The Dim-Post

February 21, 2012

Chart of the day, used to vote for you but now doesn’t vote man edition

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:44 pm

So here’s the list results for the last four elections, but instead of calculating the percentage of votes each party received, I calculated the percentage based on the total number of voters on the roll for that election. So, in 2011, about 2.2 million people voted, but there were over 3 million people on the roll, and National won 34.5% of that second number. This gives you an idea of the fluctuating number of non-voters. (The columns don’t add up to 100% because I was too lazy to factor in the very minor parties).

So you can interpret this any number of ways. But I’ll hazard a couple of theories:

  • Maybe Key’s National Party hasn’t ‘captured the center’ as comprehensively as we think. Maybe they’ve just kept turnout high amongst their base – ie, the right – during a period of declining voter turnout, while also benefiting from the collapse of ACT.
  • Labour are probably losing votes to the Greens. But that’s dwarfed by the number of voters they’re losing to the ‘Don’t vote’ cohort. There are probably about 250,000 people who voted for Labour in 2005 who didn’t vote for anyone in 2011. We hear a lot about how Labour needs to woo non-university educated middle-aged white men who own their own businesses – Waitakere Man, ‘White van Man’ – and I’ve never quite grasped why a center-left party needs to chase after the most consistently right-wing, conservative demographic in the nation. Or why they need to develop policies that can attract voters in Rangitikei, one of the safest National seats in the country. If I were a Labour strategist I’d be looking carefully at that gigantic bloc of people who used to vote for me, even at the height of the feminazi identity-politics driven, liberal excesses of Helengrad, and no longer vote for anyone – not even lovable John Key or the class traitors in the Greens – and try and win them back.

62 Comments »

  1. If I were a Labour strategist I’d be looking carefully at that gigantic bloc of people who used to vote for me, even at the height of the feminazi identity-politics driven, liberal excesses of Helengrad, and no longer vote for anyone – not even lovable John Key or the class traitors in the Greens – and try and win them back.

    Hmmm. Now what change in Labour might have caused people who loved liberalism and identity-politics to throw up their hands in disgust? I wonder…

    Comment by Idiot/Savant — February 21, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  2. This could be even more interesting (or less interesting) if it were compared with the estimated number of eligible voters, including those not on the roll.

    The official results of the 2011 election seem to think there were about 4 million eligible voters, of which only 3 million were registered. (See the final row of the 3rd and 4th from right columns.) It probably includes New Zealanders overseas as part of the eligible voter count, but you’d think a lot of those unregistered voters are probably in New Zealand.

    Comment by MikeM — February 21, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  3. “I wonder…”?

    Not sure what you’re getting at I/S. Anti-smacking?

    I think National was very successful in turning people off Labour in the final four years of its three terms (and Labour helped) – it had a handful of effective lines it used over and over again, and a nice counter-narrative. In 2005, the ‘nanny state’ stuff hadn’t shaped the public’s perception of Labour as it had by 2008 and Brash was a much scarier propostiion to bother voting against.

    So, yes, you want to win back the non-vote and the ones that went to National but don’t think that the loss of those people was entirely Labour-created – the non-vote was at least as much National dissuading people from voting Labour as anything Labour did. Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t for Labour to work out how to turn people off National and inspire the non-vote to turnout in 2014.

    Comment by Dean — February 21, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  4. I live with a non-voter who says it doesn’t matter who wins, they’re all Tories, so what’s the point? He voted Labour in 1984 and was so disgusted with the outcome he didn’t vote again until 1999. At which point he was again turned off politics – not because Labour was too identity politics-nanny state-PC, but because they weren’t left-wing enough on economic policy.

    I’m sure a lot of non-voters are the same – centrist policies don’t speak to them but centrist policies are what you need to win the large block of voters you need to govern. And although Labour and National may be the same when it comes to many polices including economic fundamentals, around the edges they are very different. I’d rather be a beneficiary under Labour than National, and a high income earner under National than Labour.

