Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Election 2014: the no threshold counterfactual

19 Responses

  • archie t,

    Not that it would make any difference this time. But if we had no threshold, I'd hope and expect the D'Hondt method would be used, not the Sainte-Laguë.

    nz • Since Sep 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Electoral Commission's guidelines are implemented this term. It now clearly benefits the Nats to do so (Conservatives will get across next time at 4%, no advantage at all in the last 2 elections to coat tail).

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall,

    I personally favour the ability to order my party vote, so if my first choice doesn't make the threshold my vote can be transfered to a party that does.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • archie t, in reply to archie t,


    i was only thinking the alcp would not make it this time.

    of course it would harm the small parties

    nz • Since Sep 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to archie t,

    Zero threshold places use a first divisor of 1.4 (or higher) but stick with Sainte-Laguë. For 120 seats it's effectively a 0.6% threshold.

    Even with the Conservatives I like it better. National gets a lot of combinations (seven, I think) to trade off against each other for their votes on each issue, piss-easy minority government.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's a counterfactual because why? 7 seats would have been decided differently in favour of the 113,000 people who voted for Conservatives or IMP. If you believed in more proportional representation yesterday why would you stop believing it today?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Definition from an online dictionary:

    Counterfactual: expressing what has not happened but could, would, or might under differing conditions

    It's just a "what might have been" scenario, without a threshold, and all else being equal.

    Melbourne • Since Jul 2009 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And it seems Labour & Green voters in Epsom and Ohariu still remain too politically tribalistic to tactically vote.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • mike gemmell,

    I'd like to see something like an approval voting system for electorates. Where you can vote yes or no to any or all of the candidates. It's supposed to elect the Condorcet winner almost all of the time and goes some way to negate tactical voting.

    Since Aug 2012 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Robert M, in reply to ,

    Re: tactical voting: In Epsom, Labour + Green + NZF + Maori + IM candidates received 5557 votes, their parties received 8926. So maybe about 38% voted tactically (presumably for the National candidate). National received 9398 candidate and 19961 party votes, so 53% voted tactically. It's hard to believe that anything would cause even more people to vote tactically, it's already significant on both sides.

    Since Sep 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Robert M,

    If the left told people to vote Blue candidate, it would just drive more National voters to the Yellow one. They have over twice as many party votes, they can elect whoever the hell the want with a 67% split.

    It makes more left votes nationwide to complain at what National's doing in Epsom and casually drop people out of the odd close race. Plus, Green voters in Epsom actually want National in, for the most part, so would vote for the Yellow candidate too, and it would cost the Greens party vote.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    The people who are voting Labour candidate in Epsom or Green candidate in Ohariu will either be (a) very principled and impossible to sway or (b) low-information voters who don't know what they are doing. Inherently, there is almost nothing political parties can do to change the behaviour of those voters.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • icehawk,

    The Conservative party platform is evil, and I am gleeful at their misfortune.

    Yet even I acknowledge that their exclusion in unfair. I hope the Nats do reform the threshold.

    I question, however, your belief that it is in the Nats best interests to do so. Always remember that the greatest enemy of a radical anarcho-syndicalist Trotskyite faction, against whom they strive and struggle most diligantly, is another radical anarcho-syndicalist Trotskyite faction. Cue the PLA from 'The Life of Brian'. So too on the centre-Left, where Labour's treatment of the Greens has varied between shoddy and hostile, and the centre-Right, where National doesn't want to lose its seats to the Conservatives, thanks.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Labour and National really still want it to be FPP with two parties where they scrap over the median voter and can ignore everyone else, but what Social Credit and the NZ Party did to them in '81 and '84 resp. means they can't.

    It's funny, they set up the 5% margin to try and generate four parties, hold the two big ones in the center and get a wing each for the radicals. But it didn't stick, Winston wants the center, the left is too diverse here. A 4% margin would have let five parties stick to add Winston on the cross, but then Dunne the eternal minister and the crazy Christians are there too, and the left didn't even last their first war in office.

    So what we need is a tiny margin for micro-parties where almost everyone votes National anyway, and the fogies, the left, the liberals, the greens, their various fragments sometimes block and drag them around a bit. Sometimes Labour even gets in if National is stupid. Like the old days.

    And the current 5% threshold just messes with that vibe terribly, always trying to find four parties that just can't work in NZ. The Majors are trying to wait it out, National hoping for Winston to die, Labour viciously stabbing at the constant stream of splitters on the left.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to ,

    but the Conservatives insatiable desire to lock people in prisons, just gives me the shits.

    "the Conservatives insatiable desire to lock poor and brown people in prisons"


    Maori kids with spray cans should go to prison; White-guys-with-knives who chase Maori-kids-with-spray-cans down the road and stab them to death should be applauded for being tough on graffiti.


    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to ,

    I don’t really understand how tactical voting isn’t isn’t tribal. Voting for your local MP, even if the polls tell you it’s futile, because they represent your ideology isn’t tribal, it’s just being truthful. And trust me, that’s a more sustainable way of being.

    Yes! And it's more than a little obnoxious to bitch people for, you know, casting their electorate vote for the person on the ballot they thought would be the best MP. Perhaps I'm biased by Bolger's treatment of Mark Thomas, but perhaps the media-political complex need to get the fuck out of their Beltway bubble and stop treating voters like silly little "sheeple" who need to do what they're told by their betters. Seriously. Cut that shit out.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I do wonder (I have no data to back it up) whether some National voters in Epsom gave their electorate vote to Labour or the Greens because they didn't want to hold their noses and vote for Act. They had been told not to vote for the National candidate, and did so, but just couldn't go the extra yard and vote yellow. Just a thought. These voters, after all, will tend to be well-educated and high-income earners, so will know how the system works. They get their desired outcome but still get to say they refused to be gamed by the system.

    Also...a question. Dunne caused the overhang this election, with just 0.22% of the votes. In a closer election would that overhang have had the potential to cost National the Treasury benches? If that's the case, at what point does an accommodation to a minor party become a disadvantage when you are aiming for 50% +1 seat? This must be a consideration in 2017 with Act & UF having the potential to create two overhanging seats (all things remaining equal). Just curious.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Stephen R,

    “the Conservatives insatiable desire to lock poor and brown people in prisons”

    If there's a racial motive to do so, then the CCCP are pretty good at concealing it. If they didn't, they'd probably be a lot more like the European ultra-populist movements like the Front National, UKIP or Partij voor de Vrijheid.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    And with the specials counted (update the post!) the Greens grab a seat off New Zealand First, instead of from National, in this counterfactual situation.

    Still 7 seats change
    +5 Conservative and +2 Mana,
    National -3, Labour -2, Green -1, NZ First -1.

    @PualRowe, Without National supporting Dunne, his overhang disappears and the other seats remain the same. They need 61/120 instead of 61/121, which means they need to get one more seat voting for S&C somewhere to govern.

    In this counterfactual, it's National 57 + anyone that adds to 4, so Labour (free trade and neoliberalism), Greens (socialism), Winston (nationalism), Colin (kicking the poor), Maori/MANA, Maori/UF/ACT, MANA/UF/ACT.

    Without United, the last two options disappear and they're back to 5 ways to pass legislation. Note that the opposition can also pass things by including all but National+2, which seems unlikely. Blocks asset sales though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

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