The Dim-Post

February 2, 2014

Brief thoughts on the TV3 poll

Filed under: Politics,polls — danylmc @ 7:07 pm
  • National – 44.5 percent, down 1.9 percent
  • Labour – 33.5 percent, up 1.3 percent
  • Greens – 12.4 percent, up 2 percent
  • NZ First – 5.7 percent, up 1.5 percent
  • Conservative – 2.1 percent, down 0.7 percent
  • Maori Party – 1 percent, down 0.2 percent
  • Mana – 0.3 percent, down 1 percent
  • ACT – 0 percent, down 0.8 percent
  • United Future – 0 percent, down 0.1 percent

I know, I know – it’s only one poll. But it feels right, right? Sure, there might be a run of polls next week that completely contradict it but you can see the logic behind the movements: Key endorsed Winston Peters so a bunch of National voters switched their votes to New Zealand First. I can see that. So let’s assume the poll results are broadly accurate and the movements aren’t just random noise. 

  • It tells us that voters (or at least voters in this demographic) are listening and responding to signals from politicians. Key only made his announcement about Peters a couple of weeks ago.
  • It tells us that Conservative voters and New Zealand First voters don’t seem to overlap as much as National seemed to think they did. Key and Joyce’s grand plan, remember, is for New Zealand First and The Conservatives to both get just under the 5% threshold, wasting their votes and thus putting National into power, somehow.
  • No votes for the Internet Party. (Unless you think all those Kim Dotcom lovin’ young urban National voters aren’t being sampled because cellphones.)
  •  Voters aren’t responding to National’s ‘rock-star economy’ marketing campaign. Or maybe they are? Perhaps some voters feel more comfortable changing governments during a time of economic growth?
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100 Comments »

  1. How does Nat +WinstonFirst getting over 50% signal a change of government?

    Comment by Sacha — February 2, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  2. “So let’s assume … the movements aren’t just random noise.”

    Oh no! They’ve got you too?

    Comment by pete — February 2, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

  3. I don’t care who wins the election, as long as we get TV coverage on election night showing National supporters gathered at Sky City, all nervously praying, pleading for Winston to get over the line.

    The money shot, as it were.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — February 2, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  4. Are they responding to signals that clearly? Could it not be simply that Peters’ name was in the news for the first time in a while, and people went Oh yeah, that guy I like.

    Comment by Stephen J — February 2, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

  5. this is god for Phil Goff…

    Comment by andy (the other one) — February 2, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Whatever happens I think it will lead to quite a different government. NZ First and the Nats would be a lot different methinks to the Nats right now. At the same time I can really see Winston just wanting so bad to hang Key out to dry for turning his back on him

    Comment by max — February 2, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  7. *good

    Also good for Winston First. Its going to be an exciting election year. I think Christchurch is the wild card, have the Nats actually done the business or will the spin wear thin..

    Comment by andy (the other one) — February 2, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

  8. National is down by exactly the same amount as Key’s popularity – 1.9%, a pleasing symmetry to me because it has been obvious for a long time that the only thing propping up the government is Key’s personal popularity. The press gallery and most of the media opinionarti is still firmly besotted with their PM, but it seems to me the public is slowly falling out of love with him. Key’s announcement he could work with Winston Peters was a spectacular blunder on that front, because much of Key’s popularity has been built on his being the anti-politician, the gentleman player running the country with the effortless ease of a charming toff. By announcing he can work with Peters, Key instantly undermined a decade of propaganda by National and it’s cheerleaders in the media to de-legitimise, denegrate and vilify Peters. Unfortunately for John Key, we don’t yet live in Airstrip One and his volte-face has damaged his personal brand. John Key has managed to demote himself to just another venal politician.

    “…Voters aren’t responding to National’s ‘rock-star economy’ marketing campaign…”

    Apart from National, ALL the economic brouhaha about our “rock star” economy has come from the foreign owned banks. The foreign banksters are frantic to keep their one way profit rort in place, and they are going to do use every propaganda toll at their disposal to try and keep the rock solid corporatist and neo-liberal Key government in power. The trouble is, when interest rates go up, or there is even talk of interests rates going up, people feel a lot of pain right in their wallets, wallets emptied by mortgages repayments the same banksters told punters would be perfectly affordable in a housing bubble.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 2, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

  9. Genuine question…

    Polls generally ask ‘who would you vote for with your party vote if an election were held yesterday/today/tomorrow?’

    Unregistered parties, like the Internet Party, wouldn’t be on a ballot if an election were held yesterday/today/tomorrow.

    Should pollsters accept a ‘vote’ for the unregistered party and report it, or excluded from the base for the party vote question?

    Comment by Andrew — February 2, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

  10. “Key and Joyce’s grand plan, remember, is for New Zealand First and The Conservatives to both get just under the 5% threshold”

    Source?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 2, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

  11. Oh no! They’ve got you too?

    Could you do an update of your adjusted poll Peter? Let’s see where the noise is.

    I think this will be quite an interesting election.

    Comment by George D — February 2, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

  12. Something I just noticed from that survey:

    “…Conservative – 2.1 percent, down 0.7 percent…”

    And

    “…Conservative 3 (predicted to win an electorate seat)…”

    On what basis would TV3 assume that a party polling in the margin of error and led my a wingnut fundamentalist will win an electorate seat? Right wing institutional bias much?

    Take out the Conservatives and things get even more interesting.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 3, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  13. On what basis would TV3 assume that a party polling in the margin of error and led my a wingnut fundamentalist will win an electorate seat?

    That National will gift Craig a seat … in that Key will tell National voters in East Coast Bays that without Craig in Parliament, they’ll be living under the hellish prospect of David Cunliffe taxing their house and Meteria Turei choosing their wardrobes for them.

    Do you follow NZ politics at all?

    Comment by Flashing Light — February 3, 2014 @ 8:32 am

  14. So let’s assume the poll results are broadly accurate and the movements aren’t just random noise.

    If that’s the case, what’s the backstory to the Maori and Mana parties losing almost all their support?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 8:34 am

  15. Polls are least accurate with the smallest parties, right?

    Comment by Stephen J — February 3, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  16. “…Do you follow NZ politics at all..?”

