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Big News: The List Vote - Power To The Parties

Big News with Dave Crampton

The List Vote - Power To The Parties

Its not very often a deputy leader of a party is omitted from the list prior to an election. United Future is the first to do it – and on current polling their second ranked list candidate, Gordon Copeland, will make it into parliament on July 27 instead of deputy Anthony Walton. United Future may well have more MPs in Parliament than the Alliance after the election.

United Future are polling about the same as the Alliance – about 0.5 percent – but they have one advantage over another the other family based Christian party, CHP. Formerly the Christian Heritage Party, they are polling about the same as NZ First - about three percent – but NZ First is likely to get four members in parliament due to Winston Peter’s likely re-election.

But there is one difference between United Future and the CHP. United Future leader Peter Dunne put it bluntly: “We’ll be in Parliament and they won’t”. He’s probably right. The reason is that the CHP are putting all their parliamentary hopes on Wairarapa residents voting for Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. United Future is putting all its hopes on how Ohariu-Belmont residents will vote. If Raukawa-Tait is not elected, Dunne is right. On current polling he is likely to be right. Dunne is not likely to be defeated on July 27 and should bring in at least one from his party. Voters are normally hesitant to give minor parties both votes. Minor parties are hoping the electorate vote for their key players will gain party representation, with a list vote possibly deciding how many MPs are represented. All except ACT, that is.

ACT is putting its faith in the party vote as it knows that the party vote is more important. Not one ACT MP will be representing the people, which will also be a first if they get over the five percent threshold. They are currently polling five percent and it remains to be seen whether Rodney Hide and Richard Prebble will keep their jobs.

What this all means is that the list votes could well be what determines the Government even more so than the last election. The Greens, on current polling, will get into Parliament but members will represent the party, not the people.

The big winner of the election will be Labour – and those high on the list of other political parties like the Greens, NZ First, United Future and Jim Andertons Progressive Coalition who have MMP to thank.

The big losers will be the Right. CHP aren’t in government now and won’t be after the election. ACT may join them. National is polling at its worst ever with an unconvincing leader that spends most of his time criticising those who are a threat. National voters are not impressed with the party’s polling or promotion of their policies - neither are many of those current National MPs with a low list ranking. Some voters are indicating they will use their list vote for Labour as a protest vote to keep the Greens out, or for the Greens to minimise Labours chance of governing on their own. But then again maybe it is the National voters that are the majority of the 13 percent of undecided voters and these voters could be the key as to how the next Government is made up.

It’s all very exciting really. Expect a Labour win, National second, Greens third and the rest -bar the Alliance and CHP - will fight it out for the next spot. And if ACT get in and Jeanette Fitzsimmons gets in on the list vote only, there will be more parties that have list MP’s as party leaders, as Roger Sowry could well get to be Nationals leader should Bill English be dumped. Just United Future, NZ First, Jim Anderton’s party and Labour may have leaders that are elected by the people. Leaders of National, the Greens (two leaders) and possibly ACT may in Parliament purely on the back of a high list place. It’s a lottery as to who the next deputy Prime Minister will be on the back of a Labour/Greens government.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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