NZ government 2017: Labour-led

I am just digesting the news. This is quite remarkable. Jacinda Ardern has been leader of the Labour Party for not even three months, and now she is about to be PM.


(Some of you have already been doing so, at the election thread.)

31 thoughts on “NZ government 2017: Labour-led

  1. Pretty meteoric rise for someone who was a “shadow MP” (list MP who lost a constituency but “shadowed” the elected MP) just 7 months ago.

    • From a different perspective, counting the time from when she entered Parliament until she became PM, she matches David Cameron but took longer than John Key or Justin Trudeau.

      • … and Kevin Rudd, joining Ardern and Cameron at 9 years an MP before becoming PM, after Trudeau (7 years) and Key (6 years) — all of them becoming Opposition leaders.

        Taking over after a PM resigns while in office generally is a longer slog, ranging in ‘recent’ times from 11 years for John Major, through 15 years for Paul Martin, 24 years for Gordon Brown and 26 years for Bill English. An exception was Kim Campbell, who began her 18 weeks as PM after only 5 years as an MP.

      • Dave, don’t forget Labour Prime Minister, David Lange (pronounced, *Long*-ee, with a short ‘o’). He entered parliament upon winning the Mangere by-election held on 26 March 1977, and was sworn in as prime minister on 26 July 1984, just seven years and four months later.

  2. The Labour leaders since Clarke have been an insipid bunch, and Ardern has been at the forefront of the next generation for some time. Clarke’s succession planning had no staying power.

    • In fact, setting aside the Māori Electorates (where National – and NZ First for that matter – does not stand candidates), in the General Electorates, 22.24% of NZ First party voters gave their Electorate vote to the Labour candidate, and 23.93% to the National candidate – an almost exact reversal of the All-Electorates figures.

      Astonishingly, however, in the General Electorates, 44.20% of NZ First party voters did not split their two votes, even though Winston was the only NZ First candidate who could possibly have won an Electorate contest. By comparison, 24.44% did not split their votes in 2014 (37.04% split their votes to Labour candidates; 20.50% to National candidates), and 20.72% did not split their votes in 2011 (42.91% split their votes to Labour candidates; 18.10% to National candidates).

      So, I wonder why NZ First party voters abandoned Labour candidates in significant numbers, in favour of NZ First candidates, rather than in favour of National candidates? What on earth was so different about 2017, compared to 2014 and 2011?

      I’m now going to read The Spinoff article Errol has linked us to. Perhaps that has an explanation.

      • Part of the reason for decline in New Zealand First/Labour split votes could be because NZF had nearly double the number of electorate candidates in 2017 than than it had in 2014. For the electorates with a NZF candidate in 2017 but not in 2014, there typically was only a small change in the split going to National, but a 10-30% drop in the split to Labour in 2017.

        That would be a reduction of order 10%, accounting for one half of the observed drop in NZF->Labour splits.

      • Thanks for that, Dave. A very obvious contributing factor that I had completely overlooked.

      • Having viewed NZ election results only for a short time and from another hemisphere, I am puzzled by a different question: why *do* NZ First supporters split their votes rather than cast more “Party only” votes? In an electorate where history and polling predict that one candidate will get 60% of the votes, why bother to vote for any other sure-to-lose candidate?

        In the 2017 election in 14 of the General electorates the winning candidate got more than 60% of the votes. Yet overall only 1.5% of ballots were “Party vote only”. Just 3 out of 16 parties had more than 3% of their supporters vote in that manner. Is it a carry-over from FPTP when the nominal vote was all you had? some form of signaling, indicating a second preference?

        Admittedly, this is not simply a mirror of the question: why *don’t* all NZ First supporters split their votes? Voting for your party’s local candidate may be a show of loyalty and solidarity. That could be why the 806 Old Believers of Social Credit voted for the local Socred candidate 23% of the time?

      • “[W]hy *do* NZ First supporters split their votes rather than cast more “Party only” votes?”

        Dave, we have two votes and the overwhelming majority of us want to, and, as you have noted, jolly well do, use them.

        My specialty is STV (in large multimember electorates). I’m no expert in why people behave / act the way they do, but, MMP was sold to us on the basis of us being able to vote for the party we most want in parliament, and, separately, for the candidate we most want to represent us in our respective electoral districts. As we have shown in eight MMP elections – most especially minor party supporters – we fully appreciate that that does not necessarily mean “two ticks National”, “two ticks Labour”, etc.

        Winston aside, NZ First party voters know the NZ FIrst candidate in their respective electorates will not win, but they still want to have their say as to who *will* win. Therefore, in addition to voting for the candidate they genuinely consider is most likely to best represent them (if only because that candidate, almost always being National or Labour, will likely have more resources to do so), many people simply do not want to cast a “wasted” vote, so they vote for the candidate who they know is most likely to win (if only because of the power of incumbency).

        “Is it a carry-over from FPTP when the nominal vote was all you had? some form of signaling, indicating a second preference?” Carry-over? Very likely. Indicating a second preference? Most likely; after all, surely we vote in the hope that the party / candidate we vote for will both be in government together. Having said that, however, my thoughts in the preceding paragraph take precedence over those in this paragraph.

        Ultimately, I suppose only the political scientists can answer your questions.

