It seems it was more National voters who stayed home in 2011

May 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader sends in his analysis:

I have recently performed some statistical analyses of results from the 2008 and 2011 elections, in order to test a theory about voter behaviour in 2011.

 You are probably aware of what this analysis shows already. I hope so.  But given

a) the importance of the results and

b) the widespread assumption of contrary conclusions among the commentariat (eg that the low turnout hurt Labour);

I thought I should pass this on to you, just in case.

When the 2011 election proved unexpectedly close on a reduced turnout, I theorised that, misled by the polls, many National-sympathetic voters had simply stayed home or indulged themselves with a vote for NZ First or the Conservative Party in order to make a political point.

It recently occurred to me that my theories were testable from the 2008 and 2011 election statistics by testing for statistical correlations. The results of this were: 

Variables Correlation co-efficient*
National Party vote in 2008 vs Conservative Party vote 2011 (general electorates) 0.601
Change in National Party vote between 2008 and 2011 vs change in NZ First Party vote 2008-2011 (general electorates) -0.379
Change in Labour Party vote between 2008 and 2011 vs change in NZ First Party vote 2008-2011 (general electorates) -0.004
National Party vote in 2008 vs change in overall turnout 2008-2011 (general electorates) 0.271
National Party vote in 2008 vs change in overall turnout 2008-2011, (general electorates, excluding Christchurch) 0.379
Labour Party vote in 2008 vs change in overall turnout 2008-2011, (general electorates, excluding Christchurch) -0.278

 * A coefficient of 0 means the variables are unrelated. A coefficient of ±1 means there is a perfect relationship.

 What this means

1)      Conservative Party votes in 2011 came overwhelmingly from National (no surprise).

2)      There is an inverse relationship between the increases in NZ First vote in 2011 and the relative performance of National. In other words, the increased NZ First vote was mainly at National’s expense. There was almost zero correlation between the NZ First and Labour vote.

3)      The higher the National vote in 2008, the bigger the decline in turnout in 2011. In other words, it was National voters (more than Labour voters) who stayed home.

I sought corroboration of this finding by listing those general electorates where the turnout decline between the two elections was greater than 6% (on average, the turnout decline was 5.35%).

The electorates were: Botany, Chiristchurch Central, Chch East, Clutha Southland, Dunedin North, ECB, Hamilton East, Helensville, Hunua, Invercargill, Manurewa, North Shore, Northcote, Pakuranga, Whangarei and Wigram.

Of these 16 electorates, 11 had a 2008 National Party party vote greater than the national average for general electorates of 47.3%. With the Christchurch electorates excluded (there being special reasons for turnout decline there) this becomes 11 out of 13 electorates.


Contrary to “received wisdom” it was National that suffered from the reduced turnout in 2011. Additionally, the NZ First vote was boosted primarily by defections from National. Uncontroversially, it is confirmed that Conservative votes came overwhelmingly at National’s expense.

My theory that the above phenomena were a result of complacency in the face of the widespread expectation of National waltzing home with a win remains only a theory. But it is one that fits the facts quite well.

However, it seems to me that if true, the greatest danger for National in 2014 is, again, complacency and a failure of potential supporters to vote for the party (whether by staying home or by risking a vote for other parties that may not meet the threshold criteria or may not support National after the election).

This is a fascinating analysis, backed by hard data, not guesswork.

Labour’s entire strategy seems to be to have abandoned moderate centrist voters on the assumption the non voters last time were primarily Labour voters who just need a reason to turn out.

I agree with the conclusion that National supporters can not be complacent. If National supporters do not turn out in 2014, then Mr Dotcom may be picking the Government.

What if everyone voted

April 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Andrew at Grumpollie does some calculations:

The discussion over at Dim-Post inspired me to have a play with the New Zealand Election Study (NES) data.

Each wave surveys a fairly large sample of voters and a small sample of non-voters. So I was having fun, and I started to wonder what would happen if all the non-voters with a party preference had got out and voted on Election Day.

