The left’s plan to win despite getting less votes

Laila Harre details how the left plans to win the election, even if they get less party votes.

Union secretary told delegates the Greens and the had been “our strongest backers” on key issues such as ending lower pay for young people and keeping shops closed at Easter, with Labour “a very close second” on both issues.

In a closed session with the MPs afterwards, she said the only way to prevent a National-led Government, based on an average of recent polls, was for the Maori Party to win all seven , creating an “” above the 120 MPs elected through proportional representation.

But it would then be critical for the Maori Party to use its seats to keep Labour in power.

Under FPP Governments sometimes got formed that had less popular vote than the Opposition. But FPP was not a proportional voting system. It was not meant to reflect a national vote – it was a series of local contests.

MMP is very different. It would be outraegous for a Government to be formed that got less party votes than the Opposition as its main virture is proportionality. I’m not talking just the two big parties here, but the combined vote.

Take this election result based just on party vote:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% – 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ – 47% – 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% – 2 seats

There are 120 seats normally so National/ACT/United would form a Government having got 51% of the vote and 62/120.

But Laila Harre’s plan for the left is for the Maori Party to win all seven seats, despite a party vote that entitles them to just two seats, creating an overhang of five seats. Then you have:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% – 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ – 47% – 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% – 7 seats

Now the Maori Party would have two choices here. Support the parties that got 51% of the vote or go with Labour (as Laila wants) so that they get 63/125 seats despite getting 2% less votes than the Opposition.

This would give Labour a fourth term. It would also spark such a backlash that I suspect both MMP and the Maori seats would disappear within a decade.

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