    Comment by Me Too — February 21, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  5. Turnout can win an election, but since turnout depends heavily on how close the election is expected to be, you have to get within a couple of percent for this to be a feasible strategy. That is, winning votes off National then getting non-voters back on board is more feasible for the left than the reverse order.

    Comment by bradluen — February 21, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  6. Anyone using the term Tory to describe National is either a brought up in the UK class warrior still fighting the good fight or a NZ born prisoner of Mother England.

    Comment by Tinakori — February 21, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  7. Doorknocking in Mangere and Papatoetoe during the election there was a terrible level of disengagement, across the electorate. It’s deep, and sustained, and it relates to the inability of Labour to involve the population – and this is in turn because their policies turned to the middle class, in part because of policy capture from Peter Fucking Dunne and Winston’s mob, and in part because Labour started to actually believe it, thinking it was necessary to their electoral survival. If you think this is partisan rhetoric, just look at the Maori and Pacific employment rates during the mid-2000s property fuelled neoliberal boom, and look at yesterday’s report on the rise of communicable diseases during the 2000s.

    The number of non-enrolled is larger than ever, and this is a function of this awful mess. Unfortunately, 21 year old brown-Mangere-polytech girl and her Asian Mt Roskill counterpart don’t control the media in this country, and thanks to Cullen effectively selling TVNZ to private enterprise in return for a dribble-like revenue stream, she’s unlikely to get a look in until she’s affluent enough to appeal to advertisers.

    Comment by George D — February 21, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  8. Anyone using the term Tory to describe National is either a brought up in the UK class warrior still fighting the good fight or a NZ born prisoner of Mother England.

    Oh get off it. We needed a term to describe the filthy parasitic lot that implement policies that enrich them at the cost of a large and growing untermenschen*. We’ve imported it, and it’s serving a purpose.

    *which is what ‘under-class’ means, in plain speak. It’s almost as offensive.

    Comment by George D — February 21, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  9. Have you ever run a GOTV campaign Danyl? It is incredibly hard work. I’ve been marginally involved in a few, all completely unsuccessful. Labour can occassionally do it in some areas – for example, Len Brown sort of managed it in the local body elections in Auckland in 2010. But I think to do it effectively across the country we’d need to a) start state funding political parties to give them the resources you need for that kind of thing and/or b) look at changing the structural causes of low voting which I suspect are possibly linked to high inequality, poverty, and lack of political leadership (political parties shifting towards a poll driven style of professional politics, rather than a grass roots driven style of political leadership).

    Comment by Amy — February 21, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  10. @Mike M: “The official results of the 2011 election seem to think there were about 4 million eligible voters, of which only 3 million were registered.”

    Not quite … the “electoral population” figure means the estimated number of ALL people living in an electoral district (ie it includes those under 18, prisoners, etc who are not entitled to vote). Electorates are drawn up based on this total population figure, not on the number of electors in each are.. Hence, the figure for enrolled voters varies much more considerably that this one does (especially if there are lots of families with kids in a particular area).

    For what it is worth, NZ traditionally enrols 95% of all persons eligible to be enrolled – a very, very high figure internationally. So there isn’t much more could be done here, I suspect … if someone is so reluctant to enrol, the chances of them actually voting are (I suggest) negligible. The trick will be to get enrolled non-voters back to the ballot boxes.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 21, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  11. @ MikeM – yeh, kinda disturbing to think about how an election could be influenced by those 1 million or so expat voters. Ireland don’t allow expats to vote in their elections – perhaps NZ should limit it to ‘must have spent 6 months or more in NZ in last 3 years’ to be eligible to vote? Lets you vote in 1 election before droping off the electoral roll.

    @ GeorgeD – Helen Clark *chose* Dunne & Winston over the Greens. Labour *chose* their path of free market capitalism (NZ-China FTA anyone?), which gave the disengagement (along with social issues like S59).

    Actually Danyl, what about lag? I know people who voted Labour or Greens in 2005 giving them ‘one last chance’ despite their liberal social experiments, but then gave up in disgust in 2008 and 2011 when the economic policies failed and they still had the social policies they didn’t like.