There are a bunch of caveats to this analysis, including the small sample size and how representative the sample of non-voters was. BUT, if we assume for a moment that the data were broadly representative, then inspiring all non-voters to get out and vote wouldn’t have had a massive impact on the 2011 result.

Andrew calculates that if every non-voter with a preference had voted, then National would have gone up 0.1%, Labour up 1.7%, Greens down 1.0% and NZ First down 0.8%.

So my take on this is that just inspiring a larger turnout won’t necessarily help Labour. In 2008 it would have,but in 2011 it wouldn’t have.

National closes the gender gap

June 6th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting academic paper by Hilde Coffe:

This paper investigates gender differences in voting for the two major parties (Labour and National) and the two main small parties (Green and New Zealand First) at the 2011 New Zealand general election. In contrast to the gender gap found in many post-industrial societies with women being more likely to lean towards the left than men, this study reveals limited differences in party preferences among men and women in New Zealand.

The only substantial gender difference is found in relation to voting for New Zealand First, with women being substantially less supportive of the populist party than men. This gap is robust and remains substantial even when gender differences in socioeconomic characteristics and issue positions related to the role of government, the welfare state and the presence of immigrants are taken into account.

Interestingly, while no gender gap occurs at first sight in support for the mainstream right-wing party National, a gap does arise once gender differences in policy issue positions are controlled for, with women being more likely to support National than men.

As the author states, it is usual for women to vote more left than men. In NZ at the last election, this did not occur. In fact National arguably gets more support from women than men. Why? The obvious answer was the appeal of John Key, but the author included that as a variable – and there was still a difference.

The 2011 general election inquiry

May 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Justice & Electoral Select Committee has (finally) reported back on its inquiry into the 2011 general election. A lot of recommendations to comment on. I’ll cover the major ones.

Examining the merits of a standalone postal vote versus a referendum in conjunction with the general election when making decisions about future public referenda

I think it was a mistake in hindsight to have the MMP referendum with the general election. There was a dearth of coverage in broadcast media on the referendum as it was focused on the election. It would be better for referenda in future to be postal (preferably with an online option also).

Prohibiting electioneering activity on election day, including the wearing of rosettes, lapel badges, ribbons, streamers, and party apparel, other than the wearing of a party rosette by a scrutineer inside a polling station

Not a big issue, but it is silly to have a prohibition on advertising but still allow the above stuff.

Commissioning a review of existing regulations applying to social media on election day, to determine whether they are workable

It got very silly when people were warned that even tweeting about the weather could be an offence as it could discourage some people from voting. The law needs to distinguish between communications aimed at persuading people how to vote, and communications that are just sharing how people voted etc.

The aim of the non-electioneering law on e-day is to stop people being bullied into how to vote. It isn’t meant to stop conversations – even online ones.

Amending the Electoral Act 1993 to ensure that there is a significant penalty to act as a deterrent to failing to file a return in a deliberate attempt to defeat the operation of electoral law

Sensible. The current law encourages parties to file no return, as it is a lesser penalty than a false return.

Amending Part 6 of the Electoral Act 1993 to authorise the Electoral Commission to use an EasyVote card as the record an ordinary vote has been issued and as evidence that a special voter is eligible to vote, and to compile manual or electronic records of who has cast an ordinary or special vote using the EasyVote card or other verification methods

That is a very good idea. An electronic record of who has voted (but not how they voted) would provide invaluable demographic data which could be useful in efforts to increase turnout.

Amending the Electoral Act 1993 to make it clear that the Electoral Commission has the power to recalculate and amend the allocation of list seats for an election as the result of a successful election petition regarding an electorate seat

This is important, albeit unlikely. If (for example) a party got 4% of the vote and lost an electorate seat by 10 votes, then they get no seats in Parliament. If an election petition concluded they actually won the electorate seat then there is no mechanism for them to get the four or five list MPs they would have got if they had been declared winner of the electorate seat initially. This change would remedy that.

