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NEW ZEALAND ELECTION 2011 November 27, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics, The Neighbours.
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I am interested in the polling results and have no idea what the campaign issues were. The National Government led by John Key was returned. Early voters suggest that the Multi-Member Proportional system will be continued.

The New Zealand Herald reports:

With nearly all votes counted in the 2011 general election, National secured 48 percent of the vote tonight while Labour mustered just 27 per cent support.

With 100 per cent of polling places and just over two million votes counted, the Greens were sitting on 10.62 per cent and New Zealand First comfortably managed to clear the 5 per cent threshold, sitting on 6.81 per cent.

Of the minor parties, the Maori Party managed 1.35 per cent, United Future 0.61 per cent, the Conservative Party 2.76 per cent, Act 1.07 per cent and Mana 1.00 per cent of the vote.

The graphics showing the results seem to indicate there are four electoral seats (if that is what they are called) in doubt at the end of the night’s counting, with one of them on a tie. The Labour Party seems to have hit bedrock with it’s 27% support, but the National Party was in a similar position a few years ago. Winston Peters will be returning to Parliament. His party, New Zealand First, seems to have done well.

In theory if the Labour Party were to get together with the Greens, NZ First and others they could get the numbers to form the Government. It seems that the more likely outcome is that the Nationals and the Maori Party will continue their coalition. This is an interesting contrast, it seem to me, with preferential system based on an absolute majority. It cannot be argued that proportional representation provides a plurality of representation in the Parliament.

So what happened in the referendum on the voting system? At this point there are only the pre-poll votes counted. The Herald reports:

With 100 per cent of the 284,312 advance votes counted in the referendum, 53.89 per cent of voters were keen for MMP to be retained, while 42.46 per cent would like the system change, and 3.65 per cent were informal.

Asked which system voters would prefer should MMP be abandoned, 31.76 per cent opted for First Past the Post, 14.48 per cent chose Supplementary Member, 11.27 per cent picked Single Transferable Vote and 8.21 per cent chose Preferential Vote, while a whopping 34.29 per cent cast informal votes.

These voters appear to be consistent with the poll results, as reported by Antony Green. It is interesting that voters and poll respondents seem to have preferred the Tasmanian Lower House system to preferential voting. The disquiet with PR seems to be the voice and role that minor parties have, which is the point of the system. I am assuming the referendum will be decided on the basis of first past the post principle.

More news to come. There are four seats to be decided, and I am guessing because of the margins, recounts. And we get to see the results for the referendum, which may take some days.

POSTSCRIPT:

Why is it, that with the best available electoral system, more people are choosing not to vote?

Despite the plurality that the system allows, I am guessing the media political discourse remains bipartisan. If true, there would be a mismatch between political culture and the political system.

UPDATE:

Antony Green, via Blogotariat, summarizes the final election results, including the referendum on MMP.

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