2014 Election – Post-mortem Up-date
Counting of Special Votes are completed and the Electoral Commission’s final election results have been announced;
National: 47.04 (60 seats – down 1)
Labour: 25.13 (32 seats – no change)
Green Party: 10.70 (14 seats – plus 1)
NZ First: 8.66 (11 seats – no change)
Maori Party: 1.32 (2 seats – 1 electorate, 1 List – no change)
ACT: 0.69 (1 electorate seat – no change)
United Future: 0.22 (1 electorate seat – no change)
Conservative: 3.97 (nil seats – no change)
Internet Mana: 1.42 (nil seats – no change)
2. Total Votes counted by Electoral Commission:
3. Voter turnout (as a percentage of enrolled electors):
4. Advance votes cast:
2011: 334,558 (14.7% of voters)
2014: 717,579 (29.33% of voters)
National lost it’s overall majority in the House, though with ACT’s single MP (and to a lesser degree, Peter Dunne), they will most likely still maintain a de facto majority regardless.
My belief is that National’s party strategists were acutely aware that once Special Votes were counted, they would lose their 61st MP, Maureen Pugh. This was a re-play of the 2008 and 2011 elections, where election night results were only temporary, and National’s numbers were pared back (usually by one seat) after the counting of special votes.
Little wonder that Key and National Party strategists have been very, very, very eager to form coalition deals with ACT, Peter Dunne, and the Maori Party. Despite Key’s noble-sounding public pronouncements,
“It’s more about, you know, the kind of inclusive government we want to have other parties working with us…
But equally, we sort of know each other quite well now, after six years we got a bit of a sense of the areas of importance and significance to each other and in a perfect world we don’t want to pass legislation 61 [to] 60 votes the whole way through, we do want to work with other people.”
Yeah, right, whatever. Key wasn’t being “inclusive” or “magnanimous” – he was playing his cards right, knowing full well what the Electoral Commission was going to deal out to his Party two weeks after Election night results.
National’s coalition deals with three minor parties was their “insurance policy”.
For the next three years, Key will be praying nightly to the political gods for all his MPs to remain alive, loyal, and healthy (in that order). At 60 Members of Parliament out of 121, National cannot afford too many by-elections or defections.
Not just on political life-support by the good graces of the National Party, but more importantly, ACT’s 7,200 drop in their Party vote signifies New Zealanders’ lack of appetite for any further right-wing, neo-liberal “reforms”.
This is something Key and National Party strategist should take careful note of. National’s increase in support may reflect a current preference by voters for a “steady-as-you-go” regime – not further radical moves to the Right.
It is also something that Left-Wing parties should take note: New Zealanders have expressed a subtle distaste for neo-liberalism. We need to capitalise on that.
On a side-issue, if ACT’s Party Vote is destined to reside with a tiny hard-core element of incorrigible, fanatical, right-wing voters, then what is the value of gifting Epsom to ACT if no other candidate will coat-tail into Parliament on the success of someone like John Banks or David Seymour?
There can only be one possible benefit to National: ACT is the “trojan horse” whereby unpopular right-wing policies (eg; Charter Schools) can be introduced as part of sham “coalition negotiations”. As Cameron Slater’s malicious right-wing blog was used to conduct “second track” vicious attack politics on National’s enemies, ACT’s usefulness lies in enacting right wing policies Key may not wish to be closely associated with.
United Future/Peter Dunne
UF’s drop in it’s Party Vote – by well over a half – signifies that voters see Dunne fully as a one-man band. He may continue to win Ohariu on Electorate Votes, but his low Party Vote results preclude any other UF candidates “coat tailing” into Parliament on Dunne’s localised success.
A Party Vote for UF has therefore become a “wasted” vote, and eventually National will ask itself a question, “Why are we supporting Dunne when we might as well go hard out to win the seat ourself, with one of our own candidates?” When the Nats cannot even pin unpopular policies on Dunne – what is his purpose to the centre-right bloc?
As well; the day that Green Party voters wake up to the reality that supporting the Labour Candidate, instead of their Green candidate, with the Electorate Vote, is the day Dunne loses his seat. His presence in Parliament is based purely on some Ohariu Green voters voting shambolically rather than tactically.
Interestingly, the Mana-Internet alliance was the only electorate-based Party to actually increase their overall Party Vote: from 24,168 in 2011 to 34,095 on 20 September. ACT and United Future between them lost much of their support. And whilst the Maori Party lost only 132 Party Votes – they lost two electorates; Tamaki Makarau and Te Tai Hauauru to Labour.
