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NZ election

September 17th, 2005

The polls are just closing in the NZ election, for which the opinion polls have been all over the place. I’m surprised the result is even close. Helen Clark seems to have done a pretty good job, the Nationals were terrible when last in office, and while Don Brash seems like a nice enough guy in personal terms, he wasn’t much of a success as head of the Reserve Bank. The Monetary Conditions Index he introduced was a disaster and he zigged where the RBA zagged at the time of the Asian crisis, producing an unnecessary recession. However, we’ll know the result soon enough.

Update 6:30 pm Although I don’t have any knowledge of the details of the NZ system (such as which areas are counted first), the Nationals have a big lead with 20 per cent of the vote counted, and will presumably form the new government, either with an outright majority or with the support of NZ First.

Further update Sunday AM A premature concession last night! As in Australia, it appears that rural polling places finish counting first. It looks as though Labour may be returned, although the complex relationships between the various minor parties may complicate this. A sidelight of interest in relation to the debate over economic reform is that ACT (Association of Consumers and Taxpayers) was wiped out. It originally stood for uncompromising support of the free-market reforms of the Rogernomics era, but broadened its basis with law-and-order and anti-Maori rhetoric. The disappearance of ACT is not really good news, since the Nationals have adopted much of the same rhetoric on race issues, but it can reasonably be said to mark the end of the era of radical reform.

Yet Further update Sunday PM Wrong again! Rodney Hide of ACT got back in with an electorate seat, and MMP may give ACT one more. That’s what comes of trying to follow elections while in dialup mode, I guess.

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  1. joe2
    September 17th, 2005 at 17:49 | #1

    Cannot see any reason, from hear, why Helen Clark should go.
    Sadly,progressive political thought is damned by dirty political tactics.
    Even, within the parties themselves
    Idiot/savant link on “Weekend Reflections”, looks like the place to go for results.

  2. September 17th, 2005 at 17:59 | #2

    As to why the result is close – Brash’s dogwhistling on Maori rights from what I’ve read.

  3. September 17th, 2005 at 18:02 | #3

    Helen Clark has done a pretty good job? Of buggering up NZ that is! It is not by accident that about 1/4 of Kiwis live overseas.

  4. September 17th, 2005 at 18:04 | #4

    However, at least NZ has not banned guns!

  5. Mark U
    September 17th, 2005 at 18:35 | #5

    Not looking good for Helen Clark.

  6. Steve Edwards
    September 17th, 2005 at 18:40 | #6

    “As to why the result is close – Brash’s dogwhistling on Maori rights from what I’ve read.”

    But the election is not close. With 20% counted, Brash is ahead by 9%.

    This is a complete disaster for the Labour Party, and testament to Brash’s political skills.

  7. snuh
    September 17th, 2005 at 18:44 | #7

    Helen Clark has done a pretty good job? Of buggering up NZ that is! It is not by accident that about 1/4 of Kiwis live overseas.

    because prior to 1999, no kiwis lived overseas. also, this seems to indicate labour is being mercilessly thumped, although if you look in detail, labour and the nationals are each at 21 list seats, and the massive disparity is in electorate seats. i.e., i have no idea what it means.

  8. Homer Paxton
    September 17th, 2005 at 18:58 | #8

    NZ needs a change of government for the same reason we do.

    The present one has lost ideas and doesn’t know why it should be still in Government. When it has ‘ideas’ it doesn’t know why it is implementing them.

    go the Nationals.

  9. Steve Edwards
    September 17th, 2005 at 19:04 | #9

    It looks like the lead is narrowing – National is up by 43%-38%. 41.4% counted.

    I wonder which electorates they counted first?

  10. snuh
    September 17th, 2005 at 19:11 | #10

    and still narrowing: nationals up 42 to 39, 48% counted.

  11. joe2
    September 17th, 2005 at 19:23 | #11

    jq, you are braver man than me gungerding.
    Would not call it ,at this stage.
    The electoral system is almost as strange as tasmania and germany.

  12. joe2
    September 17th, 2005 at 19:37 | #12

    but………. it is not looking good for Labor!

