The Dim-Post

March 3, 2011

Conspiracy theory of the day

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:59 am

Felix at NewsTalkZB tweets:

Hone Harawira to hold meetings over the next 2-4 weeks about forming new political party.

Now I think the split between Harawira and the rest of the party is genuine. But there is a pretty great opportunity to use the Maori seats to rort the system: if you had two Maori Parties, one that ran electoral candidates in six out of the seven electorates and only canvased for electorate votes, and another that had a safe seat in the seventh electorate and only canvased for party list votes in the other regions then you could, conceivably, end up with a dozen MPs (albeit with some overhang due to your electorate imbalance) and hold the balance of power in perpetuity.

Or could you? Is this a valid scheme or is this me failing to understand the mechanisms of MMP?

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45 Comments »

  1. Completely possible. I guess no one’s done it since it’s such an obvious subversion of the electoral system that there will be a severe backlash..

    Comment by Captain — March 3, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  2. The comments on Kiwiblog alone will be worth it, other than that this white mofo can’t muster up enough energy to care (quake fatigue). His appeal is too narrow, much like Sue Bradford, and freaks out middle o the road voters.

    This is bad for Phil Goff and the Greens!

    Comment by andy (the other one) — March 3, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  3. I think this scheme is valid.

    You can do the same thing in conventional seats too, as this is effectively what ACT and National have done in the past. Except the proposed scheme has a more even numerical balance between the two proposed Maori parties.

    The trick, of course, to this working is the interaction between the individuals in the various parties.

    Comment by Richard — March 3, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  4. This other Richard is scary because that’s exactly what I think.

    Comment by richard — March 3, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  5. It sounds valid to me by the rules, not that overhang is a great thing for the system.

    On a related tangent if a party wanted to abuse the rules very obviously, is it legal to be an electoral candidate representing one party whilst being on the list of another party? I haven’t checked the legislation but I’ve been browsing the rules for candidates, and can’t see anything obvious that would prohibit it.

    Comment by MikeM — March 3, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  6. I think that your analysis is about right, although how much `rorting’ of the Maori seats there will be could be low – I think it will largely come from the Green Party.

    From memory a party with an electorate seat needs about 0.8% of the party vote for each MP (depending on the size of the overhang). So Hone would need to attract about 1.6% of the vote to bring in another MP, 2.5% for two more MPs (again, very rough numbers), 3.3% for 4 MPs, ect. At the last election, the Maori Party got about 2.1% of the party vote, and they are likely to retain much of that. Being charitable and assuming that Hone et al seize about half of that vote, the rest of his vote will need to come from elsewhere for Hone to get another MP. If Sue Bradford is No. 2 that will come largely from the Green Party (the “Green activists who are basically Marxist-Leninists” that you described earlier (“water-melons” as some describe them)).

    I strongly doubt whether this would have much of an impact in an election. If Labour needs one or two extra seats thanks to the proposed new party, they are screwed. Imagine needing to shore up a coalition with the Greens, the Maori Party, Hone-Bradford Party, and possibly NZ First? A good 2/3 of New Zealanders would be very upset by at least one of those parties being in government. Imagine trying to run a moderate policy agenda… and Cabinet meetings!!!

    Comment by DT — March 3, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  7. There is, of course, a referendum on MMP on election day.

    I quite like the idea of confused National cheerleaders saying “We won the election, because we got the most votes, but were unfairly defeated by MMP, which … um … got more votes than us.”

    Comment by sammy — March 3, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  8. A parliament that resulted from every party splitting its votes this way just to take advantage of the overhang could be “interesting”. Not that all voters would entertain the idea, of course.

    Comment by MikeM — March 3, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  9. It happened in Italy, the two parties actually caused an underhang, worked so well they ran out of candidates.

    But as DT says, the predictable percentages of the votes are too low to make much of a difference. if a Hone-party was getting 5-6%, then it could work, but not below that.

    Comment by Marsoe — March 3, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  10. As fun as the MMP mathematics are in this situation, it’s all irrelevant.

    Summed up in two lines of dialogue from the Simpsons:

    Bart: I’m worried that Mom and Homer are going to get a divorce.
    Lisa: Maybe, but I can’t see Dad filling in all that paper-work.

