The overhang

As I’ve said in a few posts before the Maori Party could have a big overhang at the next Parliament, and this could be crucial when it comes to forming a government after the election. Today a new Roy Morgan poll came out, giving National 62 seats with 49.5%, and Labour 44 on 35%. Nothing exceptional about this poll. But say between now and the election there is a 2% swing to Labour from National. The new seat figures (asuming the Maori Party win all seven Maori seats) are:
National 59 (47.5%)
Labour 46 (37%)
Greens 9 (7%)
Maori Party 7 (2%, 3 overhang seats)
Act 1 (1 seat)
Progressives and United Future (0.5% and 1 seat each)
National with Act and United Future gather 49.5% of the vote and 61 seats (usually enough to govern). Labour with the Progressive Party, Greens and Maori Party gather 46.5% of the vote but 63 seats, 4 of which come from the overhang. Labour (barring an unlikely National-Maori Party deal) get to govern, despite being over 10% behind National, and the coalition as a whole 2% behind National.

This is a very real possibility. David Farrar has a good post on that possibility. The first consequence would be to undermine MMP. I would even go as far as saying it could lead to the end of MMP. It would fatally undermine the main reason for introducing MMP to make Parliament more proportional. The other consequence suggested by Farrar. A Labour government elected under such circumstances would have no electoral mandate, although Helen won’t care so long as she is in power.

The other possibility that Farrar states is the possiblity of major parties creating two seperate parties, an electorate vote party and party vote party, leading to supplementary member style electoral system of around 190 politicians. I find this possibility unlikley, and there is nothing stopping this happening today. Whats more likely is that if the Maori Party entrenches its hold on the Maori seats, which are gradually increased in number each census, and they continue to preform badly in the party vote, the Maori party could hold the balance of power in perpetuity. Not a good outcome for New Zealand.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Maori seats, Parliament, Polls

5 Comments on “The overhang”

  1. daveawake Says:

    Dont you mean a 2 percent swing to Labour?

  2. Tane Says:

    How would moving to FPP – an even less proportional system than MMP – help make Parliament more proportional?

    There are other solutions, such as a reform of MMP to remove the Maori seats (with the consent of Maori) and as well as the 5% threshold that would lead to more proportional outcomes.

    You will recall I’m sure how FPP allowed parties to rule with as little as 30% support.

  3. nicholasokane Says:

    Davewake, my mistake. I have edited the post.

    Tane- I am a strong supporter of MMP, and think ditching FPP was one of the best constitutional changes we made in our history. MMP even with a disporportional maori seat overhang is far better than FPP. The problem is that many New Zealanders are not as educated about politics as we are, and believe that MMPs promise of greater proportionality to be a sham from this outcome, and then see it as no better than FPP.

    I agree that MMP should be reformed including abolition of the Maori seats (although I don’t care if Maori consent to it or not) and I support reducing the 5% threshold to a 0.83% threshold (so a party would only nedd 1/120 votes to qualify).

  4. Gilbertatd Says:

    favorited this one, man

  5. underground Says:

    While I disagree that a Labour coalition would have no mandate to govern, I agree that if they pulled it off confidence in MMP would decline. This could led to reverting back to the undemocratic FPP, which would be a disaster. All we need is some slight tweeks to MMP. I agree Nicholas, ditching or reducing the threshold would fix up the overhang problem, as would be ditching the Maori seats, making it more representative and democratic.


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