Examining the current electoral enforcement provisions to determine whether they are adequate

I’m disappointed this recommendation is not stronger. The Police have shown for three elections in a row that they have no interest in enforcing electoral law, and worse little knowledge of it. Their decisions in 2005 were legally incompetent, and they never acted on scores of referrals in both 2008 and 2011. I will be very upset if no change is made in this area, as it is dangerous to have no effective enforcement of electoral law.

Goff blames lack of photos on 2011 loss!

November 27th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

Phil Goff says newspapers’ biased coverage of last year’s election certainly didn’t help his result.

He led Labour to its worst-ever defeat, and a Massey University expert says he has grounds to feel he was unfairly treated by four of the country’s biggest newspapers.

Associate Professor Claire Robinson has assessed all the images run in those papers in the last month of the campaign, and found John Key’s picture featured 138 times while Mr Goff featured only 80 times.

“It would have substantially helped to have had favourable coverage and greater coverage, and particularly of photos,” said Mr Goff.

Yeah, you lost because there were not enough photos of you!

If Goff thinks Labour would have won if there were more photos of him – why then did his own campaign team decide not to have photos of him on their billboards and hoardings!!! Their campaign strategy was based on promoting Labour, and not promoting Goff, as they knew he was a negative for many people.

John Key launched the “Kicking the Tyres” book reviewing the 2011 election last night. He referred to the aforementioned study, and commented that he may have had more photos of him, than Phil Goff, but most of his were with John Banks and were not necessarily that helpful 🙂

I’ve purchased a copy of the book and am looking forward to reading the various chapters.

UPDATE: Poneke also analyses the study:

Dr Robinson’s research looks flawed because it treats the election campaign as a two-party race between Mr Key and Mr Goff when in fact it was a multi-party contest between National, Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First, ACT, the Maori Party, Peter Dunn and Mana, to name most of the main contenders.

I think that is  valid point. We are no longer in FPP where it is National v Labour. The analysis would be better looking at centre-right v centre-left.

It is also flawed because it examines the content of just four newspapers, whereas the election campaign was a cacophony of coverage by newspapers, television stations, radio stations and countless websites, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

I’m not sure that is a flaw, more a limitation.

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.

2011 election review submission

May 8th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar


About the Submitter

  1. This submission is made by David Farrar in a personal capacity. I would like to appear before the Committee to speak to my submission.

Maori Roll Enrolment

  1. The Electoral Commission has suggested that the “Maori option” be run not after each census, but in the lead up to each election. I strongly oppose changing the Maori option timing from after each census to before each election.
  2. This would encourage tactical enrolments as if a particular seat (either general or Maori) is seen as marginal, parties will encourage their supporters to swap rolls to try and win the seat. This can happen under the status quo, but would be far more likely when the option to swap is done in an election year.
  3. It would also upset the electoral populations. The option is run after every census, so that it can be used to determine electoral populations and hence boundaries. Allowing people to then swap rolls after the boundaries are set could cause some seats to have extremely low or extremely high electoral populations.

Election Day and Advance Voting Restrictions

  1. The Electoral Commission recommends removal of the polling day exemptions for party lapel badges and ribbons and rosettes in party colours. I agree that rosettes and lapel badges could be banned, but would suggest that party scrutineers be given name badges to indicate they are scrutineers not officials.
  2. However I would not remove the exemption for streamers and balloons in party colours. We do not need to have a balloon or ribbon police.
  3. I also oppose the recommendation to prohibit election advertising within 100 metres of an advance voting place. It is unfair to a party or candidate that may have booked a billboard at a location near an advance voting place, but also is impractical. In theory even newspapers with ads in them would have to be removed within 100 metres of an advance voting place.
  4. The likely growing popularity of advance voting, along with the advent of social media, makes the current laws on election day communications somewhat outdated. I suggest a first principles review is done of what harms these restrictions are designed to prevent (such as undue pressure on people as they are about to vote), and then decisions made on what is a sensible level of regulation to minimize or prevent these harms.

Electronic Voting

  1. I note that it is proposed that some local Councils will trial e-voting for the 2013 local body elections, and then in 2016 possibly have e-voting available for all local body elections. If this is concluded sensibly, then it may be possible to look at an e-voting option for the 2017 or 2020 general election.
  2. As an interim step, I support the Electoral Commission intention to allow overseas voters to deliver their votes to the Electoral Commission over the Internet.

