ACT's The Letter
Officially we have a caretaker government and the country is in limbo awaiting the results of the specials. Meanwhile we also await the result of hurricane Rita and the new oil price.
Last election there were 203,690 special votes, 16,927 were voters who were overseas, 186,763 were votes cast outside the electorate, 58,000 were by those who had enrolled after the roll closed and 15,156 were cast by people whose names were not on the roll and were therefore disallowed. This year there are 193,000 special votes so we expect that 15,000 votes will be invalid. Last election Labour lost 0.1%, National -.15% NZ First -22%, United Future -.13% and The Progressives -.05%. ACT gained +.06% and Greens gained +.51% on the specials. National should do better than last election and the Greens slightly worse.
* It is a weird voting system. Rodney Hide defeated Richard Worth and Keith Locke yet both these MPs are still in parliament. The two candidates Rodney defeated according to the St Lague formula was one Labour list candidate Charles Chauvel who Rodney has never met and Progressive MP Matt Robson!
* The centre right is now 23,000 votes ahead of the parties of the left. But for the Maori Party overhang National/ACT/NZ First/United is a 61- seat majority.
* If the Maori party gets 0.06% swing on the specials, an estimated 5,926 votes, a real possibility, as the number of specials in the Maori seats is up, they don’t get an MP but the overhang goes down one and on present figures National loses a seat!
* There are 12 MPs who lost their seats and are still MPs!
St Lague vagaries
The media is focused on the Greens who need 15,512 votes or 8.02% of the specials to win an extra seat. Last election they got 11% of the specials but are the students voting Green? The Progressives just need 3,003 votes to bring back Matt Robson. Unlikely. Labour needs 91,000 votes, National 102,000, United 8,491, NZ First 17,912, and ACT 14,677 to gain an extra MP. But we doubt it. What is possible is that the overhang drops by one, (so 61 is a majority) and National loses an MP. See more possibilities on www.act.org.nz/specials.
Don Brash PM?
ACT has been talking with the Maori Party. The Maori Party wants Vouchers for Education (ACT policy), tax cuts (very OK), ACT’s Foreshore and Seabed policy (i.e. just the chance to go to court) and retention of Maori seats. (Not OK but as Rodney has pointed out there is no majority in parliament to legislate out the seats). Even if National introduced a bill to remove the seats it would not pass so a deal with the Maori Party does not require any U-turn. There is very bad blood between the Maori Party and Labour. As the centre right parties did get more votes Brash has the moral authority to form a government. Perhaps Winston and Peter should check out the option before signing up with a Labour/Green government. And we would happily take back everything we have said about Brash’s campaign. (“Wonderful man, reminds us of Winston Churchill who was PM in his 70’s””Should stay on like Walter Nash until he is 80” etc)
Tiles for Visas
There are suggestions that Philip Taito Field may have been accepting “gifts” for immigration work. Parliament’s privilege committee should have a look. If he is forced to resign, as he is a constituency MP, Labour’s majority drops until a by-election. If he stays on and any of the allegations prove correct it is not a good look. How could NZ First with its views on immigration or United with its views on morality support such a government? The visa for titles affair may prove to be very serious and NZ First and United should be insisting on a full inquiry before signing up and being part of a cover up.
Election night coverage
TVNZ spent a fortune on high tech election night coverage that was slow, disappointing and its predictions of a National victory, wrong. There were many glitches in the software. An over tired technician was working on the system at midnight on Friday when he had a diabetic fit and deleted the whole program. What we saw was patched together on Saturday. And the prediction of a National win? The debrief has shown that the data in TV’s computer hasn’t been updated since the original 1996 MMP election. In fairness TV3’s coverage was a half hour slower because they’re wouldn’t spend the money needed to cover an election. The winner on the night was Radio NZ, that was an hour earlier than TV1, was predicting Labour would get the most party votes and predicted National’s sweep of the provincial seats. State radio didn’t use a computer but relied on an old political hack, Richard Prebble, who was able to inform Jim Sutton on radio that he would lose his seat and pointed out that when the South Auckland seats reported they would bring about a Labour lead, (“There are no Tory polling booths in Mangere”).
The Marae digi-polls correctly predicted the result in all 7 Maori seats. When Marae published its first poll showing Harewira had a 20% lead over Dover, Labour’s Mike Williams said that the poll was rubbish and questioned the Marae programme’s professionalism (actually Marae’s election coverage was excellent and Shane Taurima is the best interviewer on TV getting a Larry King like empathy with his interviewees). TVNZ did a Colmar Brunton poll in Te Tai Tokerau and claimed Dover was just 1% behind. Marae did a second poll in the same week showing Harewira had a huge lead. Someone in TVNZ’s newsroom should have realized something was seriously wrong with their polls. It cost ACT 5 MPs and maybe the country a National/ACT government.