    Comment by Phil — March 3, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  11. About half my Honours research report back in 2000 focussed on this issue. It is clearly possible. At the time, I theorised that the most likely scenario to bring this about was through voters splitting their votes between the National Party and a new rural party. I also speculated that the most likely thing to stop it happening was that it would provoke a backlash by offending people’s sense of fair-play.

    Comment by kahitakea — March 3, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  12. @Phil, Lisa’s view is irrelevant, because the fact is that the Maori Party have filled in the necessary paperwork to make the divorce happen.

    Comment by kahitakea — March 3, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  13. Related, I’ve often wondered about a ‘independent’ party, running on the basis that they would all vote as they saw fit once elected. You’d probably need an electorate MP to hang it off and I imagine the fight over list placings would be inherently unfair. Just putting it out there.

    Comment by lyndon — March 3, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  14. @ Lyndon that’s pretty much Hone said in his interview with me yesterday. A loose collection of independents using him and his seat as a means to get parliamentary representation.

    I’m not convinced that’ll be how it ends up though. Given what happened with him and the Maori Party managing such an arrangement could be a challenge

    Comment by Felix Marwick — March 3, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  15. If you wanted to get rid of MMP, manipulating it to allow a whole lot of bonus Harawira-alligned MPs into parliament would be pretty much exactly the way to create the necessary backlash.

    Comment by helenalex — March 3, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  16. Helenalex, that’s exactly what occurred to me.

    Other than that, it’s perfectly plausible, barring personality clashes.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 3, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  17. If you take the 2008 results, and apply the electoral/party split to the Greens and Maori results, you’d get:
    Split (actual):
    Greens 6.7%/0 = 9
    Maori 2.4%/5 = 5
    14 MPs in a 122 MP Parliament (11.5% of total)

    Split (perfect)
    Greens 9.1%/0 = 12
    Maori 0%/5 = 5
    17 MPs in a 125 MP Parliament (13.6% of total)

    Joined:
    Green/Maori Combined 9.1%/5
    12 MPs in a 120 MP Parliament (10% of total)

    So yeah, there’s an advantage to having split parties, and if you can get it perfectly (no party votes for electorate party) then that advantage increases. A Hone-Party which got 2% of the vote+1 electorate and a Maori Party which got 1% of the vote+4 seats would have 7 MPs in a 123 MP Parliament, or 5.7% of MPs versus the Maori/Hone current of 4.10%.

    Comment by marsoe — March 3, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  18. You do largely understand our MMP system, Danyl, although under your scenario there would be no overhang. Instead, proportionality would be maintained over a smaller number of seats.

    This has been talked about since MMP began – e.g. with National setting up a “country party” to campaign electorate-only in safe seats. National couldn’t get away with it, however, because they need “mainstream” votes, and people would see the rort any they’d suffer. This has happened in other countries, including, I think, Italy. After the first time, everyone did the next time and it became stupid.

    It’s “valid”, but it’s a rort. My preferred rort involves standing someone with late stage cancer or renal failure in the seats needed by leaders of minor parties to avoid the 5% threshold. Hilarious.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — March 3, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  19. Mr Harawira is not one to sit on his laurels all of his political life, take the easy road, and get a position as an Ambassador at the end of it.

    He is a man who knows what he thinks and feels and has enough self-confidence and integrity and compassion for New Zealand to not be ashamed of expressing his viewpoints. The Maori Party as it is, is not sustainable or user-friendly. Maybe if he started up a party which was not focused on garnering just Maori votes but mainstream votes, too, then that would be the better long-term option, instead of just coming in there and taking away votes from the Maori Party for around a decade, inevitably becoming more ‘psychotic Maori like’ (think ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki) along the way.

    Comment by Betty — March 3, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  20. Graeme Edgeler wrote: “You do largely understand our MMP system, Danyl, although under your scenario there would be no overhang. Instead, proportionality would be maintained over a smaller number of seats.”

    No, every seat won by the maori-party-that-contested-electorate-seats would be an overhang seat.

    “It’s “valid”, but it’s a rort. My preferred rort involves standing someone with late stage cancer or renal failure in the seats needed by leaders of minor parties to avoid the 5% threshold. Hilarious.”

    How does that rort work?