Allocation of List MPs

  1. I agree with the recommendation that the High Court should be able to direct the Electoral Commission to recalculate the allocation of list seats, as a result of a successful electoral petition.
  2. It would also be sensible to allow the High Court to direct the Electoral Commission to recalculate the allocation of list seats as the result of a by-election held immediately after the general election as a result of a candidate dying. This removes the incentive for a party to put up a dying candidate in a “strategic” seat.

Election Returns

  1. I agree that a party or candidate who refuses to file a return should be able to be prosecuted for a corrupt practice. This removes the incentive to file no return rather than a false return.
  2. However I would go in the other direction for late returns, and make this a minor infringement that results in an automatic modest fine (like filing your tax return late). It is silly to involve the Police in such minor issues.

Broadcasting Act

  1. I agree with the Electoral Commission that the definitions of election programmes and election advertisements in competing Acts should be harmonized. My preference would be to remove the electoral broadcasting sections from the Broadcasting Act, and have then in the Electoral Act.
  2. I repeat my earlier submissions than the ban on political parties purchasing their own broadcasting time is outdated and an unjustified restriction of free speech. Worse, it means that different parties have different effective spending limits as a party allocated less broadcasting spend than another, is unable to close that gap.

Role of the Police

  1. I have advocated for over six years that the Police should be removed from their current role of prosecuting electoral breaches. I am pleased to see the Electoral Commission effectively come to the same conclusion.
  2. In 2005 their investigations of electoral law breaches was arguably incompetent. Extremely basic errors in law were made, where they ignored strict liability and confused the difference between spending limits and who can authorize and advertisement.
  3. In both 2008 and 2011 they did not investigate alleged offences in a timely manner. In fact we still do not know their conclusions on offences they were referred to them almost a year ago. I do not blame them for prioritizing other crimes ahead of electoral offences, but it is wrong that there is no timely and effective enforcement of electoral law.
  4. I propose that the Committee recommend to the Government that they agree in principle that the Police be removed as the enforcement agency for electoral law, and that they consult on the preferred replacement model.


  1. It seems silly that every time the Government and Parliament wants a referendum they have to pass a special Act of Parliament to hold it, and decide each time what spending and other restrictions are appropriate.
  2. I support the creation of an Electoral Referendum Act that will set out the laws for all future referenda.
  3. The ERA could supersede the CIR Act by specifying the two methods of triggering a referendum are by way of petition (the CIR route) or resolution of the House of Representatives.

Date of Election

  1. The early announcement of the election date was very beneficial both for election administration, and for creating a level playing field for all parties.
  2. Based on this success, I believe it would be beneficial for the date of the general election to be fixed as being the last Saturday in November.
  3. If in future a Government feels it has lost the majority of the House, then it would be incumbent on the House to find a new Government which has its confidence.

Communications from MPs

  1. A number of MPs were referred to the Police for unauthorized election advertisements. As MPs will be aware, the authorization requirements apply over the entire three year election cycle – not just in the regulated period.
  2. It is useful to consider the reason we have authorization statements – to make clear who is behind an advertisement. It is a transparency requirement.
  3. The nature of parliamentary communications is that some of them will always be political in nature and hence possibly an election advertisement. This means MPs at present need to either refer all communications to the Electoral Commission, or stick authorization statements on everything they publish.
  4. I believe that a simple solution would be to amend the Electoral Act to state that outside the regulated period, any publication put out in the name of a Member of Parliament, is deemed to be authorized by that Member of Parliament and does not need a promoter statement.

Minor authorisation breaches

  1. In many cases where there has been a referral to the Police for the lack of a promoter statement, the breach has been technical rather than substantive – the identity of the promoter has still been very clear. I believe this is very different to a case where advertisements are done anonymously in an attempt to hide their promoter.
  2. It would be sensible to allow the Electoral Commission to levy a small infringement fine for minor breaches, rather than require it to be considered in details by a prosecutorial authority, and possibly waste court time.