  13. September 17th, 2005 at 19:44 | #13

    But the election is not close. With 20% counted, Brash is ahead by 9%.

    It is now, Steve.

    Nationals 40.94% 50 seats
    Labour 39.58% 48 seats

    That’s with 76% counted.

    Looking at the minor party seats won at this point, the Greens are on 6, Maori Party on 4 and Jim Anderton’s Progressives on 2. That gives a likely figure for Labour supporting MPs as 60 from 120.

    Which puts Winston Peters’ NZ First who have said they won’t enter a coalition in the poll position for determining who governs.

    So I’d say it’s not looking too bad for Labour. Remember that Peters was a former National Minister and split from the party. He’s probably not still a big fan.

  14. September 17th, 2005 at 19:47 | #14

    The other implication of all this is that Labour and the other Left parties only need to win one more seat than they’re currently on, and it’s all over, red rover, for National.

    I don’t know how prepoll/postal votes are treated in NZ and what percentage will be counted tonight but you’d have to say that the trend has been running Labour’s way.

  15. September 17th, 2005 at 19:49 | #15

    National and Labour now on 49 seats each.

    MMF elections are very interesting to watch.

    However, I’ll stop with the constant updates!

    The official results page updates every 5 minutes.

  16. September 17th, 2005 at 19:50 | #16

    joe2 Says: September 17th, 2005 at 7:23 pm “The electoral system is almost as strange as tasmania and germany.”

    I hope you mean NZ’s system is ‘as strange’ as Tasmania’s Hare Clark system – not Tasmania as a whole

  17. September 17th, 2005 at 19:55 | #17

    NZ’s election system is very sensible and very fair – based much more closely on the German MMP system than the Tasmanian single electorate Hare-Clark system. It very accurately reflects the popular vote and allows winning one constituency to trigger a proportional distribution of seats as well as reaching the 5% threshold for the second party vote.

  18. September 17th, 2005 at 20:06 | #18

    I’ve just noticed that the percentage figure is percentage of polling places counted rather than votes – 89.9% now.

    So you’d have to assume, as in Australia, that the smaller booths report first – and the largest ones are urban. One would imagine, if things are similar, that would favour Labour.

    What we need is a link to a good NZ political blog!

  19. September 17th, 2005 at 20:09 | #19

    Labour have overtaken National – Labour 50 seats, National 49. On the current figures, Labour and allies would have 61 out of 120 seats.

  20. September 17th, 2005 at 20:12 | #20

    The implication also is that National is not in a position, if Labour and allies slip back to 60, to govern except as a minority government with Peters backing it only on votes of confidence – since he’s said he will not enter Cabinet or enter into a joint policy platform with either major party.

    Looks like former Reserve Bank governors aren’t election winners.

  21. September 17th, 2005 at 20:16 | #21

    Yikes!

  22. September 17th, 2005 at 20:23 | #22

    I reckon Helen Clark’s back. Strike one up for the survival of social democracy in the south pacific!

  23. Benno
    September 17th, 2005 at 20:43 | #23

    Don’t count your chickens until they are gilded.

  24. Geoff R
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:01 | #24

    Will the Greens stay above 5%? At the last election I think they made up ground on the overseas vote, so maybe the left can gain an outright majority?

  25. Ugly Dave
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:12 | #25

    Labour and Greens seem to have a clear plurality on vote numbers but not on seats

    Anyone got any idea what the Mâori Party intends to do with its 4 electorate seats which if my memory serves me used be Labour

  26. September 17th, 2005 at 21:17 | #26

    I was just reading the Fin article on the NZ election, and it seems United Future which looks set to get 3 seats, supported Labour in the last Parliament. So assuming that stays the same, that puts Labour and its allies in a pretty good position – 64 out of 120 seats.

    The Maori Party split from Labour, but watching Dateline the other night, they are far angrier with Brash and National – describing this election as a must win for the nation and their people.

    No doubt there’ll be some wheeling and dealing, but I think Clark is in a far better position to form a government.

    The big story seems to be – when looking at the seats in the last Parliament – the polarisation of the vote. Labour held 51, now has 50. National only had 27 and now has 49. So the minor parties were the big losers.