    Comment by kahitakea — March 3, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  21. No, every seat won by the maori-party-that-contested-electorate-seats would be an overhang seat.

    Says you, but you’re wrong. If the Real Maori Party contested both Te Tai Tokerau, and the party vote, and the (current) Maori Party contested only the other Māori electorates, any electorate seats won by the Maori Party would not be overhang. Overhang is not caused by electorate wins by independents, MPs from unregistered parties, or MPs from registered parties that do not contest the party vote.

    How does that rort work?

    If a candidate in an electorate dies after the close of nominations, and before voting is finished, the electorate vote in that electorate is cancelled and a by-election is held. Even if the minor party leader later wins the by-election, this doesn’t mean the party can avoid the 5% threshold.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — March 3, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  22. Graeme:

    “Even if the minor party leader later wins the by-election, this doesn’t mean the party can avoid the 5% threshold”

    Though possibly interesting to those with a fascination with electoral law, I can’t see this ever being planned and successfully executed….

    Comment by DT — March 3, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  23. successfully executed

    Executing the candidate would be a greater guarantee of success, but carries its own legal complications.

    Comment by Jake — March 3, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  24. So, I could register as a candidate in Epsom, then stand on top of the Sky Tower threatening to jump, unless Rodney agrees to my demands?

    “Goodbye cruel world, and ACT …”

    Comment by sammy — March 3, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  25. “Though possibly interesting to those with a fascination with electoral law, I can’t see this ever being planned and successfully executed….”

    Though all it’d really take (if I understand) would be a crazy sick (or suicidal) person deciding on a whim that they wanted to do it on their own and registering as an independent. There are enough people who really hate small parties and MMP, and a few must be terminally ill at any given time.

    Comment by MikeM — March 3, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  26. “Maybe if he started up a party which was not focused on garnering just Maori votes but mainstream votes”

    That’s the flaw in your plan right there – “mainstream” voters don’t like being called motherfuckers, accused of cultural genocide, holocausts and raping the environment, all of which are evidently the view points that Hone Hatfield is unashamed of expressing.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 3, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  27. Can someone explain to me why I keep hearing “Hone Harawira” referred to as “Hone Hatfield”?

    Comment by DT — March 3, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  28. It is possible but there are two big issues with it. You have to actually tell all of your voters to do that otherwise you will waste massive amounts of votes. Secondly the two Maori parties have to agree on who to form a coalition with. Tariana Turia will do everything she can to stop a coalition with Labour and Hone Harawira would do everything he could to stop a coalition with National.

    @Graeme you misunderstand what he means. Danyl is talking about having one Maori Party which attempts to win Maori seats and thus holds 6 electorate seats but gains less than 1% of the party vote. There would then be a second Maori Party which holds the 7th Maori electorate seat to be secure and then gets ~5% of the party vote. It would create overhangs every Parliament if allowed.

    Comment by Rob — March 3, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  29. Can someone explain to me why I keep hearing “Hone Harawira” referred to as “Hone Hatfield”?

    I’ll hazard a guess to say that it’s right wingers being all polite.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 3, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  30. Never heard Hone called Hatfield. Must be a leftie thang.

    Comment by leon — March 3, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  31. Seems to be a Kiwiblog-commenter thing to call him “John Hatfield”. Maybe a ‘clever’ translation?

    Comment by marsoe — March 4, 2011 @ 1:21 am

  32. He gets called Hatfield because that is the name he was born with. After one of his little out bursts last year David Rankin – a Ngapuhi elder and relation of Hone’s – went on Campbell Live and said “Remember Hone, your grandfather was a Pakeha.”

    “Harawira has a blind spot, His family even changed their name from Hatfield to Harawira because they are in denial about their racial identity.”

    It’s all well and good showing that you are down with the Maori underground by slagging off the pakehas and every oppourtunity, but when your your own whakapapa has plenty of honky blood in it and you change your name to try and hide the fact, don’t expect that you aren’t going to get called out on it.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 4, 2011 @ 8:15 am

  33. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that when you have a Pakeha and a Maori branch of a family, the Maori side might have a different experience of life in this country that begins to inform their politics.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — March 4, 2011 @ 9:02 am

  34. It doesn’t surprise me that anyone brought up by a mother like Titiwhai Harawira has her hatred and spitefulness rub off on them.
    What does surprise me is that someone as proportedly staunch as Hone is happy to sweep his European heritage under the carpet – having a bit of Anglo-saxon in the family tree isn’t exactly a rarity for Maori.