As history shows, Hone Harawira only lost his seat – Te Tai Tokerau – after Labour’s candidate was endorsed by John Key and Winston Peters, along with some very shady back-room dealings by the Maori Party.
Subsequently, the mainstream media, indignant commentators, etc, all piled on to the battered and bruised body of Mana, the Internet Party, Kim Dotcom, and Hone Harawira. However, New Zealanders should never forget;
- Through Kim Dotcom’s refusal to buckle to State power, we discovered that the GCSB had been illegally spying on 88 New Zealand citizens.
- After Kim Dotcom’s efforts, we now know that mass surveillance is being undertaken in this country. This is the new reality which the media seems to have over-looked (as per usual) in their constant demands for sensationalistic news stories (as if living in a mass-surveilled society wasn’t sensational in it’s own right).
- Yes, Kim Dotcom did fund the Internet Party to the tune of around $3 million.
- Compare that to National spending $2,321,216 from wealthy benefactors for the 2011 general election.
- And contrast with the $60,082 Mana spent at the same time. When did the media ever question the David-VS-Goliath battle between National and Mana in 2011? The answer is blindingly obvious.
New Zealand has a fine tradition of giving people a fair go.
We like to think we help one another.
There is also a darker side to our nature. Some call it “The Tall Poppy Syndrome”.
I call it bullying.
Less words. Same meaning.
Something Patrick Gower might reflect on.
Whilst I am no fan of Colin Craig and his ill-considered mish-mash of populist and right wing policies – I do recognise that National’s on-going refusal to carry out reforms to MMP – as recommended by the Electoral Commission in 2012 – is persistently creating bizarre and undemocratic results.
The Conservative Party polled 95,598 Party Votes – three times as high as the Maori Party, which was able to bring in a second MP on Te Ururoa’ Flavell’s “coat-tails”. Yet the Conservatives have no MPs, despite out-polling the Maori Party.
(Yes, I understand that the Conservatives achieved only 3.97% of the Party Vote. But who is say they would not have gained extra votes had the Party threshold been dropped to 4%, as the Commission recommended?)
Of the left-wing parties, the Greens fared better than Labour or Mana-Internet. Clearly, their extra 9,986 Party Votes came from Labour’s drop of 10,402 votes. Their campaign was well-targetted; they stayed consistently on-message; and their Party was not under-mined by loose-cannon-candidates engaging in open sabotage. (ref)(ref)(ref)
At 257,356 Party Votes, the Greens increased their support from their 2011 result ( 247,370 Party Votes). Their overall percentage dropped only because the overall number of Party Votes cast increased this election by 137,492.
NZ First benefitted from the increase in voting this year. The scandals exposed in “Dirty Secrets“, and the political fallout that affected Labour, escaped Winston Peters who has continually portrayed himself as “above petty politics”.
Peters, however, was not quite sufficiently “above petty politics” to under-mine Mana Leader, Hone Harawira, in his bid to retain Te Tai Tokerau. By endorsing Labour’s Kelvin Davis, Peters plotted with John Key and the Maori Party in an unholy, manipulative, venal triumvirate to destroy the Mana Movement.
Peters can get down and dirty with the worst of them, it seems.
Like Peters’ broken promises post-1996, the public will soon forget Peters’ quiet treachery. Unfortunately.
Ye gods, where does one start…?!
- The billboards which promoted electorate candidates – and mentioned the all-important Party Vote in barely-discernible small letters?!
- The constant attacks on a potential coalition support-partner by Labour candidates?!
- Allowing certain media political commentators to frame the narrative on coalition partners – thereby forcing Cunliffe to look too eager to “do the right thing” according to certain pundits?! (ref)(ref)(ref)
- Engaging in internecine warfare, whether pre or post-election – simply the most futile act that Labour could possibly engage in. Did they think no one would notice?
- Changing the leader, post-election. Does that mean Labour never had confidence in Cunliffe in the first place, and this his appointment was a mistake? Does that mean Cunliffe’s replacement may also be a mistake? Does it mean Labour has 100% confidence in their new Leader – until they don’t? So… why should the public have confidence in Labour’s new choice of a new Leader, when s/he may be temporary?
Perhaps Labour’s worst mistake of all the above was constantly deriding the Mana-Internet alliance. The constant attacks on Hone Harawira and his Party signalled to the public that Labour was weak; full of self-doubt and lacking in self-confidence. Labour’s desperation for votes was so dire that they were willing to attack and destroy a potential coalition ally, to cannibalise their electoral support.
That showed weakness.
And the public took note.
Contrast Labour’s treatment of Hone Harawira and Mana-Internet, with how John Key related to ACT, United Future, and the Maori Party: with confidence; courtesy; and collegiality.