  1. The donations regime seems to generally be working well. However it would be a boost to transparency to lower the level at which donations must be disclosed within 10 days from $30,000 to $15,000 – which is the disclosure level for annual returns. This should simplify requirements for political parties, and allow scrutiny of significant donations in a more timely fashion.
  2. Political parties are having to track any donation above $15,000 anyway, so reporting them as they occur should not pose any difficulty. Perhaps the requirement to report within 10 days could be altered to reporting monthly, say by the 20th of each month for the previous month.
  3. It could also be worth requiring near-instant disclosure (say within three working days) for the month before the election. In 2008 two parties received very large donations just before the election and did not disclose them until after the election.
  4. I would also submit that the ability to make anonymous donations through the Electoral Commission should be removed. A donor can donate up to $15,000 a year without public disclosure, which is sufficient for those wishing to donate without publicity. I am skeptical that the identities of those who donate anonymously through the Electoral Commission are a total mystery to the recipient parties. While it is a much more rigorous regime than the Local Electoral Act, it is difficult to have confidence that the identity of the donor is not able to be logically deduced from previous conversations with a party.

Thank you for considering this submission, and I look forward to appearing.


David Farrar

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%.

Green candidates getting Green votes

January 30th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

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

This isn’t split voting, but it is still interesting to look at. Generally a Green candidate has no chance of winning the seat, so a high level of votes for a Green candidate from their own supporters tends to indicate their high personal standing with their own supporters. It also tends to happen more in seats where they are not marginal.


% of Gre PV voting Gre EV
Coromandel 71.8%
Ilam 57.5%
Northland 55.7%
Taranaki-King Country 55.1%
Hunua 53.6%
Clutha Southland 52.1%
Selwyn 52.0%
Kaikoura 51.7%
Waitaki 50.3%
East Coast Bays 49.6%
Helensville 48.1%
Rongotai 48.0%
Whangarei 47.3%
Tamaki 46.9%
Dunedin North 46.7%
Rodney 45.7%
Waikato 45.4%
Invercargill 43.6%
Taupo 42.2%
Wairarapa 42.1%
Papakura 41.9%
Tauranga 41.8%
Hutt South 41.7%
Mangere 40.2%
North Shore 39.3%
East Coast 39.0%
Tukituki 38.4%
Dunedin South 36.7%
Rangitikei 36.4%
Nelson 35.2%
Wigram 31.4%
Rangitata 31.3%
Te Atatu 31.0%
Mana 30.9%
New Lynn 30.5%
Maungakiekie 30.1%
Northcote 29.9%
Waitakere 29.6%
Mt Roskill 29.5%
Wellington Central 28.9%
Port Hills 28.9%
Christchurch Central 28.5%
Otaki 28.4%
Whanganui 27.5%
West Coast Tasman 26.8%
Rimutaka 26.1%
Mt Albert 26.0%
Epsom 24.7%
Hamilton East 23.9%
Napier 23.6%
Waimakariri 22.8%
Christchurch East 22.4%
Auckland Central 21.6%
Ohariu 21.2%
New Plymouth 21.2%
Palmerston North 20.8%

Catherine Delahunty in Coromandel got a very high 72% of Green voters also giving her their electorate vote. Next was Kennedy Graham in Ilam with 58%. Pauline Evans in Northland also did well with 56%.

The six seats where the Green candidate got under 23% of Green party voters voting for them were Palm North, New Plymouth, Ohariu, Auckland Central, Chch East and Waimakariri – all bar one reasonably marginal seats.

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.

National candidates picking up Green voters

January 26th, 2012 at 9:28 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 National candidate.

It is worth noting that not all electorates are equal. Where a seat had a Green MP as a candidate, few Green voters voted for the National candidate. Also in seats where Labour were trying to win the seat, many Greens voted tactically for the Labour candidate.