    Does he hate pakeha that much that he can’t bare to have non-Maori surname?

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 4, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  35. Or he identifies as Maori, and so elects to not use a Pakeha surname. It’s not really a controversial or novel concept.

    Comment by The PC Avenger — March 4, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  36. “He gets called Hatfield because that is the name he was born with”.

    I am a little sceptical about that. It may be true, but having a Ngapuhi critic say it and have it repeated on right wing blogs isn’t confirmation. I understand that his father’s name is John Harawira, so unless they both changed their names this story is a little implausable. Still, I’ll believe it if if is confirmed reputably. Not that I give a damn.

    Comment by DT — March 4, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  37. Since when did you have to have a Maori surname to identify as Maori?

    It is pretty obvious that it’s a sore point and more than just an issue of identity for the Harawira family.

    David Rankin, a more moderate voice for Ngapuhi, brought the issue up to put Hone in his place after Hone said he wasn’t comfortable with his own children being in relationships with Pakeha. Put in that context, I think like likes of Hone bestowing a Maori surname on himself IS controversial.

    He can identify with whoever he pleases but throwing the white motherfuckers from his own family tree down the memory-hole is something he should be pulled up on when he blames all Maori ills on Pakeha.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 4, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  38. You’re jumping to a whole bunch of conclusions on pretty limited evidence bro, given that, as DT points out, the only non-echo chamber source for the claim is David Rankin. You can’t infer anything from that about the motives of Hone Harawira and his family, or if a name change even occurred.

    No one claimed you needed to have a Maori surname to identify as being Maori, so I can only assume you’ve gotten it backwards, or are just reading into things a bit too much.

    Comment by The PC Avenger — March 4, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  39. Fair enough then, I’ll leave it at that.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 4, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  40. Sorry to spoil the redneck party but Hone Harawira was not born John Hatfield. His father’s name was John Puriri Harawira.

    Comment by CRH — March 6, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  41. Since when did you have to have a Maori surname to identify as Maori?

    You can identify as Maori (or any other race for that matter) all you like. But if you have other blood in you and you identify as whatever and slag off all of those of the race that you are in a state of denial about, then you have a problem. I think it’s fairly obvious that there is an MP with a problem. I know, what a surprise…

    Atually, I think if you identify as whatever and are only partly that, then you’re in a state of denial anyway. Yes, that applies to a huge proportion of the population of New Zealand, but there you go. So the ‘Maori’ who recognise that they are of mixed race, they are the ones who are sorted.

    Comment by Freshie — March 26, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  42. I understand that his father’s name is John Harawira, so unless they both changed their names this story is a little implausable.

    If you think about it, even giving just two seconds of consideration to the Harawira family and their pure hatred of anything pakeha, the idea that they all changed their names is highly plausible.

    We all know that it’s all the fault of the pakeha. Therefore, as we are blaming the pakeha, we can’t be pakeha. Oops! Dad/Gramps was pakeha! Never mind, we’ll change our names, make our state of denial look good on paper.

    Look, it is beyond dispute that both co-leaders of the Maori Party are at the very most only 50% Maori, probably less. Yet they (and they are – relatively-speaking – moderate) are supposedly Maori and fighting for Maori rights. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that there is something not quite right with people who make a career out of denying a large part of their own self.

    Comment by Freshie — March 26, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  43. @freshie, are you serious or just rabble rousing? My money is the later but am willing to be convinced otherwise.

    Comment by will — March 26, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  44. Many maori adopted Pakeha surnames out of convinience when surnames became useful/necessary.

    Comment by NeilM — March 26, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  45. @will I am serious. There is a lot of racist rabble-rousing going on, but I think you’ll find that a lot of it emanates from a family whose home base is Waimanoni.

    I was born in England and am mainly English, with some French from way back and a touch of Indian (the sub-continent, not Native American), also from way back. Titewhai Harawira, serial rabble-rouser, hater of all things pakeha, is paler than me. I don’t think she did to her skin what Michael Jackson did to his, do you?

    Comment by Freshie — March 26, 2011 @ 9:23 pm


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