    Comment by bob — February 21, 2012 @ 4:22 pm


  12. GeorgeD – Helen Clark *chose* Dunne & Winston over the Greens. Labour *chose* their path of free market capitalism (NZ-China FTA anyone?), which gave the disengagement (along with social issues like S59).

    Utterly true, unfortunately.

    Why am I waging war on historic events? Because those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it, in some form or another. Shearer told us last week that his summer reading was Blair’s autobiography, and that of the man who engineered his success. Help us.

    Comment by George D — February 21, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  13. Mike M, among the 20 and 30-somethings I know in Melbourne, enrolment is about 50%, and turnout lower still. I suspect the influence of overseas voters in any swing either way is likely to be small. They do however have to contend with living in a low information environment. NZ based family and occasional website use are likely to form the sum of their information about domestic politics.

    Comment by George D — February 21, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  14. One option to re-engage non-voters – allocate list seats according to proportion of registered voters, instead of actual voters. That is, instead of the current system of party vote getting ’rounded up’ by reallocating the non-voters and the party vote of parties that failed to get an electorate seat or 5% party vote.

    So, 120 seats get divided by 3 million odd registered voters. If National get 50% say of 2 million *actual* party votes in total, then they have only won 1m out of 3m votes, so get just 1/3 of 120 seats, or 40 seats for National.

    Proportionality is maintained, as all parties are in the same boat, so if the Greens got say 10% of 2m actual votes from 3m potential votes, then they only get 6.67%, or 8 seats instead of being rounded up to 12.

    The effect? All parties are massively motivated to convince voters to vote!!! It effectively gives us voters a de facto ‘no confidence’ vote with some teeth😉 Don’t convince us to vote, and you shed MPs (and hence paid party flunkies).

    There is a greater danger of electorate overhangs, but that is self-correcting, as such overhangs only happen when party vote slumps for a party; in which case they are less likely to win lots of electorates. There is also a danger of slump when voters are contented, but that is small beer…

    Thoughts of all and sundry?

    Comment by bob — February 21, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  15. Thanks @Andrew, and everyone else. That’s now making more sense.

    Comment by MikeM — February 21, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  16. @Bob
    Interesting – you should submit it to the MMP review under the proportionality section.

    http://www.mmpreview.org.nz/

    Comment by Richard29 — February 21, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  17. 2005 – the year the election was bought with the interest-free student loan bribe, the policy that attracted students, parents and grandparents.

    Comment by embassy — February 21, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  18. New Zealand politics is dominated by a public apetite for autocratic leadership in way not typical of other Western democracies. Since at least 1972 New Zealand has had presidential contest where the personality of the party leader was a powerful determining element in the outcome. Labours falling no-vote may at least be as due to the simple fact the Labour base needs a Kirk/Lange/Clark charismatic leader to really get out a big vote.

    Another observation might be that there may be a more complex interplay here – an unintended consequence of MMP in New Zealand.

    1/ Because of our small population, it may be that our political sphere reflects the general realities of business in this country – two large players exercise a duopoly of the market with smaller players lacking the scale necessary to “break through” and offer genuine and/or sustained competition.

    2/ The duopoly is concerned primarily with the struggle to dominate the voting centre, as defined by the elite corporate media and middle classes. This increasingly centrist electoral strategy from the duopoly means the non-voting fringes gets bigger. Since the first to fall out of voting are the poor, working poor and beneficiaries this creates a mutally reinforcing political feedback loop of a shrinking voter base in reaction to indistinguisable and centrist electoral timidity leading to an increasingly centrist and timid policy struggle for the shrinking voting centre which in turn moves inexorably to the right and the better mobilised elite… which leads to a shrinking voter base in reaction to indistinguisable and centrist electoral timidity leading to an increasingly centrist and timid policy struggle for the shrinking voting centre which in turn moves inexorably to the right and the better mobilised elite… which leads to a shrinking voter base in reaction to indistinguisable and centrist electoral timidity leading to an increasingly centrist and timid policy struggle for the shrinking voting centre which in turn moves inexorably to the right and the better mobilised elite…

    Etc etc.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 21, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  19. 2008, the year a party bought my vote with the promise of a tax cut.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 21, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  20. Yeah yeah class warfare between the media & corporate elite, middle class bourgeois and the proletariat, that’s what it is. nutbar.

