 2:20 pm by David Farrar

Guyon Espiner on Q+A asked Winston Peters three times whether his party will refuse to give confidence and supply to either of the main parties. Three times, Winston said that was correct. Now again, Winston could wriggle out of the most iron clad guarantee, but let’s for now take him at his word (yeah, stop laughing now).

If Peters is to be taken at his word, then a vote for NZ First is a vote for a new election, if NZ First makes it and holds the balance of power.

A Prime Minister needs to demonstrate to the Governor-General that they have the confidence of the House. Peters has said he will not give confidence to either National nor Labour. This means that neither John Key nor Phil Goff will be able to be sworn in as Prime Minister. The result will be that Key as caretaker Prime Minister would have to advise the Governor-General to call another election, as no Government can remain in office without the confidence of the House.

Some people think that a lack of confidence and supply would only become an issue once a Budget needs to be passed, but this is not the case. The Government needs to always have the confidence of the House – the formal votes on confidence and supply are just an expression of that. And there would be a confidence vote during the address in reply debate which occurs at the beginning of a new Parliament.

This would mean another election in ealy 2012, at a cost of $38m or so, and a caretaker Government that would have no authority to respond to any events in Europe.

The video is here.

Tea – John Stringer

November 18th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Kokila Patel

Hone did well

November 17th, 2011 at 9:20 am by David Farrar

I thought Hone did the best in the minor leader’s debate last night. Not that I agreed with anything he said – but he was best at articulating the far left point of view, and may well win some support from Labour and the Greens on it.

Russel Norman played a safe game, which is what you do when you are polling more than the other five parties combined.

I thought Peter Dunne and Winston Peters both waffled (as my tweet which was read out showed). When all six leaders were asked to name their number one economic policy, neither of them could or did. Peters of course was good at railing against, well everything, and that will appeal to some. It is a pity the moderator failed to get him to answer the final question, and in fact no media has got an answer. Peters claims (whether you believe him is another matter) that he will not go into coalition or accept a Ministerial role with either major party. He says he is campaigning to be in opposition. But the question that was not asked and answered is what will he do if he makes 5% and holds the balance of power? There are four options – vote for a National-led Government, vote for a Labour-led Government, abstain (which allows largest bloc to govern) or vote against and cause a new election.

Tariana Turia was overshadowed by Hone, and some of her facts and figures were grossly inaccurate. The media really should fact check minor party leaders. Don Brash had a hostile audience but got some good lines away such as wanting to change electoral systems because the test is what is good for NZ, not what is good for ACT.

As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mana’s support increased enough that they might get John Minto in.