Sunday, November 09, 2008

Parliament where Bill or Ben holds the balance of power

There have been calls for the removal of our 5% threshold to allow for a more democratic government which will reflect the will of the people.

If the 5 percent threshold was removed in our MMP system and the Maori Party went with the Left, the Bill and Ben Party would hold the balance of power today – and if it had chosen the Left it would have been a hung parliament.

Here’s how. The following shows the number of seats each party would have held, with the current seats in brackets. That’s assuming of course that the votes held – which is a huge assumption. Interesting though.

New Zealand National Party - 55 seats (59)
New Zealand Labour Party - 41 seats (43)
The Greens - 8 seats (8)
New Zealand First Party - 5 seats (0)
Māori Party - 5 seats (5)
Act New Zealand - 4 seats (5)
Jim Anderton's Progressive - 1 seat (1)
United Future New Zealand - 1 seat (1)
The Kiwi Party - 1 seat (0)
The Bill and Ben Party - 1 seat (0)

So, National would have lost some seats to NZ First and Katrina Shanks and Stuart Nash would have been out of Parliament.

Now lets look at the party groupings if the Maori Party was to side with the left

National, ACT, United Future, Kiwi Party - 61 seats
Labour, Progressives, Greens, New Zealand First, Māori Party - 60
Bill and Ben - 1

In order for a party to get a seat without a threshold, it must have an elected MP or get 0.5% of the vote. Bill and Ben got 0.51% of the vote and had it chosen Labour there would have been hung parliament due to 215 odd Bill and Ben voters.

Bill and Ben’s policy is to promise to promise nothing, and that although realising that by promising no promises they are actually making a promise, that’s the only promise they are going to make. Promise.

Imagine having them choosing our government if the Maori Party was to go left. Any other option by the Maori Party would have led to a National – led Government.

hat tip Graeme, who beat me to it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Of course the votes for Family, Kiwi, ALCP, Libertarianz, Alliance etc would all have been much higher were there no 5% threshold. We (Family Party) gained an average of 2.6% of the electorate vote wherever we stood candidates, giving some indication of the public support for the party, but most voters were not willing to give us their party vote as they did not wish to waste it. Had there been no 5% threshold many of these people may well have given us their party votes too. The same goes for Kiwi.

I think a better election to look at is 1996 - when people were enthusiastic about MMP and weren't as worried about wasting their vote. The Christian Coalition gained 4.3% that year, which gives a good indication of the level of public support for Christian parties - had there been no 5% threshold they would have had 5-6 MPs and the history of the last decade politically could have been quite different. ALCP gained 1.7% that year, giving a good indication of the level of support for legalising cannabis - they would have taken 2 seats.

The vote for the Christian parties and ALCP has declined since then, not because support has declined, but because people are learning not to waste their vote on parties that fail to reach 5%. Without the threshold we would see results more similar to 1996 than to this years results.

November 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM  

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