% of Gre PV voting Nat EV Nat
Epsom 54.3%
Botany 34.5%
Bay of Plenty 33.5%
Pakuranga 33.0%
Tauranga 28.5%
Helensville 28.0%
Maungakiekie 25.6%
Papakura 25.3%
Taupo 24.9%
Hamilton West 24.7%
Clutha Southland 24.4%
Selwyn 23.4%
Rangitata 21.2%
Northcote 20.9%
Whangarei 20.8%
Tukituki 20.0%
Rotorua 20.0%
Waitaki 19.6%
Rangitikei 19.5%
Tamaki 19.4%
Hunua 19.3%
North Shore 19.3%
Nelson 18.6%
Whanganui 18.3%
East Coast Bays 18.2%
Waikato 18.2%
Napier 18.1%
Taranaki-King Country 18.1%
Hamilton East 17.6%
Invercargill 17.0%
Ilam 16.8%
Otaki 16.5%
Kaikoura 16.0%
Manurewa 15.4%
Northland 13.4%
Waitakere 13.0%
New Plymouth 12.7%
Mana 12.1%
Auckland Central 11.6%
Wairarapa 11.3%
Waimakariri 11.2%
Christchurch Central 11.1%
Rodney 10.9%
East Coast 8.3%
Rimutaka 8.0%
Coromandel 7.8%
Palmerston North 7.7%
Christchurch East 7.5%
Wigram 7.4%
Port Hills 7.2%
Mt Roskill 6.4%
Dunedin North 5.9%
Te Atatu 5.8%
Manukau East 5.7%
New Lynn 5.7%
Mangere 5.5%
Dunedin South 5.4%
Hutt South 5.4%
Ohariu 4.7%
West Coast Tasman 4.1%
Wellington Central 3.5%
Mt Albert 3.4%
Rongotai 2.7%

Epsom at the top is again no surprise, and represents tactical voting. It is interesting that more Green voters tactically voted than Labour voters. In hindsight standing Parker in Epsom was a mistake.

In seven other seats, the National candidate got more than 25% of Green voters.

The seat where the National candidate did best with Green voters, but did not win the seat was (excepting Epsom) Manurewa with 15.4%.

The seat where the National candidate got elected but got the fewest Green votes was Coromandel with 7.8%. Green MP Catherine Delahunty stood there.

The overall bottom seat for Greens voting for the National candidate was Rongotai where Russel Norman stood.

National candidates picking up Labour voters

January 25th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The table below lists in order what percentage of people who gave Labour their party vote, gave their electorate vote to the National candidate. To some degree this measures the cross-party appeal of a candidate.

It is worth noting that not all electorates are equal. In seats which are safe National, it is no big thing for a Labour voter to give their electorate vote to the National MP. In seats which are marginal, and Labour was trying to win, you get fewer Labour voters splitting their votes.

% of Lab PV voting Nat EV
Epsom 35.5%
Nelson 12.3%
Tauranga 11.0%
Bay of Plenty 10.8%
Selwyn 9.8%
Helensville 9.8%
Whangarei 9.5%
Clutha Southland 9.2%
Pakuranga 9.0%
Botany 8.9%
Northcote 8.5%
Hamilton East 8.1%
Waitaki 8.1%
Taupo 7.9%
Ilam 7.8%
Papakura 7.0%
Whanganui 6.6%
Taranaki-King Country 6.3%
Rangitikei 6.0%
Maungakiekie 6.0%
Hunua 6.0%
East Coast Bays 5.9%
Rangitata 5.6%
Otaki 5.6%
Northland 5.5%
Invercargill 5.3%
Tukituki 4.9%
Kaikoura 4.8%
North Shore 4.7%
Rotorua 4.7%
Waikato 4.5%
Tamaki 4.3%
Napier 4.2%
Waitakere 3.8%
Hamilton West 3.7%
Auckland Central 3.4%
Mana 3.1%
Wairarapa 3.0%
Rodney 2.6%
New Plymouth 2.5%
Waimakariri 2.4%
Coromandel 2.4%
East Coast 2.3%
Christchurch Central 2.1%
Dunedin North 2.0%
Palmerston North 1.6%
Christchurch East 1.5%
West Coast Tasman 1.4%
Port Hills 1.4%
Ohariu 1.3%
Manukau East 1.1%
Rimutaka 1.1%
Hutt South 1.1%
Wigram 1.0%
Manurewa 1.0%
Wellington Central 0.9%
Rongotai 0.8%
Mt Albert 0.8%
Te Atatu 0.8%
Dunedin South 0.8%
New Lynn 0.7%
Mt Roskill 0.7%
Mangere 0.4%

Okay no surprise that Epsom tops the list, as Labour voters there were voting strategically. The surprise, if any, is that only 36% of them voted strategically.

