With regards to the Maori Seats, Overhangs, 5% thresholds, electorate seats and United Future trying to take a line on removing them:
“United Future has been one of the more anomalous features of the political landscape since the introduction of MMP. In 1996 and 1999, Dunne carried his electorate, Ohariu-Belmont, but his party’s shares of the vote (0.9 and 0.5 per cent respectively) would not have seen it in Parliament otherwise; in 2002, United Future got eight MPs, partly by feasting on the remains after National’s massacre and partly because an electronic worm in a leaders’ debate responded positively to Dunne’s repeated intoning of the phrase common sense.”
“By the last election United Future’s boilover of support had noticeably cooled: the party got three MPs, one of whom has since defected. And in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey, it is at the very bottom of the party-vote pile, on a paltry 0.2 per cent.
Right now, Dunne is the very last person in our politics who should be complaining about a party’s over-representation in the House on the strength of its showing in electorate contests. That same poll has Maori Party support at 2.4 per cent well short of what it needs to get list seats in Parliament, but some 12 times as much as United Future can muster. Dunne has always had a wildly inflated sense of his place in the scheme of things, as his tantrum on election night in 2005 famously demonstrated, but numbers like those should give even him pause for thought.”
This is MMP:
“The influence that the Maori Party may exert in the formation of the next Government will strengthen the argument of those who feel that, under MMP, small-party tails are wagging large-party dogs. But that does not, of itself, argue for the abolition of the Maori seats. NZ First, Act, United Future and the Progressives have all, at different times and to different extents, exerted influence disproportionate to their mandate. That is MMP.”
“There is an argument to be had as to whether a party-vote threshold, perhaps lower than the existing 5 per cent, should have to be crossed before local success can deliver a seat in Parliament. But the need for that discussion arises because of all the minor parties and the different demographics of their constituencies. It is not an issue raised by the case of the Maori Party alone.”
I personally think that the 5% rule should be removed and if you win enough votes to get a seat you get it. Or if this is going to bring too many “randoms” into parliament and create 12 headed monsters then make it 3 MPs like they do in some other MMP countries. (I also think no party should be able to get over 35% of the vote but lets not go there).
“It seems strange that the media still promote poll results as if it’s merely a contest between National and Labour. It’s actually between a Clark-led centre left coalition and a Key-led centre right coalition. At present it’s too close to call.”
“Smith’s unguarded comments expose a nasty side of the Nats that won’t be lost on the Pacific Island and other migrant communities.
If the publicity of these comments even knocks 1 or 2 per cent off National’s vote it may be the difference between winning and losing, and certainly puts it at the mercy of the Maori Party.
It will make it harder for the Maori Party to convince its supporters that National has changed its spots and be considered a possible coalition partner. Maori voters overwhelmingly prefer Labour over National.
National’s post-election price to the Maori Party was always going to be high. Polls show the size of Parliament will increase to at least 125 seats and therefore make it almost impossible for National and its right-wing allies to get a majority without the Maori Party.
National would probably have to repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation and guarantee the future of the Maori seats for the Maori Party to risk its electorate base. It’s a big ask, of course, but after nine years in the wilderness I think the Nats would trade their grandmother if they had to.”
“Clark and Key understand that they are almost certain to have to deal with the Maori Party if they want to be prime minister. If we believe the polls, Clark’s best chance of keeping her job is if the number of MPs in Parliament is increased above 120 because of an overhang.
If that happened National and its allies would just fall short of a majority of MPs. This would only happen if the Maori Party won more electorate seats than its party vote percentage allowed. Ironically Labour’s slim chance to remain in government may happen if the Maori Party defeats it in the seven Maori electorates and National won’t repeal the seabed and foreshore legislation. How delicious.”
And ironically at the end of the day it could be Labour losing the Maori Seats that keeps them in power. Politics, nothing is ever clear cut.