    Comment by stephen — February 21, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  21. “17.New Zealand politics is dominated by a public apetite for autocratic leadership in way not typical of other Western democracies.”
    Blair was pretty autocratic. Most US Presidents are pretty autocratic. French Governments, too. Maybe the Germans tone it down a bit due to the presence of minor parties. Are you SURE we have an apetite? We got rid of Muldoon. Helen, too, once her party became arrogant/autocratic.

    “Since at least 1972 New Zealand has had presidential contest where the personality of the party leader was a powerful determining element in the outcome. ”
    But surely most western demo’s do, too? Unless you’re saying France, Germany, USA, United Kingdom DON’t vote based on personality of party leader? I Guess US mid-term elections don’t rely on a leader so much.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 21, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  22. Bob @ 2:52.

    Here’s a thought. If voter turnout continues to decline in spite of everyone trying really, really hard to get it to go up, you likely will have a Parliament which gets smaller and smaller. So, to use your example of 2 million of 3 million people voting, you’d end up with a Parliament of 80 MPs (maybe a few more because of overhangs). And 80 MPs is just too few to do the job properly (especially as about 25-odd of them have executive roles as well). So, in trying to save the political system, you may end up destroying it.

    So … if declining voter turnout really is such a “problem”, why are we pussyfooting about the issue? Make actually voting compulsory, like enrolling to vote is. Hell … if Australia can do it … .

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 21, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  23. @CF – you can add Australia to that list, too. Not sure Hawke/Keating/Howard/Rudd could be accused of being consensus builders who sought to bring people along with them whilst singing Kumbaya in harmony … .

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 21, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  24. @Stephen at comment 19 – sometimes I gotta confess that I just have to take a step back and admire right wing debate in all it’s glorious crayon.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 21, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

  25. Tinakori @6

    His only connection to the UK was to make a pilgrimage to The Hacienda while overseas in the 1990s.

    Comment by MeToo — February 21, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  26. Andrew G, can you comment on overseas voting? My understanding is that NZers overseas can only vote if they have been in the country in the last ? years. Which means only some of the 1m ex-pat kiwis are eligible to vote…
    Or can any overseas NZer vote?

    Comment by MeToo — February 21, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  27. Heh Sancy, I enjoy watching it too and what I love to juxtapose against the RWNJ commentary is the class warfare diatribe from the LWNJ’s.

    Comment by stephen — February 21, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  28. MeToo,

    Permanent residents lose the right to be enrolled (hence to vote) if they are out of NZ for a 12 month period continuously. Citizens lose it if they are out of NZ for a 3 year period continuously. Returning to NZ (even if for only one day) restores the right (in fact, the legal duty) to be enrolled. So, yes … a good few expats will still have the right to vote. But I’m actually not upset by that fact.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 21, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  29. sometimes I gotta confess that I just have to take a step back and admire right wing debate in all it’s glorious crayon.

    Are you referencing that Simpsons episode where Homer had a crayon removed from his frontal lobe where it had been lodged since he’d shoved it up his nostril in infancy, and his IQ instantly quadrupled?

    Comment by Joe W — February 21, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  30. Interesting analysis Danyl. I agree that the Nats hold on the so called “centre” is tenuous..

    Apart from the Nats bullshit about tax relief and matching OZ incomes they effectively dissuaded voters from voting for Labour (or anyone). The Nanny State thing was part of it.

    Cullen’s reticence on tax reform was not helpful. The “chewing gum” tax rebate insulted everybody.

    Labour managed to piss off a lot of possible voters with the the incessant micro management. Dog registration, tax on sherry and port, letting Australia decide what we could eat, letting Australia decide what we could choose to buy from “health shops” (while Howard was PM?).

    Foreshore and Seabed was badly handled (to put it mildly).

    The “anti smacking” thing was equally badly mishandled (it was not even a Labour initiative) but Labour was seen, again, as interfering in peoples lives.

