Graeme Edgeler has calculated what Parliament would look like if there was no 5% threshold. It would be:
New Zealand National Party – 55 seats
New Zealand Labour Party – 41 seats
The Greens – 8 seats
New Zealand First Party – 5 seats
Māori Party – 5 seats
Act New Zealand – 4 seats
Jim Anderton’s Progressive – 1 seat
United Future New Zealand – 1 seat
The Kiwi Party – 1 seat
The Bill and Ben Party – 1 seat
Now you need 62 seats to be Government. So a centre-right group would be:
National 55 + ACT 4 + United Future 1 + Kiwi Party 1 = 61/122 – not quite there
And centre-left could be:
Labour 41 + Greens 8 + NZ First 5 + Progressive 1 + Maori 5 = 60/122
So the Government would be decided by the Bill and Ben Party. They would either be the swing vote on every law in a centre-right Government, or they would force new elections by hanging the Parliament at 61 each.
This illustrates nicely why those who call for there to be no threshold needs to see a psychiatrist!
I actually support lowering the threshold to 4% as the Royal Commission recommended, but I don’t fancy a system where almost inevitably the balance of power is held by 1% fringe parties.