    Wow. Someone needs a cuddle.

    The point is one can make a whole range of ‘educated” guesses. Why not assume that Mana wins three seats? Why not assume the MP only wins one? To put in one variable, whilst discounting all sorts of other ones, is a none to subtle form of manipulation of the news narrative.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 3, 2014 @ 9:22 am

  17. Yes – they give us the least information about the most interesting parties, which are likely to have the biggest marginal impact on the result…

    Comment by Dr Foster — February 3, 2014 @ 9:23 am

  18. 15.Polls are least accurate with the smallest parties, right?

    You don’t need Reid Research to know that nobody likes Peter Dunne.

    Comment by Phil — February 3, 2014 @ 9:26 am

  19. 10.“Key and Joyce’s grand plan, remember, is for New Zealand First and The Conservatives to both get just under the 5% threshold”

    Source?

    I doubt I was the first person to come up with it, but a few months back I did suggest, on this very site, that both parties getting 4-ish percent would be a mathematically plausible path for National to govern alone.

    Apparently Danyl thinks that someone in National HQ owes me a cheque.

    Comment by Phil — February 3, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  20. @Phil: I agree that it’s pretty much their ideal scenario, but I don’t think that makes it National’s “plan”.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 3, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  21. Danyl said – “…I know, I know – it’s only one poll. But it feels right, right..?”

    More to the point, National’s public behaviour recently points to it being right, or at least in line with their internal polling.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 3, 2014 @ 9:43 am

  22. I’ve just done a voting intention survey and Internet Party was not one of the listed options.

    Comment by MeToo — February 3, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  23. Why not assume that Mana wins three seats? Why not assume the MP only wins one? To put in one variable, whilst discounting all sorts of other ones, is a none to subtle form of manipulation of the news narrative.

    Do you really think the Mana Party will win three seats> Really?

    Of course you don’t. So the issue then comes down to, how likely is it that the prediction TV3 are making – that National will take steps to help the Conservatives win an electorate seat – will prove accurate. And anyone who has any knowledge of NZ politics will say “more likely than not”. Meaning it is a not unreasonable thing for TV3 to include in its story … especially as doing so adds to the narrative of “ohmigod! It’s all so close and super-exciting!!!”).

    Or, of course, TV3 could be in the pocket of big religion, and is simply selling the message because their ideological overlords have told them to.

    Comment by Flashing Light — February 3, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  24. @metoo – the Internet Party is not a registered party. If an election were held today/yesterday/tomorrow, they wouldn’t be on the ballot.

    I’m unsure about whether votes for non-registered parties should be included in the base for the party vote results in political polls. What say you internet?

    Comment by Andrew — February 3, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  25. @Andrew: I think if the pollsters have reason to believe the party is likely to be registered at the next election, they should include it.

    Admittedly, Dotcom has made some pretty 101 level fuckups, not least thinking he could become an MP despite not being a citizen and aiming to win electorates, but I would think even he would realise that his party needs to be registered.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 3, 2014 @ 11:02 am

  26. What say you internet?

    I suspect the internet’s opinion would consist of a mix of porn, pleas to help move millions of dollars from war-zones and cats playing the piano.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  27. >I know, I know – it’s only one poll. But it feels right, right?

    No, it feels noisy. The margin of error is reported as 3.1%.

    Also, the meme of kingmaker has always stuck in my craw. A narrow coalition requires the cooperation of everyone in it, so everyone is a kingmaker. Winston Peters, for instance, can’t provide any guarantees about the way Brendan Horan will vote on things this year. And a Labour coalition is completely impossible without the Greens at the moment, which rather makes them kingmakers, doesn’t it?

    Can Colin Craig actually win an electorate? I’m not sure about this at all – he’s a real fruitcake, and his national support is tiny. Who wants to be the bunny electorate that has to vote for a guy who openly holds with whacko conspiracy theories?

    Furthermore, the Maori Party has never made its numbers on national support, but by winning the Maori seats. They could have 0% national support and still get 3 seats.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 3, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  28. Dotcom has made some pretty 101 level fuckups, not least thinking he could become an MP

    Not sure he thought that…of course he might one day become a NZ citizen.

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 11:30 am

  29. Who wants to be the bunny electorate that has to vote for a guy who openly holds with whacko conspiracy theories?</em?

    So if he keeps his conspiracy theories to himself, all is good? :)

    Many Americans voted for a guy who got blown in the Oval Office…

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 11:37 am

  30. >Many Americans voted for a guy who got blown in the Oval Office

    Yup, I expect the number of people who believe in chemtrails is much smaller than the number of Americans who have fantasized about getting/giving head in their office.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 3, 2014 @ 11:40 am

  31. Many Americans voted for a guy who got blown in the Oval Office…

    Voters didn’t know about this until Clinton’s second term (it all blew up (sorry!) in 1998) … so they couldn’t be said to have passed judgment on his actions by voting for him again in 1996. Not, I should note, that they particularly cared – Clinton’s highest approval rating (73%) was in December of ’98 (http://www.gallup.com/poll/116584/presidential-approval-ratings-bill-clinton.aspx).

    Can Colin Craig actually win an electorate? I’m not sure about this at all – he’s a real fruitcake, and his national support is tiny. Who wants to be the bunny electorate that has to vote for a guy who openly holds with whacko conspiracy theories?

    Sure – few might want to be in the electorate asked to vote for him … but if you are a die-hard National supporter in (say) East Coast Bays and your choice is vote for whatever muppet National puts up in McCully’s place and thereby possibly get a Labour-Green government, or vote for Crazy Colin and thereby markedly increase the odds of a National government, what are you going to do?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  32. Sure – few might want to be in the electorate asked to vote for him … but if you are a die-hard National supporter in (say) East Coast Bays and your choice is vote for whatever muppet National puts up in McCully’s place and thereby possibly get a Labour-Green government, or vote for Crazy Colin and thereby markedly increase the odds of a National government, what are you going to do?

    Exactly, Andrew. Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing! But hey, maybe Craig will, if elected, make a great MP.

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 11:56 am

  33. @Ben Wilson at 11.29am.