    Shower heads and light bulbs were extraneous.

    Potential Labour voters did not turn up. All the National voters did.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — February 21, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  31. “why they need to develop policies that can attract voters in Rangitikei,”
    My two sons and most of their friends (here in rumpty Rangitikei) were eligible to vote and chose not to. Why? They see the duopoly as same old, same old, with Key the only distinguishing feature – and they think he’s a jerk. They don’t see a vote for a party other than the duopoly as worthwhile – they won’t get in so why bother? Most of them claim to be partial to Greens – or NZ First, funnily enough.

    Despite all the blah about student loans, they see plenty of their peers doing their pre-apprenticeship training, or computer courses at polytech, then ……nothing. No jobs, no real apprenticeships. Or those that go to uni, graduate and …. you guessed it, no jobs. They might as well as have gone to the burger joints & big box retailers etc in the first place, cos all they’ve got now is a student loan debt.

    I’ve worked in most of the high schools in the area and this response is typical from students. There’s a pervasive sort of hopelessness and cynicism, particularly amongst those from the bottom half of society. They see more clearly than anyone that NZ has been ratcheted down to a low-wage, casualised workforce, with few opportunities to build for themselves what used to be called a decent life.

    Comment by Kerry — February 21, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  32. Yeah Joe, perpetuate that myth about left wing academics being out of touch and derisory of middle New Zealand.

    Comment by stephen — February 21, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  33. The Alliance is a natural home for many of these non-voters who can’t stand the Greens or Mana or Labour – but it’s been a spent force ever since Jim Anderton bolted. Even the Conservatives with Colin Craig’s millions couldn’t get them into Parliament.

    I suppose it’s better than the entrenched political duopoly in the States.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 21, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  34. more people are too busy updating their status on facebook and twittering lame one-liners to be engaged in politics.

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  35. “more people are too busy updating their status on facebook and twittering lame one-liners to be engaged in politics.”

    What would it take to politicise them? Maybe something truly drastic and extreme, like the powers-that-be doing a Hosni Mubarak on the Internet.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 21, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  36. simulacra springs to mind

    Comment by NeilM — February 21, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  37. @Andrew: What risk is being mitigated by preventing citizens who have been out of the country for three years from voting?

    Comment by Hugh — February 21, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  38. This was what I said over a year before the last election. I think they should engage in a process called ‘We’re listening’ and go out and do that, and perhaps then they might make some progress.

    Their recent failures have been a result IMO of failing to ‘listen’ to people, and making it very apparent that they don’t care what ‘people’ are saying.

    Supreme irony of our democratic system is that it appears to induce deafness in our politicians. (with apologies to our recent Green Party MP).

    Perhaps this is why people stay home rather than vote.

    Comment by Eric Blair — February 22, 2012 @ 6:48 am

  39. @Hugh: “What risk is being mitigated by preventing citizens who have been out of the country for three years from voting?”

    It’s intended to ensure some sort of “commitment” to the country remains, I guess. And perhaps it reflects a pre-internet age, where keeping in touch with NZ issues/events was more difficult.

    But it’s one of those rules we’ve had from since forever – whether it makes any sense anymore is questionable.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 22, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  40. Kerry @30

    “They see more clearly than anyone that NZ has been ratcheted down to a low-wage, casualised workforce, with few opportunities to build for themselves what used to be called a decent life.”

    This to me sums up the issue. The middle classes are being squeezed slowly out of existence as the gap between rich and poor accelerates (with most heading downward of course). The ‘duopoly’ striving for the centre will increasingly be appealing to a shrinking voter base, and even even though it still might make for a majority, it also gives rise to an increasing number of disenfranchised voters.

    2002 would be the outlier for this theory though, but I could explain that because of the National’s vote collapse – everyone knew that Labour was going to win, so many blue’s just stayed at home.

    WRT Rangitikei voting NZF – I had a similar wtf moment when my ma and bro both indicated they’d vote Peters on election day last year (I’m original from Rangitikei as well). I don’t get it, but perhaps it has something to do with him being perceived as the last true conservative of old (read rural) NZ (heaven forbid)??

