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Amusing MMP tactics

  • July 20th, 2011

It is amusing to hear Grant Robertson MP slagging ACT and National for letting the Epsom voters increase the effective vote of the centre right.

He understands it perfectly. In Wellington Central in 2008 he gained vital votes from Sue Kedgley's effective steer of her Green supporter electorate vote to him (and away from her).  

Of course I tried hard to head that off. But I could not complain that is was unfair, or somehow an insult to electorate voters as Mary Wilson tried to get Mr Goodfellow to agree last evening.

In the 2002 and 2005 campaigns I openly steered ACT supporters away from me and toward Hekia Parata, then Mark Blumsky, with their electorate votes.

We did not invent MMP but we have to work under it.


  • Steve Withers
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 12:51 pm

MMP as we have it now was invented by MPs. We do not have the MMP system as the Royal Commission recommended it. 
Labour and National MPs introduced the single-seat rule for minor parties that is the at the centre of such gaming of the system. 
So you're right. "We" the voters didn't create MMP as it is now, but "we" the MPs in the 1990-1993 Parliament did "invent" the rule at the centre of your post. 

  • Gavin Long
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 6:14 pm

@Steve Withers – You are wrong about the electorate waiver (or the "single-seat rule for minor parties"). It was actually part of the Royal Commission recommendations. Go to paragraph 2.190 of the report and read the first sentence. The main two differences between the Royal Commission version of MMP and the one we have today is the threshold is 5% rather than 4% and we also still have Maori seats. 

  • Gavin Long
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 6:34 pm

@Stephen Franks – I think you're correct that there is no legitimacy in criticising National/ACT in Epsom. However, you seem to be suggesting in this article that it is MMP that leads to tactical voting problems when in fact it is a FPP election (to win the Wellington Central seat) that you draw most of your examples from.

FPP results in large levels of tactical voting as voters should not rationally vote for their preferred candidate unless they are polling in the top 2. MMP results in far less tactical voting, because you can usually just vote for your preferred party. The problem comes with threshold/electorate waiver. These can be easily solved by allowing preferential voting to occur so that people can rank  parties/candidates. If their preferred party does not make it into parliament their vote gets redistributed to the party that is highest ranked on their list that did make the cut. Likewise, voters should be able to rank candidates in electorate races.

  • Roger Strong
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 10:37 pm

 I agree its working within the rules and the besides the voters still have the choice-they are quite capable of working it as they have demonstrated many times.   Funny Labour didn't think that there was anything wrong with doing a similar thing in Wigram……….

  • Evan
  • July 22nd, 2011
  • 11:33 am

@ Stephen Franks  You are not comparing like with like.  The tactical voting your were involved in surely impacted on just one electorate seat, Wellington Central.  Hekia Parata and Mark Blumsky did not need an electorate seat in order to get a team of MPs into the house!  In fact did you recommend this voting strategy as part of the deal to get Rodney Hide elected in Epsom?  
It suggests to me that the threshhold needs to be applied to all parties.  If John Banks wins and his party does not meet the threshhold, Banks goes solo into Parliament.  He is capable enough to survive there.

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