    You choose to comment on the margin of error being 3.1% as if that is unusual. In every poll taken in NZ it is just over 3%. That is because they always survey about 1000 voters.

    Winston can be the Kingmaker because he can realistically support either National OR Labour as the Government. The Greens cannot. They, and their party members, would never allow them to support National instead of Labour.

    Colin Craig could easily win a seat if Natiomal gave their voters, in a safe seat, the nod to vote for him. After all, it worked for Hide and Banks in Epsom. It also worked for a while with Prebble in Wellington Central when Bolger defenestrated his own party’s candidate.

    The Maori party won’t have either Turia or Sharples this time. Do they have equally strong electorate candidates?

    Comment by Alwyn — February 3, 2014 @ 11:58 am

  34. Long-term strategic Labour probably don’t want to look at it, but there must be some short-term pressure to ‘do a deal’ not to run against Mana (or the MP, even) in some of the Maori seats. It makes compelling sense in terms of maximising the chance of ejecting the govt in a close race, especially if you can convince voters to split their vote, by giving your own local electorate candidate a decent list place. Something to keep an eye on.

    Comment by Rob Stowell (@rob_stowell) — February 3, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  35. @Ross – that’s not an example of cognitive dissonance.

    @Rob – my impression (as a white middle class male in wellington) is that the personal character or mana of an individual candidate currently plays a comparatively larger part of a voters decision in a Maori electorate. By comparison, National or Labour could stand a bag of mixed lettuce in some general electorates, and it would still have a better than even chance of winning the seat. The long term viability of the Labour party (relative to the inevitable death of Mana once Harawira gets bored) means they should still be able to attract stronger candidates to the field now, and not need a partner to take down the MP.

    Comment by Phil — February 3, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

  36. that’s not an example of cognitive dissonance.

    Why not?

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  37. Why not?

    Because it’s an example of doing something you rather wouldn’t do, in order to avoid a worse outcome – like going to the gym to lose weight so that you don’t die of a heart attack. Sure, sweating and panting and feeling pain is bad, but if it’s that or death, then you do what you must.

    Cognitive dissonance is what happens when you try to hold two incompatible ideas in your head at once … such as, I really want National to lead the next government, but I cannot bring myself to vote for Colin Craig as my local MP, so I invent a crazy story whereby he and Peters will suck off enough wasted votes to let National form a Government with just 43% of the party vote.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  38. A think a better example of cognitive dissonance is Ross being unable to accept that Slater is a sociopath because he (Ross) actually loves the stuff Slater does (see ‘Funny Stuff’ post). Therefore, Ross comes up with all sorts of ways to deal with this dissonance, e.g. “But Helen Clarke said something similar!”, “He can’t be bad because Russell Brown interviewed him before!”, “He’s just saying what his audience wants to hear!”.

    Rather amusing to watch.

    Comment by wtl — February 3, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

  39. Peters will suck off enough wasted votes to let National form a Government with just 43% of the party vote.

    He’s going to be a busy boy then.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 3, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

  40. Cognitive dissonance is what happens when you try to hold two incompatible ideas in your head at once … such as, I really want National to lead the next government, but I cannot bring myself to vote for Colin Craig as my local MP, so I invent a crazy story whereby he and Peters will suck off enough wasted votes to let National form a Government with just 43% of the party vote.

    So it’s not incompatible if you think Colin Craig is crazy and will be the worst MP imaginable…but you vote for him anyway?

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

  41. A think a better example of cognitive dissonance is Ross being unable to accept that Slater is a sociopath because he (Ross) actually loves the stuff Slater does (see ‘Funny Stuff’ post). Therefore, Ross comes up with all sorts of ways to deal with this dissonance, e.g. “But Helen Clarke said something similar!”, “He can’t be bad because Russell Brown interviewed him before!”, “He’s just saying what his audience wants to hear!”.

    I’ll have whatever you’re having…

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  42. So it’s not incompatible if you think Colin Craig is crazy and will be the worst MP imaginable…but you vote for him anyway?

    No. Consciously choosing the lesser of two evils is entirely rational behaviour.

    Cognitive dissonance would be saying “I abhor the idea of having crazy people in Parliament making laws for us, but I really, really want National to lead the next Government, so I’m voting Colin Craig because he’s got a point about chemtrails and, really, how do we know man has walked on the moon, and those scientists probably are all in cahoots over this global warming malarky (etc, etc, etc)”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

  43. >You choose to comment on the margin of error being 3.1% as if that is unusual. In every poll taken in NZ it is just over 3%.

    No, I wasn’t suggesting it’s unusual, just that the supposed trends in this noisy data are smaller than the error margin by quite a lot.

    >if you are a die-hard National supporter in (say) East Coast Bays and your choice is vote for whatever muppet National puts up in McCully’s place and thereby possibly get a Labour-Green government, or vote for Crazy Colin and thereby markedly increase the odds of a National government, what are you going to do?

    Perhaps the same as the die-hard national supporters in every other electorate. They don’t all vote ACT for the candidate, even though there is an ACT candidate, and they get twice as many coalition votes by doing it. Nor do Labour die-harders in the safe Labour seats accept to just chuck in a “proxy Labour” independent candidate, even though that would be to their advantage everywhere. If that were likely to succeed, I don’t see why both major parties don’t do it in every seat, and contest on party-vote alone. It would be massively to their advantage. I guess that maybe it’s the thin end of the wedge – we can let them pull that shit in Epsom, but if they do it in 2 electorates, it will start looking like a strategy that could (and should) be rorted by the big parties to the fullest extent possible (ie every electorate seat).

    To make that a little clearer, there’s no constitutional barrier to Labour organizing 5 little proxy parties, each to stand for 1/5 of the safe Labour seats. These people will declare openly their desire to go into coalition with Labour, and could even be ex-Labourites, but not in the Labour party. They will instruct their support to party-vote Labour. If the electorate did as they were told, and tribal voters (you suggest) can be made to do this, then they could easily get another 20-odd free seats, a strong majority, and no kingmakers among them. But if that happened, National could do the same thing back, and rort it even harder.

    Actually, now I think about it, I’ve talked myself into it. That’s what Labour should do. Why not, National’s doing it with ACT, and Conservatives!