    Comment by Sam — February 22, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  41. “Make actually voting compulsory, like enrolling to vote is. Hell … if Australia can do it … .”

    Ahh, but you’ve ignored one crucial point. Australia enforces its electoral laws.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — February 22, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  42. Sam @ 40:
    I had a similar wtf moment when my ma and bro both indicated they’d vote Peters on election day last year

    Had a few of those from people I’d never have expected. The last time I experienced anything like it was during the Pauline Hansen phenomenon in Australia. In both cases the reasoning seemed to be that despite having no particular love for the candidate or party, it was a way of extending the middle finger to an entrenched and self-serving political duopoly.
    And the Greens are far too nice to ever offer that function.

    Comment by Joe W — February 22, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  43. Which is why, Graeme, we should be replacing our Electoral Commission with the Army. Civic duty at the point of the gun … .

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 22, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  44. Perhaps we should make voting compulsory (and enforce) it. But with a caveat: have an option for ‘no confidence’ that is allocated seats like any other party but these seats remain unfilled (i.e. the number of MPs is reduced in proportion to the % of no confidence votes). Those who don’t want to elect any of the current bunch can then safely tick ‘no confidence’ knowing that their votes count in exactly the way they’d want them to.

    Comment by wtl — February 22, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  45. The median amount of non-voters over the last four elections is around 22%. There’s also only a less than three percent difference between the amount of non-voters in 2002 and the amount of non-voters in in 2011. Also, given that the amount of non-voters last year was only 4.71% above the median percentage, makes me think that low voter turnout is only a temporary trend, not a lasting trend by any stretch of the imagination.

    These statistics confirm my belief that voter turnout will rise in 2014 because that is the vision that the statistics and the nature of politics in New Zealand at this point in time have merged together to illustrate.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 22, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  46. @18 Since the first to fall out of voting are the poor, working poor and beneficiaries…

    Interested to know where that fact is verified.

    Is trying to push the unwilling to vote worth the effort? The important thing is that they have the option – if they choose. Forcing the disengaged to vote is hardly going to improve the quality of our electoral decisions. It seems drivem more driven by desperation to find some more votes for one’s own cause than by improving our democracy.

    Shouldn’t we instead look at how we can improve the quality of our political behaviour and engagement therefore encouraging more people to vote, and more people to vote more intelligently?

    It’s not just politicians and parliament who could up their game, political operators and commentators have room for ample improvement.

    If it was less of a negative bitch fight between perpetually opposing forces and more of a positive “how can we best work together” then we might all end up feeling happier with the process.

    Comment by Pete George — February 22, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  47. Thanks Andrew, looks interesting, need a good study of it. But initial impression is that trying to push the politically disinterested to vote is unlikely to encourage interest or voting.

    Knowledge/education is an obvious factor. By the time they get to voting age they may have missed that boat.

    It’s not just the young disinterested who don’t think their vote will make any difference so there’s no point. One party vote on a national scale is hard to see as worth anything. Would it be better to try and prove a value of involvement at a smaller local scale first? (Yeah, hobby horse).

    Last night’s cathedral debate looked very academic and middle aged, people who have committed views and are likely to vote.

    How to find issues that interest younger non-voters and help them feel like their voice and vote can count? It needs to be driven by peers. Hard task. I guess that’s why parties just try and stir up votes on election day and then forget it for three years. They only want a win on the day rather than better voters.

    Comment by Pete George — February 22, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  48. “…If it was less of a negative bitch fight between perpetually opposing forces and more of a positive “how can we best work together” then we might all end up feeling happier with the process…”

    Actually I want to concentrate on this idiotic statement, because it is the philosophical fallacy that apparently lies at the heart of the United Future party, since it is the central raison d’etre offered for its miserable existence.

    The Middle Ground Fallacy, or Argumentum ad Temperantiam, is a argument for false compromises in which a person proposes a middle ground position that doesn’t actually exist.

    For example:

    National: “We propose to place all the babies born to long term beneficiaries in a blender because beneficiaries cannot afford to have babies.”