    The Greens only just fell over the representation line with 5.08%

    99.7% of the booths have now been counted, btw.

  27. September 17th, 2005 at 21:25 | #27

    If Labour does form a third term government, this will be an excellent result for Social Democracy, particularly given Clark’s principled stance and the nature of the National campaign.

  28. September 17th, 2005 at 21:27 | #28

    Well, if nothing else it looks like this religious fundamentalist (A Green interestingly enough) has lost his seat!

    http://www.nandor.net.nz/index.php

  29. Ugly Dave
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:37 | #29

    Clark in position to form government

    18.09.05 11.15pm

    Prime Minister Helen Clark will almost certainly be able to form a third term government after voters gave her Labour Party one more seat than National.

    Labour has 50 seats and National 49 in the 122-member Parliament, which has increased by two because the Maori Party won four electorate seats, more than its proportion of the party vote entitled it to.

    Miss Clark still has to crunch the numbers and come up with a majority, but New Zealand First with seven seats is committed to first negotiating with the party that has the most seats.

    So is United Future, which ended up with three seats.

    The Greens, with six seats, are a committed Labour ally.

    She also has Jim Anderton, leader of the Progressive Party and its only MP in the next Parliament.

    National has only one potential partner, the Act Party.

    Against predictions, ACT leader Rodney Hide took the Epsom seat from National’s Richard Worth and kept his party alive.

    But it has only two seats, and even if NZ First went with National there would be a total of 58.

    The Maori Party is not committed to either of the main parties, although it is unlikely to work with National because its policy is to abolish the four seats it won tonight.

    Miss Clark could call on the party for support if she needs it.

    Special votes cast by New Zealanders living overseas still have to be counted.

    They are unlikely to significantly change the situation, and the Greens usually gain from special votes.

    - NZPA

  30. Geoff Honnor
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:38 | #30

    Disturbing as it no doubt is, Elizabeth, Nandor is back in parliament on the Greens List vote. He ran unsuccessfully in the Auckland Central electorate but his List ranking gets him back regardless. Such are the many-splendoured
    arrangements of the Multi-member proportional electoral system.

  31. Geoff R
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:40 | #31

    United Future (Rogernomic Christians) has been pro-National all through the campaign and were talking up a change of government earlier tonight. More chance with NZF I think. Peters has been unclear but suggested he would support the largest party which looks to be Labour. Labour might prefer to rely on NZF, rather than depending on the Maori party. The race thing: voters like the ‘equal treatment’ theme in theory but are more cautious in practice, there has not been majority opinion poll support for scrapping the Maori seats a Brash promise opposed even by UFNZ. Still if the Maori party overplays their hand a National victory in 2008 is likely. Will the Greens thank Labour for their pragmatism?

  32. Ugly Dave
    September 17th, 2005 at 21:41 | #32

    Such are the many-splendoured
    arrangements of the Multi-member proportional electoral system

    Heh yes FPP and our “Instant Runoff” ensure that loonies and layabouts never get elected. NOT!

  33. joe2
    September 17th, 2005 at 22:25 | #33

    More Rasta’s for parliament,isay man anwomen.
    an let the world beas one!

  34. Ugly Dave
    September 17th, 2005 at 22:28 | #34

    11.40pm – Don Brash arrived at Alexandra Park in Auckland at 11.20pm with a smile on his face and traditional blue tie around his neck but did not utter a word as he moved through the media throng.

    But with just one per cent separating National (39) from Labour (40) he had little to smile about quite yet.

    “This job is not for the faint hearted. It’s been an exciting competition and the National Party has come back,” party president Judith Kirk said as she introduced her leader.

    The crowd’s chants of “Don, Don, Don,” soon gave way to “Don Brash in the House.”

    He said it had been a “very long night, and very good night.”

    We have almost doubled our party vote from the last election. And we’ve brought in 11 new electorates.”

    “As you know we’re not quite there yet. We can’t yet claim a victory but I’m certainly not conceding defeat.”