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 3, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

  44. So it’s not incompatible if you think Colin Craig is crazy and will be the worst MP imaginable…but you vote for him anyway?

    I believe this is known as ‘swallowing a dead rat’.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 3, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  45. @Ben,

    What you say is true … but it faces a collective action problem. Let’s say a die-hard National supporter in (say) Helensville were to think “a-ha! I’ll be clever and vote for ACT’s candidate while party-voting National, thus getting Key back off the list and also giving him more coalition support”. This will only work if enough other National supporters do the same to enable the ACT candidate to win. And it faces the risk that if not enough of you do so, you will split the right-leaning vote and let the Labour candidate through the middle … which is the nightmare scenario. So it is rational to satisfice by two-ticking for National – it won’t produce the optimum outcome but, in a situation of incomplete information, it will avoid the worst.

    What cases like Epsom and (putatively) East Coast Bays (plus Wigram back in the day, for balance) do is seek to solve that collective action problem by signalling … i.e. the “cup of tea” or whatever is designed to reassure National (or Labour) voters that enough of them will act in the same way to produce the desired result (and not accidentally bring about the “nightmare scenario”).

    So – why don’t parties do it more? Couple of reasons, I suspect. First, electorate MPs like being electorate MPs. So to say to all (or even many) of them “we want you to take a dive for the good of the team” would provoke internal problems. Second, widespread and open gaming of the system across the entire country would provoke a pretty intensive voter backlash (IMHO). The “electorate lifeboat” rule is already the biggest bug-bear that voters have with MMP. My prediction is that the backlash against its use in 2014 is going to make the next government (of either stripe) drop it (in line with the Electoral Commission’s recommendation). And so any party that came to power on the back of a systematic attempt to exploit it nationwide would face real legitimacy problems – even if the voters didn’t turn against them prior to the vote.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 4:52 pm

  46. Wigram wasn’t a collective action problem in that sense. Think about it: did Labour need to signal to left-wing voters that Jim Anderton could win Wigram?

    Sorry. But it’s a bizarrely ahistorical understanding of the electoral dynamics of south Christchurch. If anything, Labour needed Jim’s endorsement to win Wigram in ’11.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — February 3, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

  47. >So it is rational to satisfice by two-ticking for National – it won’t produce the optimum outcome but, in a situation of incomplete information, it will avoid the worst.

    Except…National could fail to stand a candidate.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 3, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

  48. >Second, widespread and open gaming of the system across the entire country would provoke a pretty intensive voter backlash (IMHO).

    I think using it to get the government in in Epsom and East Coast Bays, when they would otherwise have not been in, is gaming of the system. It’s precisely what people are suggesting National do with Colin Craig. If they do it with him, what’s to stop Labour doing it with Mana, and any independent they care to have in a stable of pet supporters? It’s certainly not creating a voter backlash for National, who have been gaming this for years now.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 3, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

  49. @Keir,

    Wigram wasn’t a collective action problem in that sense.

    Point taken.

    @Ben,

    If they do it with him, what’s to stop Labour doing it with Mana, and any independent they care to have in a stable of pet supporters? It’s certainly not creating a voter backlash for National, who have been gaming this for years now.

    Well, Labour won’t do it with Mana because they don’t want to tie their brand to “extremists” (plus Harawira can probably win without them). As for “any independent” … who do you have in mind? It’s all well and good in the abstract, but you need to put faces to the theory.

    It’s certainly not creating a voter backlash for National…

    Dunno. Key’s been very coy about deals, saying he’ll only discuss this close to the election. I suspect their polling shows that voters aren’t happy with it at all, so they don’t want to talk about them.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  50. “Not sure he thought that…”

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/dotcom-hints-hell-form-political-party-ck-145256

    I don’t know who those lawyers were, but he was paying them way too much.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 3, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

  51. Cognitive dissonance would be saying “I abhor the idea of having crazy people in Parliament making laws for us, but I really, really want National to lead the next Government, so I’m voting Colin Craig because he’s got a point about chemtrails and, really, how do we know man has walked on the moon, and those scientists probably are all in cahoots over this global warming malarky (etc, etc, etc)”

    Whichever way you cut it, it amounts to the same thing. Rational voters may well feel uncomfortable voting for Craig but will presumably justify it on certain grounds.

    Comment by Ross — February 3, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

  52. No. Not the same thing at all.

    The former recognises the conflict and consciously chooses to prioritise one over the other (“I know I’m voting crazy, but it’s the better option for the country as a whole”). The latter attempts to make the conflict disappear (“I’m not voting crazy in order to get a National Government, because maybe Craig is right about all the things he says” … whilst if a Green Party/Labour Party candidate were to suggest the same, they would be whacko birds of the highest order).

    Anyway – if you want to know more about the psychological state, use google. I’m kind of tired having to explain the same thing over and over again.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 3, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

  53. The latter attempts to make the conflict disappear

    In both cases there is conflict which the voter is making disappear. In both cases, the voter is rationalising their (irrational) behaviour.

    “Dissonance and consonance are relations among cognitions that is, among opinions, beliefs, knowledge of the environment, and knowledge of one’s own actions and feelings. Two opinions, or beliefs, or items of knowledge are dissonant with each other if they do not fit together; that is, if they are inconsistent, or if, considering only the particular two items, one does not follow from the other” (Festinger 1956).

    There’s a fair bit of inconsistency in thinking that Craig is crazy or incompetent or both but then voting for him. One doesn’t “follow from the other”.

    Comment by Ross — February 4, 2014 @ 7:37 am

  54. Ross – it’s an example dissonance if you beleive that crazy or incompetent people have no place in parlaiment but then go and vote for Colin Craig and internally rationalise your actions, all the while sincerely maintaining that he is crazy and incompetent.

    If you vote for him because you want to achieve a rational outcome and don’t care so much about Craig’s apparent craziness or incompetence – or more broadly, have no strong beleifs about crazy or imcompetent people being in parliament (which is a pretty unobtainable bar IMO) – then this behaviour is not an example of cognitive dissonance.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 4, 2014 @ 9:25 am

  55. Or alternatively if you would prefer that parliament had no crazy people, but are resigned to the fact that no matter what you do some crazy people are going to get in… (not so unobtainable).