Nick Smith in Nelson gets the most support after that from Labour voters, followed by Simon Bridges in Tauranga and Tony Ryall in the Bay of Plenty.

In 26 of 63 seats, National candidates had 5% or more of Labour voters give then the candidate vote.

The seat which got the most Labour people voting for the National candidate, that National did not win, was Mana with 3.1%.

And the seat which National did win, with the lowest level of Labour party voters splitting their vote was Christchurch Central at 2.1%.

In eight seats, the National candidate attracted less than 1% of Labour party voters. The bottom three were Mangere, Mt Roskill and New Lynn.

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

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.

A reader braves the words of Kat

December 5th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader e-mails me:

I’ve been enjoying your herald columns – noticed that you almost always attract comments from “kat” who I always imagine is a kind of desperate and slightly unhinged cat-lady type of person (probably totally inaccurate and certainly unfair of me, but her breathless, vitriolic, and wildly optimistic writing style somehow seems to lend that kind of impression….)

Anyways, I went through her 240-odd comments over the last year or so and pulled out some of her best work, so here for your enjoyment, is “Kat: Redux”….

PS – no comments since her last one on Nov 25 – funny that…

A brave man to go back and read all of Kat’s comments. She seems to sit all day on the newspaper sites waiting for a new post, so she can be first to denounce you and pronounce victory for the left.

I’ll post below his amusing summary of Kat’s utterings, but thought it could be amusing to have a wee challenge for readers. How about going to certain blog sites and extracting the most hilarious quotes – you know the ones – that insisted the Horizon poll was right, insisted Labour would win etc etc. Post them in comments below and I’ll try and blog the best of them. The more arrogant and confident the prediction, the better.

Kat (New Zealand)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Goff will be PM after the election.

Equality will be the main game. The way NZ used to be before the Vandals arrived will slowly return. Roll on election day.

Kat (New Zealand)

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Lets do a bit of ‘someone else’s money gambling’ now eh Garth?

Key is dog tucker come December. Goff will be PM. Care to gamble? go on, bet against me, be like wee keyboy, or are you just full of hot air, as usual.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Playing devils advocate Kerre?

. Key is certainly coming across as the petulant child by exhibiting his naive arrogance with regards Winston. The people will decide who is the govt. Key will be licking his wounds in Hawaii come next Christmas.

Kat (New Zealand)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Money is made round to go around.

All this talk of ‘middle class’ getting something they shouldn’t is a nonsense. National are reverting to type, they have no plan and never did other than slash and burn if the going gets tough. How bad do things really have to get before this inept govt led by its Alice in Wonderland PM is finally consigned to the political wilderness? The election in November will be about substance over style. Good riddance to the rat swallower’s and their Act thug mate.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

What will really blow all this nonsense out of the water is when Goff becomes PM in November.

History repeats itself on many occasions and I sniff a repeat of the Muldoon/Rowling rise & fall in the mid 1970’s.

Only this time MMP is going to end it for National rather than the phoney cossacks that rolled Labour at the time. The constant attempts to destabilise Goff will ultimately backfire but in a round about way. The electorate in November will be voting for anyone other than the current merchants of despair; Act, National and the Maori Party.

Roll on November.

Kat (New Zealand)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Same old, same old.

Goff as opposition leader does not have to win the election, Key will lose it. Govts are voted out. Wasn’t that the most publicised story with Clark? Stay tuned Audrey and you may get a surprise lesson in political science come November.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Roll on November.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Key is a one trick pony, always has been, with no plan other than self adulation.