    Dr Brash noted special votes have yet to be counted, but whatever that result there was the “small matter of building a coalition Government and its not at all clear who will be able to do that.”

    However he assured his party faithful that he would “endeavour to put together a National-led Government.”

    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said: “Don Brash has maintained an unbroken record of never having won an election.”

    Mr Brash has twice stood for election and lost in 1980 and 1981 when he fought and lost a by-election, then the general election, for East Coast Bays.

    Mr Peters said it appeared National did not have the numbers to form a government.

    But New Zealand First had “the balance of responsibility”

    Geoff: note that in this election Don is a List candidate – as I think you said “such is…” etc.

  35. September 18th, 2005 at 00:14 | #35

    I’m surprised the result is even close. Helen Clark seems to have done a pretty good job, the Nationals were terrible when last in office, and while Don Brash seems like a nice enough guy in personal terms, he wasn’t much of a success as head of the Reserve Bank.

    Two factors, Helen Clark has a reputation that all long time leaders get, that of being authoritarian.

    Brash is “playing the Maori card”.

    The most concerning thing about this result is just how successful a man who was far from successful in the Reserve Bank, is rather new in the party, a party with s bad history, can be so successful just by being a racist.

  36. September 18th, 2005 at 02:21 | #36

    Kieran Bennett said:

    “Brash is “playing the Maori cardâ€?.

    The most concerning thing about this result is just how successful a man who was far from successful in the Reserve Bank, is rather new in the party, a party with s bad history, can be so successful just by being a racist”.

    I agree!

    I hope that this will be another failure for the intervention of Mark Texta and Linton Crosby in the politics of countries outside Australia. The ‘dog whistle’ did not work too well in Britain either, though we need to keep a close eye on Tony Blair in case he ‘borrows’ any more of the policies of division and xenophobia we have become accustomed to in Australia with the Howard government.

    Why don’t these people go and help Idi Amin (now deceased) to regain power in Uganda? Do we have to put up with them in Australia?

  37. Terje Petersen
    September 18th, 2005 at 05:21 | #37

    How is it racist to advocate on person one vote?

    If anything Don Brash is guilty of being too egalitarian.

  38. Ian Gould
    September 18th, 2005 at 08:07 | #38

    >Anyone got any idea what the Mâori Party intends to do with its 4 electorate seats which if my memory serves me used be Labour

    Well considering the Nationals campaigned on abolishing the Maori seats…

    Terje: in what way is a Maori vote more valuable than any other vote in the New Zealand system?

  39. September 18th, 2005 at 11:18 | #39

    Textor and Crosby’s batting average is looking about as good as Martyn and Gilchrists’s Ashes form.

  40. September 18th, 2005 at 11:34 | #40

    John,

    You ask how Labour could loose an apparently unlooseable election. Three reasons: race, taxes, and campaigning.

    Some of your previous posters have explained how National played the race card in the election – something that has been really depressing to watch, let me tell you that.

    As for taxes – because, in recent years, the NZ government has been running a relatively large operating surplus and because the print media appear to be unable to understand that most of this is already allocated on future spending (let alone the fact that it helps hold down interest rates) this has led to clamouring for tax cuts. Much of the clamour has been a media beat up but it has filtered though to the voters, unfortunately. Even more unfortunately, National’s proposed spending cuts – on health, state housing and benefits, and the effect that these cuts will have on poverty has not been explained clearly.

    Finally, National has run a good campaign.

    The result of all this is unclear at present:

    As things stand (special votes, which are about 10% of all votes, are still to be counted) Labour have a small majority over National but neither government has enough seats to govern without forming a coalition.

    Prior to the election one small center right party (United Future – 3 seats) and one populist party (New Zealand First – 7 seats) said that they would deal first with the party who won the most votes on the night. Their seats, along with the seats of the two parties who have already said that they would support Labour (the Greens – 6 seats and the Progressives – 1 seat), would be enough to form a coalition government.

    However, things aren’t that simple as both NZ First and United future have stated that they are resistant to forming a government (or even a confidence and supply agreement) with any government that includes the Greens. Moreover, Winston Peters (the leader of NZ first) has, in the past, shown himself to be almost crazed in the search for power and so may well, at present, be willing to support either National or Labour depending on who gives him the biggest say in things.