When Key refused to make a deal with Colin Craig’s Conservative Party, he did so with professional courtesy. There was never any rancor involved, and despite refusing any Epsom-like deal, Key still left National’s options wide open to work with the Conservatives.
Key even flip-flopped on his previous hand-on-heart promise never to entertain any coalition deal-making with Winston Peters;
“I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead,” – John Key, 2 February 2011
When the public looked at Key, they saw a politician who said categorically he would be prepared to work with anyone.
The public liked that. The public want politicians to work together for the good of the country. Key not only said as much – he demonstrated it by working with parties as disparate as ACT, the Maori Party, United Future, and the Greens (though the latter not in any formal coalition agreement).
When the public looked at Labour, they saw a left wing party willing to consume another left wing party, to further their own selfish agenda.
Key showed collegiality and co-operation.
Labour exuded desperation.
Whoever leads the Labour Party after 18 November – take note.
The closet, political “party” in this election – the mainstream media. Acting much like a ‘spoiler’ for the Left, it did it’s damndest to engage in “gaffe” journalism; focus on trivia (scarves, holidays, etc); and failed to chase up real stories when they hit the public.
The nadir of junk ‘journalism’ came when Mike Hosking interviewed both Nicky Hager and National Minister, Steven Joyce, on 14 August, over revelations contained in the expose, “Dirty Secrets“.
As I wrote previously, when I reviewed this segment of “Seven Sharp”;
I encourage people to watch the opening segment, where Mike “interviews” Minister Steven Joyce, and then interogates and derides author, Nicky Hager.
Any pretence that Mike Hosking is an “unbiased journalist” has been firmly dispatched. The man is a mouthpiece for the National government and his behaviour and line of questioning proved it.
Nicky Hager’s investigations have uncovered practices that can only be described as an abuse of power by this government.
Did Hosking ask challenging questions to the Minister? Answer: no.
Did Hosking put specific examples requiring explanations to the Minister? Answer: no.
Was Hosking’s line of questioning relevant to the book and offer insights to the viewer? Answer: no.
Hosking then asked hard questions from Nicky Hager, who to his credit realised that he was being set up as the “fall guy” for the story.
This was not journalism. Not even close. It was superficial, Fox-style partisan politics masquerading as “informed debate”. Again, not even close.
The only television I have seen in my life that came close to Hosking’s slanted, pro-government performance was during my visits to Eastern European countries in my late teens/early twenties. In those times, Eastern Europe was ruled by well-policed, undemocratic, One Party “communist” regimes. Television “news” was little more than a mouthpiece for the government – no questions asked. There was never even an attempt at balance.
Hosking would have fitted in perfectly.
As far as I am concerned, Hosking’s “talent” lies elsewhere, but not in journalism. Perhaps a PR/spin-man for a cereal company or arms manufacturer or bordello run by the Chow Brothers (he’s already sold his soul, so the other bodily bits should be equally saleable).
On The Daily Blog, on 3 October, Keith Rankin made this pertinent observation
Note that the apparent conservatism of the mainstream media is due it being almost completely bound to the prevailing consensus; far more bound to it than even the politicians themselves.
“So once again the blue team gets one over the red team.Yes, it’s cringey, but it’s left Cunliffe looking whingey.”
Electoral Commission: 2014 General Election – Official Result
Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011
Electoral Commission: Party Votes and Turnout by Electorate
Dominion Post: National loses majority, Greens pick up one
NZ Parliament: The 2011 General Election
TVNZ ‘Breakfast’: Coalition deals signed – ACT and United Future
Radio NZ: Big change in Maori seats
Dominion Post: Lots left to be desired
Twitter: Patrick Gower
NZ Herald: MMP review recommends lower party threshold
Scoop Media: Māori Party’s first list MP Confirmed
Fairfax media: Mallard’s mad Moa blurt
Fairfax media: Winston Peters backs Labour’s Kelvin Davis
Fairfax media: Kelvin Davis blasts Mana Party
Election Ads: James Dann – Labour Party – 2014 General Election
Frankly Speaking: The secret of National’s success – revealed
Radio NZ: Cunliffe says no to Internet-Mana
Fairfax media: Possible coalition line-ups after election
NZ Herald: PM rules out any NZ First deal
TV3 News: Cunliffe apologises ‘for being a man’
The Daily Blog: When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
TVNZ: Seven Sharp 14 August
The Daily Blog: National Party Spice Boys
TV3 News Bulletin: Tuesday 30 September 2014
TV3 News: Key nestles in with the All Blacks
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 6 October 2014
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