    Labour/Greens: “You can’t put babies in a blender!”

    United Future/Pete George: “It is only common sense that we work together to ensure only those who really hopeless beneficiaries have their babies put in blenders”

    Congratulations! Pete George is sensible centrist!

    It needs to be stated, because it seems it is not obvious to Pete george or peter Dunne, that compromise, in and of itself, has nothing to do with truth and with what is right or wrong.

    If you want to argue it always better to see “how can we best work together” then you’ll have to demonstrate why that is so.

    And I don’t want your usual common denominator fallacy bullshit – “Whether blending the new born children of long term beneficiaries is right or wrong, we can at least all agree long term benefit dependence is bad – so we actually do agree” – or your pathetic phantom distinctions (“I don’t think we should blend babies, I just think the governments argument has some merit”) because I’ve have had it up to my eyeballs with your insulting of my intelligence with your deceitful and dishonest fallacies masquerading as arguments.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 22, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

  49. Can we put you in a blender Sancy?

    Comment by merv — February 22, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  50. @Andrew: Yeah, that’s the only justificiation I can think of, and I have to say I find the idea that those who are insufficiently “committed” are disenfranchised quite scary. Not to mention that even if we do think it’s a brilliant idea, returning for just a day is not much evidence of “commitment”.

    Comment by Hugh — February 22, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  51. Sanctuary – you inspire me. To find a better way. Sour ideologists are even less likely to change than disinterested non-voters.

    Comment by Pete George — February 22, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  52. http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/disinterested_uninterested.htm

    There is often confusion over the words ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’.
    Disinterested

    Disinterested means ‘not taking sides’ or ‘impartial’. It denotes that there is no personal interest or benefit at stake.

    We are struggling to identify twelve disinterested people for the jury.
    (twelve impartial people; i.e., with no personal interest)

    An investigation into the penalty decision has reportedly uncovered that the referee was not disinterested in the outcome of the match.
    (the referee had a personal interest in one particular side winning)

    Most of the spectators at the football match were disinterested. (possibly )
    (This is only correct provided the writer means that most the spectators did not support one side or the other. The match may have been very interesting.)
    Uninterested

    Uninterested means ‘not interested’. It is the consequence of something being uninteresting (i.e., boring, uneventful or arousing no interest).

    Paul, I am quickly becoming uninterested in your ideas.
    (Paul’s ideas arouse no interest.)

    I used to collect stamps, but I am uninterested these days.
    (not interested / find it boring)

    Comment by Rhinocrates — February 22, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  53. It may be clearer to say “voters who don’t give a stuff”.

    Comment by Pete George — February 22, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  54. Or more accurately ‘voters who don’t give a stuff about the tawdry, self-servings jobsworths presented to the electorate or the lackluster ideologies they promulgate.’

    Comment by Gregor W — February 22, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  55. Gregor, I think there’s a big dollop of both. Some are well aware of the tawdriness, some have no idea.

    Comment by Pete George — February 22, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  56. @Kerry @30 Well said. Neither Labour nor National had much by way of ideas for these people. Labour came up with free apprenticeships, but it was so poorly, weakly communicated that even the tradies I know who liked the idea of a free apprentice didn’t realize it was Labour policy. Neither party could commit to the one most obvious cause of youth hell, having to pay for their education, despite this education being both practically vital to even a reasonable wage, and there not being enough jobs for them to pay it off with afterwards anyway.

    The youth I do know are not lazy and unwilling to work, but they are cynical about the chances of finding any that could pay even the most modest rent.

    Unfortunately, also, I just don’t know many youths. They’re not in the workplaces I find myself in, because they’re not qualified. They can’t afford (or are too young) to go to places I used to hang out in to meet people. I can’t afford tertiary education so I can’t go there to find them. The end result is that it’s really hard for me to even hear their voice – I really do have to actually seek it out. Even then, I have to tease out their opinion – they’ve spent years being lectured by middle aged people, and they don’t much like it, so they don’t engage that way – it’s quite a hard business.