    The one other player is the Maori party who have 4 seats. At present they are saying that they could support either National or Labour depending on who offers Maori the best deal. However, a Maori / National government is unlikely given that the National party is committed to eliminating the Maori seats (and hence the Maori Party MPs). The Maori party is more likely to go into coalition with Labour; however, Helen Clarke may be resistant to this as the Maori Party’s demands may scare off some of her more centralist support base. Furthermore, New Zealand first and United Future would be unlikely to support any coalition with the Maori party.

    So what does all this mean:

    Well at this stage it is anyone’s guess – things slightly favour the left but this may change (either for or against the left) after special votes are counted.

    The two mostly like outcomes in my mind are:

    Labour governs with the Progressives, NZ first and the Greens as ‘soft’ (i.e. not formal) partners. This is possible but problematic as Winston Peters has proven himself to be very, very hard to work with in coalition. Moreover, the policies supported by the Greens and those supported by NZ first could be quite different, making for an uncomfortable alliance.

    Labour Governs with the Progressives, the Greens and the Maori Party (the grand left coalition). For this to happen the Greens or the progressives need to win one more seat on special votes (quite possible). This coalition might work ok together; however, for this Labour would have to accede to some of the Maori party’s policy requirements – something which may well alienate Labour’s more conservative support base.

    Such are the joys of MMP…(although, it is still a million times better than FPP and is more democratic than STV).

  41. Talisker
    September 18th, 2005 at 12:06 | #41

    Wrong again John. ACT has not been wiped out. Keep up the good prediction record.

  42. September 18th, 2005 at 12:33 | #42

    Like Talisker says, ACT has not been wiped out because party leader Rodney Hide narrowly won an electorate seat (Epsom) for the first time, which means they get a bonus list seat as well. My understanding is that this outcome resulted from a backfired tactical ploy by Labour – they withdrew their candidate from Epsom and advised their supporters to vote for the National Party so that ACT would be eliminated. But voters thought this was poor form and reacted by rallying behind Hide which they knew they could do without discharging the National Party incumbent, who had a list seat to fall back on.

  43. September 18th, 2005 at 13:53 | #43

    Terence you twice mention in your post above re: the Maori party’s ‘policy requirements’ that may alienate the Labs conservative base. Could you pls provide some examples of what policy prescriptions the Maori Party may want?

    thanks

  44. Terje Petersen
    September 18th, 2005 at 13:59 | #44

    The Greens got 5.07% of the party vote. This earned them 6 list seats. They got zero constituent seats. Without a constituent seat they needed to get over 5% of the party vote or they would have got nothing.

    However with 10% of the special votes still outstanding (I am not sure what these special votes are, I assume they are postal votes) the greens could loose that 0.07% margin that stands between the six seats they currently appear to have and having nothing.

    To put this in perspective 0.07% of the electorate is about 1500 voters.

    I think Don Brash is right to hold off in conceding defeat. If the greens lose their 0.07% margin then National may even be able to make a workable coalition. Damn it is close.

  45. Terje Petersen
    September 18th, 2005 at 14:01 | #45

    QUOTE: To put this in perspective 0.07% of the electorate is about 1500 voters.

    CORRECTION: I meant 0.07% of all voters nationally.

  46. homosapiens.y
    September 18th, 2005 at 14:30 | #46

    Dear sapient life-forms !

    Somebody mentioned the need to consult
    a good NZ blog to resolve prevailing
    confusion about Aotearoan polities.

    I suggest which has a
    good selection of NZ blogs of diverse
    persuasion lower down on the left hand side.

    Confused ? Who isn’t ? It beats watching Kim Beazley swinging in the wind as energy prices hit the wall and Howard panders his backers.