He and his bunch of tricksters will be thrown out in November. I for one don’t care that he has no clothes, the weather is warm in Hawaii.

Kat (New Zealand)

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Your a well know right wing supporter Mr Farrar so why is it not surprising your comments are so pro National to the extent you use bogus poll results as the benchmark for your opinions.
November the 26 is the real poll and get ready to be surprised, very surprised.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Quite simply Fran we won’t have acceptable youth employment until we next get a Labour govt.

Nationals tinkering and blatant election grabbing media bites is never going to solve the problem. Its up to the people of this country and how they vote on November 26 that will determine the foreseeable future. God defend NZ will certainly be an appropriate anthem if we are delivered another term of National.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 8:35 AM

What is bizarre is articles like this that continue to tell everyone that Goff and Labour are history.

National and in particular Key has had and continues to have the near full adoration from the media and that has an effect. Throw enough mud and some will stick.

This election is about Asset sales and the selling of NZ. Its about a poor performing economy. Its about the ever widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Its about a govt that has no plan. Its also about substance vs style.

The media just love the celebrity style of Key and that is where Goff is given a raw deal. Goff will make an excellent PM, he is well qualified for the position from experience. Goff has a genuine heart for the people. Goff is the real deal.

Kat (New Zealand)

Friday, September 2, 2011 at 12:47 PM

More push polling Mr Farrar.

We are not stupid. The assets that National intend selling are strategic. Also your ‘insert’ mentioning Phil Goff and asset sales from the 1980’s is a cheap shot to further slur his name. Your articles are becoming more and more biased and only serve as feel good fodder for dyed in the wool National/Act supporters.

Kat (New Zealand)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Woodham can’t be taken seriously when she cutely refers to the Prime Ministers lie and misleading parliament with ‘dropping the ball’ and then on one hand chastising Labour for ‘throwing money at desperate people from an ever-diminishing number of taxpayers’ yet not mentioning Nationals tax cuts which was clearly throwing money at wealthy people from an ever-diminishing number of taxpayers.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Well its never too late Matt, better get on your bike and have all those 250,000 voters that didn’t vote for Labour in 2008 vote in 2011.

Thats what will win it for Labour, turnout!

And what about the current Horizon polling?

Kat (New Zealand)

Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Mr Farrar, if your beloved ‘Brand Key’ is able to cobble together a right wing coalition following the election how long do you give that administration before it implodes?

The media, after stroking the ‘Brand Key’ dog for 3 years, will ultimately punish the dog that has now bit it. Although disastrous for the country if ‘Brand Key’ returns it would be poetic justice, in a way to see the sycophantic media devour its own pet and suffer the obvious digestive rejection.

Roll on November 26.

Kat (New Zealand)

Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

‘Ultimately, National’s lead in the polls is such that this will be a minor bump in its campaign.

Not according to recent polls that you the media live. And the latest Horizon poll in particular sees Brand Key booted out.

Oh that was fun.

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%.

A minor skite

November 28th, 2011 at 11:28 am by David Farrar

In 2008 the day before the election I was drinking in Auckland with Matt McCarten and Chris Trotter and half the UNITE union. We had a sweepstake on the election results, and I am pleased to say I won it!

In 2011 the day before the election I was drinking in Wellington with Mark Unsworth and various associates of Saunders Unsworth. Again there was an results sweepstake, and I am pleased to say again I won it. My predictions for seats for the four main parties was:

  • National 60 (got 60)
  • Labour 35 (got 34)
  • Greens 13 (got 13)
  • NZ First 7 (got 8 )

I also earlier this year won the hotly contested (100 or so participants) Saunders Unsworth Super 15 rugby sweeps, picking the positions of the teams closest each week. That one I am very proud of, as polls don’t help much when it comes to rugby!

Combine that with a wonderful series of payouts on iPredict based on the election results (I’ll blog in detail once we have final results, but let’s just say I am a very happy chap) and overall a good year. I am thinking of starting up an astrology and fortune telling business on the side 🙂


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.