      • We were discussing split voting with friends after dinner last night, most of us had done so, for differing reasons. All recognised that the Party Vote was the one that matters (Epsom is about 1km from us). Primarily it was not liking the Electorate candidate for the party we had voted for (three different Electorates involved) – we then selected the candidate who we most wished to give additional influence to.

    • Well, that was disappointing. Interesting, but disappointing.

      The paragraph starting with “A quick refresher…”, is quite wrong. The NZ ballot paper lists the parties on the left-hand side, and the candidates on the right-hand side. This paragraph should read—

      “A quick refresher. Under MMP, each voter gets two votes: a party vote to decide how many seats each political party gets in parliament, and an electorate vote to choose their local member of parliament. Most people give both votes to the same party. A split vote is when a person votes for a party but not for that party’s electoral candidate. In the 2017 General Election, 27.3% of voters split their votes — a drop from 31.6% in 2014.”

      This description matches the Split Vote Reports linked to, above.

      • What if every voter split their vote in an MMP system? What would happen to the election result? The sky would crack and fall.

        Is it worth having two votes in an MMP system if voters don’t split their vote? or does it cause more problems when voters do the splits?

        I always wonder what would happen if there was a two round MMP system where the first round is the electorate round single member district plurality, and the second is the List PR or one could do vice versa, would voters be more likely to split? Would voters change how they vote strategically with time between the two rounds? This is a thought experiment.

      • Rob, I assume these, and many of your other, questions, are rhetorical. After all, you must surely realise that no-one is going to spend considerable time (time that is lost to them forever) responding to them.

        But, just for fun, here goes (briefly, and for just this *one* time only)–

        “The sky would crack and fall.” No, it wouldn’t. The Electorate candidates would be elected, and the Party vote would still ensure each party that exceeded the threshold would be allocated its proper number of seats. As I pointed out to Errol at the “Election” thread, it is not possible for the NZ parliament (for example) to have much more than 123 members; perhaps one more, max.

        The following two paras are just silly. As Kiwis have very clearly shown, voters switching from *many* years of FPP voting, to MMP, *will* split their votes. As far as I’m aware, NZ is the only country to willingly switch (and then to necessarily transition) from FPP to MMP. (NB: Germany went from Party List, then dictatorship, to MMP.)

        Your “thought experiment” is entirely impractical. The two votes are completely separate. An FPP election one Saturday, followed by a Party Vote election (in NZ, it would have to be three) weeks later (as if such nonsense would ever happen; think, Special Votes!), would still result in the Party Vote outcome determining the number of seats each party is allocated.

        “Would voters change how they vote strategically with time between the two rounds?” No, they wouldn’t. If I’m a Labour voter and I know that National won 41 (out of 64 (71)) seats three weeks previously, is that fact going to stop me Party Voting Labour in the second round? Of course not.

        The reverse is also the case. If I know that National won 44.45% of the Party Vote in the first round of voting, is that fact going to stop me from voting for the Labour candidate in my electorate three weeks later? Again, of course not.

    • So there isn’t a plan to change either the 1-electorate waiver or the 5% threshold? I vaguely remember there was a commission some time ago that recommended eliminating the 1-electorate waiver and lowering the threshold to 4%. Did any of Labour, NZF or Greens have any official position on those recommendations at that time or any time since then?

      • Yes, the 2012 Electoral Commission Review did indeed make those recommendations, but the Minister of Justice at the time, Judith Collins, wriggled out of it on the basis that there was no concensus in parliament for the changes – in much the same way Justin Trudeau abandoned electoral reform in Canada. Both these examples of political expedience were utterly disgraceful.

        I didn’t hear a word about the thresholds during the campaign, so I would say that, currently, the governing parties have no official position on the 2012 recommendations. Of course, if they do introduce legislation to adopt the recommendations, National and ACT will say (scream) that the government is tilting the electoral playing field in favour of themselves.

        Personally (and being realistic), I would like to see the threshold reduced to 4%, with the “1-electorate waiver” retained. No-one could argue against that. Being unrealistic, I would actually like to see the threshold reduced to 2.5% (3 guaranteed seats) and the 1-electorate waiver removed.

  3. Practicalities of coalition (plus confidence-and-supply agreement) – The Greens will give their Parliamentary Questions to National, unless they want to bash up the Govt on something themselves.
    “The Green Party will give its questions during Question Time to the Opposition to help it hold the Government, which it is a part of, to account.
    Greens co-leader James Shaw announced the move today, saying it was an end to ‘patsy’ questions from the Greens. Patsy questions are ones designed to allow an answer on how great the Government is.

    The only exception would when if the Greens wanted to ask questions to hold the Government to account of matters outside of the ministerial portfolios that Green MPs hold, which is allowed within its confidence and supply agreement with Labour.”

  4. Quite drastic, isn’t it? As in, if you don’t like asking patsy questions, don’t ask them? Ask questions related to your portfolios, so your minister answers them. Kiwiblog mentioned that most days it will add a question to the eight or so that National have.

  5. NZ redistricting (which is timed off the normally 5-yearly census) could be impacted by delay in Census results. The delay is due to a high non-response rate, which current procedures are not designed to deal with.
    At least the practical impact on the political process is much smaller than under FPTP. The impact on things like health funding is much more significant.

  6. Pingback: New Zealand to have referendum questions on 2020 ballot, potentially including “tweaks” to MMP | Fruits and Votes

  7. Pingback: New Zealand 2020 preview | Fruits and Votes

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