    Google wikipedia by ‘peak oil’ and see
    ‘One More Oil Boom’ at

    http://www.whiskeyandgunpowder.com/Archives/20050909.html

    homosapiens.y

  47. September 18th, 2005 at 14:37 | #47

    The Greens traditionally do extremely well on postal and absentee votes so it’s highly unlikely that they will fall below 5.0 per cent. In fact, it’s possible their vote could go high enough to win them a seventh seat. Even if they were knocked out it’s difficult to see how the Nationals could form a government, given that NZ First and United Future have indicated they will back the major party that wins the most seats.

  48. Geoff Honnor
    September 18th, 2005 at 16:46 | #48

    “Terence you twice mention in your post above re: the Maori party’s ‘policy requirements’ that may alienate the Labs conservative base. Could you pls provide some examples of what policy prescriptions the Maori Party may want?”

    I’ll have a go, Elizabeth. The Maori Party was formed principally in opposition to the Clark government’s legislation ensuring that the foreshore and adjacent seabed would be invested in public rather than specifically Maori ownership. It’s highly likely that the Maori Party would want some concessions in that area as the price for participation in government. Concessions would be deeply unpopular with mainstream NZ who believe that access to the beach for all is a national birthright.

  49. Ken Miles
    September 18th, 2005 at 17:41 | #49

    The Maori party has stated that they will want considerable concessions. Clark has previously said that they will be the last cab off the rank for negotiations, to which Pita Sharples [co-leader of Maori party] has said that the taxi price has just gone up.

    I don’t think that Labour will need the Maori party support. They will probably form a minority government relying on a combination of United, NZ First and Greens support for each particular issue.

    It would be electoral suicide for the Maori party to support National, so they don’t really have anywhere to go.

  50. September 18th, 2005 at 18:40 | #50

    Thanks Geoff – so essentially the Maori party are likely to sit on the cross-benches with 4 seats (?). If the Maori population forms 15% of the total NZ population (assuming that also translates into the Voting Age population) is 4 seats a good or poor result for the party?

    If I can draw on my Tasmanian experience from the 1980s, when the ALP formed an awfully conceived coalition with the Greens (who deceitfully branded themselves as the ‘Independents’ at the time), the end product put the ALP into to opposition for a decade once the alliance (which was the term used to call the coalition) died a painful death.

    My suggestion to the NZ Labour Party is to accept the result as a loss, and move to the oppositiion benches and watch as the Nationals form ‘diificult-to-control’ relationships with a gaggle of loose fighting fellow travellors! And wait and watch for the fireworks.

  51. Ian Gould
    September 18th, 2005 at 18:55 | #51

    >If the Maori population forms 15% of the total NZ population (assuming that also translates into the Voting Age population) is 4 seats a good or poor result for the party?

    Under the Maori seats system. maori can choose either to vote in one of the reserved maori seats or in their geographic electorate.

    So enough Maori decided to vote in the reserved seats to get four seats in Parliament – all of which went ot the Maori Party.

    Add in the individual maori who won geographic electorates for other parties – most notably Winston Peters – and it’s next to imposisble to infer anything about how the Maori as as a group faired.

    I think there were more MPs elected from the Maori reserved seats this time than last time, suggesting that the Nationals’ strategy back-fired.

  52. September 18th, 2005 at 19:21 | #52

    Maybe, if Ken is right, the sight of Clarke refusing to deal with the Maori party and defending the public beaches will play well for her.

  53. noone important
    September 18th, 2005 at 21:41 | #53

    I have to comment on the (common) complaint at the begnning that NZers have gone overseas because of government X, Y or Z’s policies–here, Labour, but similar complaints were made when National was in power. Actually NZers have always been going overseas, mostly to Australia (1 in 10 NZers in Oz). I doubt this has much to do with specific policies as it is an opportunity to get experience, see the bigger world, get better pay etc. This is more about NZ’s (unfortunate) place in the world than it is about politics. Naturally student loans don’t help, but they aren’t the main cause.

    There’s one thing I don’t get: why is it that special votes favour the greens? I just don’t get it. One theory might be that the further away from NZ you are, the more your vision becomes misty and idealistic, and that’s what the Greens play on (a clean green NZ!); whereas the Nats and Lab represent the grimy underside of NZ–politics. But hey, it’s just a theory.