    The funny thing I usually find is that whilst they are disengaged from politics to an epidemic degree, they are not disengaged from life – indeed I feel that it’s my own and older demographics who most fit that shoe. They have never even entered the industrial machine to have their hopes and dreams squashed out of them, so they live as survivors do, finding joy in the small things they can afford, the main one being each other’s company, and the things they do together. I wish I could say the same for my generation whose sense of worth is deeply tied into their employment, and robbed the moment that goes south.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — February 22, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  57. Obviously, if you applied the most “logical” centrist solution to everything, you’d end up with a cache of horrible ideas that wouldn’t garner any support.

    But, as the founder of the Liberal Party of NZ and Other Isane Stuff blog, which embraces centrism, I would say that there are a lot of centrists out there, a lot of “swing voters”, and they all embrace centrist views in their own personal way.

    Some centrists say, “I support National but I don’t know about the sale of state assets”, others say, “I don’t support either”, and others say, “I support National on some things and Labour on others.”

    It’s not always about having a so-called compromise, it’s about compromise in the over all picture.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 23, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  58. “Some are well aware of the tawdriness, some have no idea.”

    There’s another set: those who think only the other crowd are tawdy.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 23, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  59. @ Ben Wilson, comment 57 – Wow! You summed up beautifully what I have seen and heard of our youth & unemployed. Pity you’re not our youth and social development minister – maybe Paula could job share with ya?😉

    @ Andrew G, comment 22 – true, but I’m actually pretty relaxed about my proposal (comment 14) causing a slump in number of MPs. Firstly, because I can *name* 40 recent MPs who no-one would notice if there weren’t there (yes, Ashraf Chaudry, I’m looking at you).

    Second, because I think you have to get to a pretty low level of MPs before government actually becomes ungovernable. Select committees can shrink – they are often pointless anyway, with MPs rudely ignoring or shouting down (Tau Henare, John Carter – both Nats) submitters; even ignoring blatant flaws being pointed out in Bills because they just don’t value the public input.

    Third, if MPs are ‘really trying’ to get voter turnout, and aren’t getting it, so their numbers shrink, then maybe they need to rethink what they are doing to get voters involved. Perhaps it is because they want voters to tick their box, but don’t really want voters engaged and involved in the political process that is the real problem here – in which case, I see little difference between the political nature of the mid-East tyrannies being overthrown and our government (though obviously there isn’t the military suppression here).

    Nothing sharpens the mind of an MP like the prospect of being unemployed!

    The only real downside I see to my ‘voter engagement’ proposal is MPs bribing voters with short-term largess, but people’s common sense should see through that easily – it’s very hard to bribe most of the populace without ludicrous bribe costs, which everyone rejects.

    Comment by bob — February 23, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  60. Oh, WRT above comment, or MPs could just raise the total number of MPs in Parliament so that even if only half get elected under poor voter turnout, the total number of MPs is still same or higher than now. But again, voters would likely react so badly to that and boycott voting to slump the number of MPs even worse than before😉

    Comment by bob — February 23, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  61. Sam @ 40
    WRT Rangitikei voters having a penchant for Winston & NZF – I suspect some of it comes from the military. Ron Mark in particular (ex-army i think) was held in high regard in military and police circles, he seemed to have some of that ‘no bull, fight for the right and the good’ thing going on for them. I met quite a few older folks (not pensioners) who decided before Teagate to vote NZF and that again seemed to reflect the ‘no bull’ idea. More small town sentiment than rural – conservative, angry at the loss of community values, still pissed at the 4th Labour government/Rogernomics & political correctness. But they had sure had enough of the duopoly.

    Ben Wilson @57
    Yeh, I think you’re on the money with the teens, but I would add that I have been quite shocked at the level of violence going on in and out of schools. The txt bullying & setting up of fights, all to be captured on film & distributed everywhere, also home-made porn & party porn does the rounds via cellphone. It can all be arranged instantly & happen before any adults know about it. There’s some great creative stuff happening tho,wearable art is big, garage bands etc.

    Comment by Kerry — February 23, 2012 @ 10:57 pm


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