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Big News: Making Your Vote Count

Big News with Dave Crampton

Making Your Vote Count

It’s the final week of the election campaign and things are getting interesting. Both National and Labour have lost a combined 13.3 percent of the vote since Helen Clark called the election, according to polls. The minor parties and the undecided voters have increased the share of the votes. ACT, New Zealand First and the Greens have a bigger combined percentage of the polls than National currently does. And United Future could get two, maybe three members of parliament and hold the balance of power.

In fact if I was Peter Dunne, I’d urge all Labour voters to vote National to keep the Greens out so that cannabis couldn’t be decriminalised –which they wont. Then I’d urge all Alliance, Progressive Coalition, Greens, New Zealand First, and ACT voters to vote United Future to keep National out to prevent Bill English being PM. Then we’ll have a common sense government, a Minister for Families, and a healthy worm population.

Everybody else should just vote for the minor parties like Christian Heritage and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party, as long as they don’t all vote for the same one and form a coalition to hold the United Future Government to ransom. Most are undecided anyway so at least they can take part in leaders debates in the worm audiences, or they could stick to growing their “GE free corn”. Yet despite the column centimetres given to GE, genetic modification is not the number one issue in this election campaign – but neither is the economy.

In a recent poll, health, crime and education were the top three issues for voters. Even the teachers strike (10 percent ), along with GE was rated above the economy ( 6 percent) by voters, About 2 percent of voters thought immigration was a top issue, but these voters are probably going to vote NZ First anyway. NZ First have done well the past few weeks, they’re now on 8 percent, about what the Greens were on last month. United Future’s support may well increase if his common sense TV appearances continue to excite the worm [unfortunately there are no more worm apprearances planned ed.] and the voters. The party, currently polling at 2.5 percent may rise to get 3 percent of the party vote and therefore 3 percent of the seats in Parliament.

If the elections were held today, National would have less than double the amount of MPs as the Green party – when normally it would have four of five times the amount of MPs as a minor party. Bill English hasn’t helped, perhaps his wife Mary would have done a better job if she were the candidate.

But, like worms, polls don’t win elections, votes do. If you are a discerning voter and want your vote to count on Saturday, it is best not to vote for parties such as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party, the McGillicuddy Serious party, the Christian Heritage party or the Natural Law party, as these parties are unlikely to reach the 5 percent mark. That’s not surprising when some are not going for the list vote due to the $1000 registration cost. Therefore any such votes will be wasted as they would not influence the final make-up of Parliament.

Crucial votes that will discern the make-up of parliament are votes in Waitakere – where Laila Harre is struggling in third place, Wigram – where Jim Anderton is likely to be re-elected, and Ohariu-Belmont where Peter Dunne is a shoo-in. But if these minor party leaders are not re-elected, it is unlikely they will be represented in Parliament. All other parties likely to be represented are polling over five percent - including ACT who will be represented in the “House of Representatives”, representing, not electorate voters, but, ummm, the ACT Party as they are going for the list vote only.

Of course some Christians would include the Wairarapa electorate as one of the crucial electorates, as Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is standing for the Christian Heritage Party. She is campaigning on the basis that the Labour and National candidates are heading for Parliament on the list vote, so why not have three MP’s representing Wairarapa. Why not? Well, list MPs don’t represent voters, they represent parties. Mind you, do you really want to vote for a party that wants to combine the Aussie and NZ currencies, as well as the Australian and NZ defence forces? Next thing they will be wanting to combine the All Blacks and the Wallabies - but at least we’ll be more likely to win the World Cup final against France - but where will we keep it? Canberra or Wellington?

So if you don’t vote on Saturday, don’t moan when the Greens get 13 MPs and NZ First get 10 MPs and United Future’s 2 MPs and hold the balance of power with Jim Anderton – especially if you were going to vote National.

It’ ll be more serious if we fail to regain the Bledisloe Cup the following weekend…

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at

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