Home > The Body Politic > Learn to count, Mr Prime Minister.

Learn to count, Mr Prime Minister.

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Full Story

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John Key bemoans the fact that, in winning 47.99% of the Party Vote, that his government will have “only”  60 seats in Parliament. This, despite the fact, that 60 seats is approximately 48% of the total seats in Parliament (plus over-hangs).

In fact, Key makes this bizarre statement,

But it’s a funny system when you can poll this massive number and still theoretically be wondering whether you’ve got a government.

”If this was First Past the Post and there were 100 MPs, there would be roughly 65 National seats and 35 Labour, so it would be this massive majority.

”Yet under MMP you sit there and go, ‘you’ve got this hugh result and yet it still feels tight’.”  Source

Mr Key needs to understand that  proportional representation gives a Party the number of seats that they are entitled to – no more, no less, generally speaking.

For him to say that  ”if this was First Past the Post and there were 100 MPs, there would be roughly 65 National seats and 35 Labour” is nonsensical. If the Tooth Fairy existed, I’d have fifty cents for a tooth I lost some years ago.

For one thing, under First Past the Post, there is no guarantee that a Party will recieve seats in Parliament according to how the punters vote. Two (in)famous examples are the general elections of 1978 and 1981, where Labour won more votes than National (under FPP) – and yet National gained the majority of seats. Muldoon’s government was elected with a minority of votes.

There is no internal logic to FPP. It is a purely random system that does not deliver rational results, set on any sound principle.

There is no sound reason why Key’s belief that –  ”if this was First Past the Post and there were 100 MPs, there would be roughly 65 National seats and 35 Labour” – would come true. It could equally be true that under FPP, Labour would have won more seats.

Let me explain it to Mr Key in terms that he should be able to comprehend;

Mr Key is selling shares in Company X. Each share is $1. If I am buying $400 worth of shares,  and another guy is buying $600 worth of shares, how many shares do we each get?

Test on Monday.

If John Key thinks he should get 65 seats out of 100 (65%), then let him campaign for that result.

Otherwise, as the immortal Bard put it, “Suck it up, dude, and deal with it!”

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Categories: The Body Politic Tags: , ,
  1. Peter Martin
    30 November 2011 at 4:56 pm

    It’s the dichotomy between a born to rule mentality and having to garner popular support to do so.
    I hope he doesn’t have a melt down..;-)

    • 30 November 2011 at 6:56 pm

      I think that comes through quite clearly, Peter. The right-wing seem to have the very sense of entitlement that they apportion to society’s underclasses.

      And it doesn’t look very nice at all.

  2. 1 December 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Mandate or not. National doesn’t have a majority, so don’t have a mandate. The centre-right has a majority.

  3. Tom Sawyer
    6 December 2011 at 12:17 am

    Key’s going to try it on big time in the next three years. Mark my words.

  1. 30 November 2011 at 9:26 pm

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