What seats will Labour be left with?

As to be expected under MMP, most focus in on the party vote. But electorates are also important to parties. It hurt badly to lose 10 to in 2005.

Currently National and Labour have 31 seats each. And they got almost the same share of the electorate vote in 2005 – 40.38% for National and 40.35% for Labour.

Now seats never quite fall in a linear way, but one can apply a linear swing to majorities, to get some idea of what seats may fall to National if the current continue.

The last Colmar Brunton poll has the electorate vote for National at 48% and for Labour at 35%. This is a relative increase in National’s EV of 19% and a relative drop for Labour of 13%.

So which seats (new boundaries have been taken into account) would on paper go to National, if that was the linear swing on the electorate vote?

  • Auckland Central (Tizard) by 160 votes
  • Hamilton West (Gallagher) by 3,501 votes
  • New Plymouth (Duynhoven) by 1 (yes 1) vote
  • Otaki (Hughes) by 5,155 votes
  • Palmerston North by 506 votes
  • Rotorua (Chadwick) by 4,558 votes
  • Taupo (Burton) by 5,700 votes
  • West Coast-Tasman (O’Connor) by 3,274 votes

That would reduce Labour to 23 seats. But a Marae Digi-poll out on Sunday had the Maori Party ahead in all seven Maori seats. If they pick up the other three, then Labour would be down to just 20 electorate seats out of 70.

So is that the worse case scenario? Well no. This is based on a poll which has National ahead of Labour by just 13% in the EV. The previous CB poll had Nat 55% EV and Lab 33%. If that (unlikely) result had a linear application, how many more seats would fall:

  • Hutt South (Mallard)
  • Mana (Laban)
  • Maungakiekie
  • Port Hills (Dyson)
  • Waimakariri (Cosgrove)

Also Rimutaka and Waitakere (Pillay) get reduced to under 500 vote majorities for Labour. If they also got taken on a bad swing, Labour would be reduced to 13 electorate seats.

Now these are not predictions by any means – it is just a linear application of poll results. There is no way anyone will be winning Otaki by 5,000 votes. I expect Nathan Guy and Darren Hughes to have a very close contest. They are both good MPs. The retirement of Steve Maharey might make Palmerston North very interesting.

Labour will have an interesting challenge with their list rankings. They want to rejuvenate and have some new MPs after the election. So one might expect they won’t automatically put sitting MPs at the top of the list. However if they do not protect sitting MPs, then quite a few of them could end up out of Parliament.

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