    Basically, “I will do something undesirable in order to avoid something even more undesirable” isn’t cognitive dissonance, no matter how you spin it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 4, 2014 @ 10:09 am

  56. >Dunno. Key’s been very coy about deals, saying he’ll only discuss this close to the election. I suspect their polling shows that voters aren’t happy with it at all, so they don’t want to talk about them.

    I dunno either. It’s sitting there as an unexploited opportunity, has been from the get-go. If they’ve even thought about it at all, I expect the main parties see it as a nuclear option, so MAD is stopping them. But when one of the parties starts chipping away at the boundaries of this, how long will it be before the other chips back?

    >It’s all well and good in the abstract, but you need to put faces to the theory.

    Sure. Practically all of the currently strong electorate MPs could do it. Ross Robertson, in Manukau East, for example. Leaves Labour, becomes an independent, and basically says that he will support a Labour government and agrees with all their policy. Labour stands no candidate. They will get no change in their total number of seats because that is set by the party vote, but they get a dead certain coalition partner who is 100% aligned, indeed his existence is totally dependent on Labour playing ball with him. He’s a known face, hardly some wild card that couldn’t get any support there. Easy extra seat. Sio in Mangere could do the same.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  57. National use a fig leaf of respectability, plus a generally favorable electoral climate, to push the boundaries on this. If a National win this year is reliant on the Conservatives, Act, Dunne and an overhang Maori Party, it will not be hugely popular. It would be even worse if instead of Key National were lead by Collins or Joyce. Labour would be mad to go anywhere near this.

    (That’s putting aside the practical concerns.)

    Comment by Keir — February 4, 2014 @ 11:33 am

  58. The practical concern being: dude, you wanna put Ross Robertson at the centre of a morally-dubious, constitutionally-bankrupt, legally-dicey conspiracy requiring a high degree of independent action, complicated co-ordination, and political sophistication? Have you met the guy?

    Comment by Keir — February 4, 2014 @ 11:38 am

  59. “…Ross Robertson, in Manukau East, for example…”

    The trouble for Labour is that if they did this with a left wing equivalent of ACT, with a hardline Marxist philosopher wingnut equivalent to Jamie Whyte in charge and it being bankrolled by a shadowy Russian billionaire, the media would have a complete meltdown. What is “commonsense for National” for John Armstrong would quickly become “electoral suicide for Labour” who would be accused of cuddling up to lunatic extremists on the left, a charge that somehow Armstrong and co don’t think is worth leveling at ACT’s Lord Monckton of labour laws, Jamie Whyte. Imagine a Marxist being promoted in Mangere as a Potemkin Party! Patrick Gower would jizz in his pants before dying at the mere idea of it.

    Or imagine, in reaction to Colin Craig’s chem trail outfit, Labour were to make obvious it’s affection for a radical feminist party, dedicated to man-bans, abortion on demand and female quotas in the boardroom and all paid for as the personal vanity project of some feminist millionaire, I’d wager Tracy Watkins wouldn’t marvel at genius of Cunliffe for doing that.

    that is Labour’s problem – crazy right wing parties bankrolled by reactionary plutocrats are OK. Same thing on the left, not OK.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 4, 2014 @ 11:46 am

  60. It would be even worse if instead of Key National were lead by Collins or Joyce.

    This is one of the key (excuse the pun) considerations. Hi-jinks will be forgiven if the leader is popular, the party is already in a powerful position and/or the electorate is indifferent.
    I suspect it would swing a lot of voters if attempted by less palatable lizard-people.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 4, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  61. @Sanc – I’m not sure Jaime Whyte falls into the wingnut category. He seems measured (sort of) if glib; certainly not in the same category as an inveterate liar like Banks, or vacuous loon like Craig.

    I particularly liked the following bon mot:

    ‘‘I am quite lazy…My wife is worse. She does nothing but lunch with friends and tend to our 2-year-old daughter when the latter is not asleep or at pre-school. And the child herself is indolence on little legs; she has made not the least contribution to the gross domestic product. The Whytes are, at best, a soft-working family.’’

    Comment by Gregor W — February 4, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  62. >The trouble for Labour is that if they did this with a left wing equivalent of ACT, with a hardline Marxist philosopher wingnut equivalent to Jamie Whyte in charge and it being bankrolled by a shadowy Russian billionaire, the media would have a complete meltdown.

    Absolutely. They should do it with popular centrists with long commitment to the party. And they shouldn’t signal that they’re doing it. It would come from an “independent” decision by the people themselves deciding that they “best represent their constituency as an independent”. Which, in fact, ironically, they would be by doing this. ACT is an absolute gift for people in Epsom – they get 2 votes. There could perhaps be a token stage-managed rift with some other personality in the party.

    >The practical concern being: dude, you wanna put Ross Robertson at the centre of a morally-dubious, constitutionally-bankrupt, legally-dicey conspiracy requiring a high degree of independent action, complicated co-ordination, and political sophistication? Have you met the guy?

    It’s constitutional, legal, simple and obvious. It’s also been done before and is being done now. The only question is why it isn’t done more.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

  63. The only question is why it isn’t done more.

    Don’t know if this is an answer, but if Labour (or any other party) were to make a systemic effort to rort this loophole, I would join with its natural enemies in doing whatever I could to ensure its defeat at the election.

    And, yes – I will be very vocal on the issue of ACT in Epsom and CC in wherever National think he fits best.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 4, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

  64. Actually it isn’t really being done now. You’re proposing the manufacture of overhang seats. At present the only overhang seats are those held by the Maori Party, which certainly weren’t gifted to them by Labour or National. The current wheeze (to evade the threshold) is quite different.

    I don’t think Labour (or National) establishing a set of pseudo-parties to distort proportionality would be constitutional (certainly it shouldn’t be). And it definitely wouldn’t be moral, and while it might not in itself be illegal, it would almost certainly become hugely legally tricky to administer. The idea of it in New Zealand is armchair generalship, pure and simple — the fantasy of Labour stage managing the creation of an independent political party is particularly hilarious. Labour can barely stage manage themselves, let alone a nominally independent group.

