Friday, 26 November 2010

You're missing the point, Jim

Writes Jim Anderton in the Herald:
But the most critical factor, crucial to victory, is the National-held "marginal seats", many of which have been traditionally Labour-held seats. Their importance in any election result has been largely ignored. We only need to look to recent state and federal elections in Australia to see how important these seats are in determining the outcome.

Both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott spent what seemed like a disproportionate amount of their time in marginal seats. They knew only too well how important those seats were.

Marginal seats are often pivotal to election victory and that's where New Zealand's election next year will be won or lost. Currently, the National-led coalition Government of four parties has 16 more seats in Parliament than the Labour-led opposition of three parties. How many more seats does Labour have to win to be in a position to form the next government by having more seats than National?

The answer is only nine seats - if the nine seats are won by Labour off National and Labour wins all its current seats.

In Labour's favour, National has nine "marginal" seats which would be lost to Labour with a swing of less than 3 per cent.

These seats are: New Plymouth, 0.2 per cent swing (with a majority of 105 votes); Waitakere, 1.16 per cent (632 votes); West Coast-Tasman, 1.4 per cent (971 votes); Ohariu-Belmont 1.3 per cent (1006 votes); Otaki, 1.8 per cent (1354 votes); Auckland Central, 2.2 per cent (1497 votes); Hamilton West, 2.5 per cent (1618 votes); Te Tai Tonga , 2.8 per cent (1049 votes) and Maungakiekie, 2.9 per cent (1942 votes).

And then, of course, there is Wigram, an additional seat which I hold but, in my view, Labour will win, now that I am retiring from Parliament.
Of course, under MMP, if Labour picked up nine district seats from National, but the vote share didn't change, Labour would just get nine fewer list seats and National would get nine more list seats. Labour has twenty-two list seats currently. So they'd have to take at least twenty-three of National's district seats to force an overhang - that's the only point at which Labour taking National seats matters in determining the composition of Parliament.

I would have thought that Jim Anderton, who has been a Member of Parliament since the 1980s and who was there when they switched from FPP to MMP in the 1990s, would have known that. But he's apparently among the majority of Kiwis who really don't get how MMP works.


  1. Hard to belive he was deputy prime minister and leader of the Alliance grouping and to get this so completely wrong. Perhaps he was so busy he missed the advertising campaigns we taxpayers generously funded. Perhaps it is good he is retiring and not our Mayor.

  2. Could it be that this is just spin and Anderton doesnt actually believe what he is writing, but wants others to believe it.

  3. What could he possibly gain by convincing people to care more about their electorate vote than their party vote?