    Finally, I have to agree with terence: what’s been really disgusting to watch from afar is the race card played by Brash. And I blame labour too for panicking about losing votes and pushing through the foreshore act. I think there’s a fine line between pushing the limits of what people will accept and reinforcing people’s prejudices, and labour could’ve done more on the former. They might also have saved their Maori MPs too (I see tamihere is gone, but that’s another story….)

  54. Terje Petersen
    September 18th, 2005 at 22:22 | #54

    New Zealand has a population compariable to Sydney. I wonder what percentage of Sydnites live outside Sydney. If its less than 10% I would be surprised.

  55. noone important
    September 19th, 2005 at 04:09 | #55

    If you meant you’d be surprised if *more* than 10% of Sydneyites were living outside Sydney I’d have 3 possible responses. I’m not sure the comparison of a city to a country is valid. Perhaps it would be better to compare the cities of Auckland and Sydney with the respective national populations? Sydney and all its benefits and opportunities are concentrated in one area; NZ’s population is dispersed across various smaller cities (and the internal migration trend is towards Auckland, the biggest city).

    Another response I might have is to say, why compare NZ with anything else at all? Does it make sense to talk about ‘NZ’ as some isolated unit that has no context or no history? There’s a long history in NZ of migration to Oz. I might suggest that in some ways NZ is part of Oz anyway. With CER and freedom of movement, a similar culture, cheap travel, already-available networks, the costs in moving to Oz are relatively low, the barriers few. It’s like moving from Nelson to Auckland. A change, but not that much of a change. In this sense, Sydney and Melbourne are also part of the urban hierarchy of NZ. Put differently, it doesn’t make sense to compare Sydney and NZ, because they have very different migration histories. I’m not sure they’re simply units which you can compare because they have similar sized populations.

    A third response might be: ok, compare NZ, but choose a more relevant country with a large neighbour next door, like the Pacific nations. Or Ireland (population = 4 million; those resident in the UK = 490000).

  56. September 19th, 2005 at 05:43 | #56

    Elizabeth,

    Geoff is bang on the money – it is the repeal of the seabed and foreshore act that would be controversial.

    Compromise might be possible though. The Green party had a very sensible proposal at the time of the Seabed and Foreshore act that would give Maori their treaty determined rights but would also – via law – prohibit them from denying access to anyone, or selling anything. It was acceptable to most Maori at the time and might be acceptable to the rest of the voting populous.

    At this stage I would say that a lot may depend on who (if anyone) picks up or looses seats on the special votes.

  57. Terje Petersen
    September 19th, 2005 at 07:35 | #57

    QUOTE: If you meant you’d be surprised if more than 10% of Sydneyites were living outside Sydney I’d have 3 possible responses.

    RESPONSE: I said what I meant, but thankyou for checking.

  58. Ken Miles
    September 19th, 2005 at 10:12 | #58

    So enough Maori decided to vote in the reserved seats to get four seats in Parliament – all of which went ot the Maori Party.

    There are more than four Maori seats (seven, I think), Labour won the other three.

    Add in the individual maori who won geographic electorates for other parties – most notably Winston Peters – and it’s next to imposisble to infer anything about how the Maori as as a group faired.

    Winston Peters didn’t win a geographically based seat. Rather he will get in on New Zealand First’s party list.

    However, a total of 21 MP’s are Maori, so they are well represented in Parliament.

    As a Labour supporter who doesn’t really trust the Greens, I’m actually pretty happy with this result.

  59. September 19th, 2005 at 11:44 | #59

    Noone Important: It has been pointed out to me that the Greens did particularly well on special votes in 2002 because the election was held during a university holiday period. In 1999 they scored 4.9 per cent on normal votes and (from memory) 6.9 per cent on special votes – though the election was held on November 29, which for all I know may have been a university holiday period as well.

  60. Ian Gould
    September 19th, 2005 at 11:59 | #60

    Ken,

    Thanks for correcting my mistakes.

  61. September 19th, 2005 at 17:31 | #61

    If anyone is interested I have just posted a long entry on possible NZ coalition government make ups. And the political ramifications of them.

    The post is here

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