    Comment by Keir — February 4, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

  65. Moral? Moral? Are you shitting me? Do you think elections are just one big game, where all that happens is occassionally the gentlemen get to swop innings with the players?

    I don’t care if it’s “moral” and neither, by the look of things, does John Key or Cameron Slater or David Farrar or Jamie Whyte or Stephen Joyce or Alan Gibbs or any of the other plutocrat funders/enablers of the right. Don’t do it because it isn’t moral? Good grief. politics is not tiddly winks, you know.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 4, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

  66. Keir:At present the only overhang seats are those held by the Maori Party, which certainly weren’t gifted to them by Labour or National.

    Actually, the Maori party overhangs *are* a creation of this sort of strategic vote splitting by National and Labour voters. National doesn’t compete in the Maori electorates at all, and significant numbers of Labour supporters vote for the Maori Party electorate candidates.

    Pita Sharples had a majority of 936 votes, and received 1063 votes from National Party supporters (67% of the National vote) and 1776 votes from Labour Party supporters (22.3% of the Labour vote).
    Te Ururoa Flavell had a majority of 1883, and received 676 votes from National Party supporters (63.3% of the National vote) and 1615 votes from Labour Party supporters (24.5% of the Labour vote).
    Tariana Turia had a majority of 3221 votes, and received 843 votes from National Party supporters (59% of the National vote) and 2081 votes from Labour Party supporters (27% of the Labour vote).

    Without the support of National party voters there would be one less Maori MP, and without the support of Labour Party voters there would likely be no Maori MPs (even if only a fraction of the Labour Party voters who voted for Maori party candidates voted instead for the Labour candidates).

    Comment by RJL — February 4, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

  67. 66 — Not a gift from either National or Labour though, and not a deliberate strategy by those parties. National doesn’t stand candidates in the Maori seats for pre-existing ideological reasons, and Labour tries very hard to win those seats.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — February 4, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

  68. Don’t do it because it isn’t moral? Good grief. politics is not tiddly winks, you know.

    If politics and morality are separate realms, what explains your regular sanctimonious outbursts of high-ground outrage at the latest perfidious wrongdoings of whoever it is that you’ve decided are the bad guys for the day?

    Comment by Flashing Light — February 4, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  69. National doesn’t stand candidates in the Maori seats for pre-existing ideological reasons,

    Rubbish. If they thought they could win them outright, National would put up candidates.

    However, for pragmatic reasons they are quite happy to not anyone up in order to not split the electorate vote (which would appear to lean rightward assuming a correlation with the party vote as per RJLs numbers) and thereby giving Labour a shot to sneak in on the difference. National knows that the Maori Party will go for whoever offers the most lollies come coalition time.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 4, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

  70. correction (to fast on the send): “which would appear to lean leftward assuming a correlation with the party vote as per RJLs numbers, but with a significant minority who might be tempted to vote National if the right candidate was on offer”

    Comment by Gregor W — February 4, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

  71. Actually it isn’t really being done now. You’re proposing the manufacture of overhang seats.

    Not quite. When apportioning seats, any electorates that are won by independent candidates (or, candidates representing parties that don’t contest the party vote) are subtracted from the total seats to be allocated in Parliament. Here’s the Commission’s explanation:

    If an electorate seat is won by a candidate not representing a party contesting the party vote, the Electoral Commission subtracts that number of seats from 120, and works out the allocation of seats between registered parties based on that lower number.

    So – let’s say Ben’s suggestion was put into practice, and it resulted in (say) 10 “independents” getting elected. That would reduce the seats to be distributed amongst all qualifying political parties to 110.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 4, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

  72. Of course – I am thinking of a situation where there’s a paper list that “contests” the party vote. Still, no one is doing this at the present.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — February 4, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  73. Should say “Of course, you are correct — I was thinking of …”.

    Gregor — I agree that it works out for National. But I don’t think it is a highly-worked strategy to exploit the system. It’s just easier all round to do it that way.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — February 4, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

  74. >The idea of it in New Zealand is armchair generalship, pure and simple

    It’s merely an idea that I felt worth exploring the logic of. By all means shut your mind to it. My reasoning isn’t to say that they should do this, but just to say that they could. There has been this strange sense of powerlessness in the face of National and its crony parties, and that deserves an answer – if the crony shit gets too whack, it’s worth remembering that it can cut both ways very easily.

    >Still, no one is doing this at the present.

    National pretty much instructed Epsom not to vote for Goldsmith. He pretty much did no campaigning at all, in an electorate where National could easily expect to win if they tried. Also, in Ohariu 18,764 people party voted National and 672 voted for United Future, but 14,357 voted for Peter Dunne, and only 6,907 voted for National’s Katrina Shanks. That’s pretty much a marriage of convenience, and if they’ll probably make more of an effort to ensure that the lapping waters of the Labour candidate vote don’t flood him by having her go AWOL this time. In the past, Anderton’s personal party got only a few thousand votes but he got 15,000 votes, and the Labour candidate got 5000 *less* votes than the Nat.

    So actually, this stuff has been happening for a while and it’s going to continue – it’s just not done in an organized way (although when it’s close, you could call what happened in Epsom pretty damned organized), perhaps because that would be too Machiavellian. Or perhaps because no one has thought of it clearly enough yet.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  75. >If an electorate seat is won by a candidate not representing a party contesting the party vote

    Yup, so they would do what Jim Anderton did. Make a joke personality party. So yes, there would be an overhang.

    But even without an overhang, it works fine. Indeed, it would not cut Labour’s number of seats by the same proportion that it increases the size of their coalition If the number of seats to be shared is decreased by 10/120, they might lose a couple of seats. But they would gain 10. And they would drop *everyone else’s* proportional allocation by 10/120 too. This would cut into National more than it would cut them, if they had a smaller share of the party vote.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

  76. Ben,

    If Labour (or anyone else) could pull this off, it would quite possibly win them the election. However, it also risks so antagonising the electorate as a whole that they desert the party in droves, leading it to a crushing defeat. Given that it is such a high risk/high return strategy, a naturally conservative organisation like a major political party is going to be very, very loathe to try it.

