National’s Loss The Country’s Gain?

It’s good that they don’t have a simple majority, for democracy. Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader

Final results deny Key his majority

By Roger Childs

Russel NormanNational down one, Greens up one and Labour’s Andrew Little keeps his list seat – these are the key outcomes of the final election count. With the addition of special votes, John Key no longer has an outright majority, but will be able to rely on the three MPs from the puppet right wing minor parties.

The Greens now have the same number of members as in the previous parliament, which is a good result from an election where the trend went against the left. With former Party President, Andrew Little, now safely through the door, there could be another hat in the ring for the Labour leadership.

The quirks of getting a majority under MMP

Election 2014The election night results gave John Key a National majority in parliament: 61 out of 121 seats. But this was with only 48% of the party vote; hardly a democratic situation. However the quirks of the MMP system mean that if minor party representatives win electorate seats but only have a minuscule proportion of the party vote, there is an ”overhang” beyond the prescribed 6o electorate MPs + 60 list MPs.

The additional seat is because United Future won one electorate seat but was not entitled to any seats under the party vote. Electoral Commission website

Special votes significant

There were nearly 331,000 special votes; 13.5% of the total legal ballots. Against the election day trend, the parties of the left benefited at the expense of National.

The final party vote percentages saw

  • National down slightly to 47.04 %
  • Labour up slightly to 25.13%
  • Greens up slightly to 10.70%

KeyNational has already signed deals with the minor right wing parties – ACT, Maori Party and United Future – which will ensure that it has majority support for its legislative programme.

The leaders of these very small groups, none of which gained 1.5% of the party vote, also have a share of the baubles of office:

~ Peter Dunne: Minister of Internal Affairs
~ Te Ururoa Flavell: Minister of Maori Development and Whanau Ora
~ David Seymour: Under Secretary to the Minister of Education.

However they sit outside the main cabinet which is a  National closed shop.

Some interesting election statistics

  • Advanced voting proved popular with anyone being able to cast their ballot in the two and a half weeks before election day. Over 700,000 took advantage of this convenient option, more than twice the number who did so in 2011.
  • The freeing up of advanced voting was probably a factor in the overall percentage of voters: 77.9% compared with 74.2% in 2011.
  • Of the six minuscule also-ran parties, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party with 10,861 votes and Ban1080 with 5113, did best. United Future once had several MPs in parliament, but this year could only attract 5286 party votes.

Sadly,  about a million people did not exercise their democratic right in September (see Andy’s latest cartoon). This has prompted the Electoral Commission to investigate the possibility of an online option in the future.