    Which, given that it is an attempt to undermine the very basis on which MMP operates, is a good thing.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 4, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

  77. @ George D: http://imgh.us/nzpolls_16.svg

    @ Stephen J: (Polls are least accurate with the smallest parties, right?) If you look at relative error, yes. (i.e. a percentage point error means more for ACT than for Labour.)

    Comment by pete — February 4, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

  78. >Given that it is such a high risk/high return strategy, a naturally conservative organisation like a major political party is going to be very, very loathe to try it.

    It would be if it’s done all at once. If it’s done how it is in fact already being done, then it’s all good, no one even notices, except when they have a cry about Epsom, because that’s just totally different in some way.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

  79. To clarify: This election could come down to a one-seat majority. That majority could be Whatever-Muppet-ACT-Chooses-In-Epsom. If Labour doesn’t have their own Muppet, then they’re all muppets.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

  80. …because that’s just totally different in some way.

    Yeah. It sort of is, because it’s been effectively “grandfathered in” to our electoral landscape through everyone just being used to it happening. Doesn’t make it right, and we should get rid of the “electorate lifeboat” rule so as to stop it happening in the future.

    What you seem to be proposing/advocating is taking this exceptional situation and using it as a basis for a wholesale end-run around proportionality in multiple electorates. My response to this is;

    (1) It will be very hard to do as a practical matter (good luck trying to push this strategy through Labour’s National Council);
    (2) The downside risk due to pissing off the voting public by engaging in sharp practice is extremely high;
    (3) It is wrong.

    Of course, we’re just two guys on a blog arguing about something that is never going to happen … so, there is that.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 4, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

  81. Also: the electorate lifeboat trick doesn’t have a great track record of effectiveness! It’s a bit of a shit tactic, often leaving you carrying the can for a complete fuckwit like John Banks/Peter Dunne!

    Comment by Keir — February 4, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  82. It’s worth noting that all three/four of the supposed Potemkin parties -.ACT, the Conservatives, United Future and the Alliance/Progressives – started as a genuinely independent political party, and only became dependent on a larger party due to the decline of political fortunes that seems to be the inevitable fate of junior coalition partners.

    I don’t think there’s any examples in NZ history of such a party being created out of whole cloth, unless you’re a conspiracy theorist.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 4, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

  83. Andrew
    (1) Probably.
    (2) I don’t reckon. Sharp practice is extremely common in politics. They’re consummate bullshitters. Many are not even above telling outright lies to the voting public, and spinning things that are close to the wind is their day job. It would take some planning and care, is all.
    (3) Yes, it is a subversion of the principles of MMP. National has the advantage of hating MMP in the first place. Both major parties have been subverting the principles of MMP since it was brought in. Proportionality was carefully fucked up right at the start with the high threshold. Coat-tailing gives them the power to make or break the very small parties. But there is, quite literally, no impediment to there being more aligned independents in parliament than the inertia that the parties haven’t cottoned on to what extent it could be to their advantage. There isn’t actually anything outright evil about the idea of an independent electoral representative, they exist already, and in many other countries they are normal, and they can be highly effective. There is the advantage that since they would not be in the party, they would have *only* their electorate as their true constituency, so there might actually be some point in having electorate representatives. Currently they’re just a hangover from FPP.

    I don’t personally much like the idea. But I feel a little like Einstein knowing that the Germans are working on the bomb. If a bomb is possible, you want to be the one who has it. You certainly want to get there ahead of your enemy.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

  84. “push this strategy through Labour’s National Council”

    soft butter, you say..

    Comment by Sacha — February 4, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  85. Let’s be clear though, it seems National is attempting to create the next Govt by rorting in* THREE individuals to operate as their patsies. How that would have any semblance of legitimacy is beyond me…

    * I get all the arguments around “it’s within the law”, “voters are tactically aware” etc, but IMO the pragmatic effect here is a gaming of the electoral system. Doing it once in Epsom to give yourself a buffer is one thing, doing it in three different electorates at once to form Govt is something else again…

    Comment by garethw — February 4, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

  86. Another thing I find silly is the Epsom Labour and Green voters who didn’t have the nous to vote Goldsmith to get rid of Banks. But there you go, the Left would seem to be committed to having to swallow dead rats because they can’t swallow having a fucking think about it.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 4, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

  87. I agree that it works out for National. But I don’t think it is a highly-worked strategy to exploit the system. It’s just easier all round to do it that way.

    @kalvarnsen – The strategy doesn’t need to be complex to work; the most effective strategies rarely are.

    But I think not putting up a candidate in a seat you have no chance of winning, an action which directly favours your opponent’s main contestant – an entity who on the balance of probabilities can be easy (and cheaply) bought into the fold at limited political cost – counts as a well considered (if not “highly worked”) strategy to exploit the system in your favour.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 5, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  88. @Gregor: That was Keir, not me.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — February 5, 2014 @ 8:57 am

  89. Ben @ 86:

    You do realise that the there aren’t enough Labour/Green votes in Epsom to overrule the National-party voters, yeah?

    2008:

    Candidates:
    HIDE, Rodney ACT 21,102
    LOCKE, Keith GP 2,787
    SUTTON, Kate LAB 5,112
    WORTH, Richard NAT 8,220

    Party votes:
    ACT New Zealand 2,389
    Green Party 2,662
    Labour Party 7,711
    National Party 24,030

    As you can see, there are a significant number of Labour voters that aren’t voting for the Labour candidate.

    2011 was a slightly different story:

    Candidates:
    BANKS, John ACT 15,835
    GOLDSMITH, Paul NAT 13,574
    HAY, David GP 2,160
    PARKER, David LAB 3,751

    Party:
    ACT New Zealand 939
    National Party 23,725
    Green Party 4,424
    Labour Party 5,716

    So Labour lost about 1500 party votes to the Greens there, but there are still significant numbers of Labour and Green voters that are *probably* pushing up the Goldsmith vote. John Key’s shoddy handling of the cup of tea probably prevented National voters from making the same voting choice, but the numbers are there for National to do what they want, provided they signal well and it’s not too unpalatable for the electorate. Personally, I’d swallow the rat and vote for Goldsmith if I was in Epsom, but I can see why the option offends some. If Labour and the Greens did signal to their voters to vote for Goldsmith, it’s likely that National voters would just shift from Goldsmith to Banks to compensate. It’s a tough electorate for the left to game.

    Comment by simonpnz — February 5, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  90. The cup of tea didn’t really help John Key. As a piece of political realpolitik, it backfired substantially, by reviving Winston Peters and closely tying Key to a man currently facing charges of electoral fraud. If Key hadn’t cut that deal, Winston wouldn’t be in Parliament, ACT would probably have polled less then .5%, and National would have been certain to have picked up several extra MPs at that point, probably enough to balance out the loss of ACT’s one. And he wouldn’t have had to deal with Banks’ scandals. At best, it gave Key slightly more room to move putting together majorities.

    Remember, the point of the Epsom cup of tea was a two (or three) for the price of one deal. Banks was meant to bring in Brash, at least, and probably one other MP — which would have substantially improved the right’s parliamentary position. But no-one actually liked ACT, so it failed at that, and then had a bunch of unsavory consequences. I don’t get why people seem to think it was some political masterstroke.

    Comment by Keir — February 5, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  91. Simon, I did check, and I was referring to 2011. Good on the minority of Labour/Green voters who did think of the strategy. What the rest have to gain from signalling a preference for a lost cause, rather than the lesser of the two likely evils, I don’t know (since they have the party vote for that). Voting Labour is a lesser of two evils calculation in the first place, for quite a lot of people. And considering that Goldsmith gets in on the list anyway, voting for him is *considerably* lesser, if it leads to ACT’s destruction.

    Yes, it’s a game, but the way to play is dead obvious. It’s not tricky. It’s actually a lot trickier for the National voters, because it’s pretty clear from the party vote that only a tiny minority of them even support ACT. Which is why significant numbers of them did not vote for Banks. Together with Labour/Green voters who obviously don’t want ACT, they could have finished it.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 5, 2014 @ 11:36 am

  92. The cup of tea didn’t really help John Key. As a piece of political realpolitik, it backfired substantially, by reviving Winston Peters…

    One thing that surprised me after the last election was the under-45s who, motivated by the tea stunt, justified voting for Winston as a way of giving the finger to the political establishment.

    Comment by Joe W — February 5, 2014 @ 11:41 am

  93. >Remember, the point of the Epsom cup of tea was a two (or three) for the price of one deal.

    It still is a two for the price of one deal, because it costs them no seats, and gives them one. So two seats costs what one seat would. It’s actually better that ACT don’t get party vote share, because that comes out of their own party vote share. If Brash had got in on party votes, it would have cost them in two ways. Firstly, because those party votes would likely have been National voters otherwise. Secondly, because their proportional share would drop slightly to accommodate the ACT party list.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 5, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  94. Oh and third, they’d have to deal with Brash, something that I think Key would probably rather not have to do. It’s awkward to have people who used to be the National party leader hanging around, especially when they’re a bumbling ideological buffoon.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 5, 2014 @ 11:50 am

  95. Look, here’s Gower explaining the logic behind the deal at the time — http://www.3news.co.nz/Key-and-ACTs-Epsom-deal-is-just-so-filthy—blog/tabid/1382/articleID/230334/Default.aspx. It isn’t some absurdly quotient-chopping maximisation strategy, it’s an attempt to get Brash and Isaacs in so as to avoid wasting the ACT party vote. It didn’t do that. Gower even makes the clear point that once ACT drop below two MPs, National should foreclose and simply win Epsom outright.

    Banks taking a seat does cost National, both (considered narrowly) because as the largest party they stand to gain the most from wasted vote and because you have to assume a large chunk of the ACT vote would break for National if they were put to it, and because more broadly, ACT are unpopular, the cup of tea was unpopular, and John Banks himself is hugely unpopular. It was only seen as worth it to save the ACT wasted vote, which it turns out didn’t really exist.

    Comment by Keir — February 5, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  96. It’s awkward to have people who used to be the National party leader hanging around, especially when they’re a bumbling ideological buffoon.

    You’re not wrong. When he was ‘leader’ he had Brownlee tied up full time in parliament, just prompting him for when to sit, stand and genuflect.

    Comment by Joe W — February 5, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

  97. … justified voting for Winston as a way of giving the finger to the political establishment.

    In America that role is played by the “Tea Party”.
    Be careful what you wish for, etc.

    Comment by Phil — February 5, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  98. It’s awkward to have people who used to be the National party leader hanging around, especially when they’re a bumbling ideological buffoon.

    cf. Bill English.

    Comment by RJL — February 5, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

  99. >Look, here’s Gower explaining the logic behind the deal at the time

    His opinion is hardly convincing. He speculates about the motivations and fucks up the maths.

    I’m pretty sure you are still not getting what I’m saying here. It’s *extremely* simple. If Banks had not been elected in Epsom, National would have one less seat in their coalition. That’s ALL there is to it. It’s not hard maths at all.

    >both (considered narrowly) because as the largest party they stand to gain the most from wasted vote

    The MOST they could lose from the wasted vote in this case is their proportional share of ACT’s proportional share, which in the last election is 47.31% of 1.07%, about 0.5%. That’s less than one seat. And the other parties lose a proportional share too, so there’s even less in the loss side. The less ACT’s party vote, the better this all works out for them, but it’s still in the money. But on the gain side, they get an entire far right seat. It will back them in practically all decisions. It’s not likely to take the Opposition’s side on *anything*.

    > and because you have to assume a large chunk of the ACT vote would break for National if they were put to it,

    They might, but if they’re voting for ACT, and ACT gets a seat, then they get all those votes in their coalition. Indeed, there’s quite a few people that wouldn’t break for National, because it’s not right wing enough. Those would be lost if ACT disappeared.

    So in conclusion, even without coat tailing, National gains from ACT getting a seat, if ACT’s party vote is small. Take this idea and extend it to any arbitrary seat and you might have an inkling of what I’m saying here. If ACT got enough party vote for coat tailing, then that’s even better for National.

    Labour could do this too. There’s nothing special or exceptional about the National/ACT situation except that they dare to use it.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 6, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  100. Ben, I get what you’re saying. You are just wrong, unfortunately.

    Comment by Keir — February 7, 2014 @ 12:10 am


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