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Upton on Line - The perils of vote-splitting

Upton-on-line has witnessed with growing concern the increased brazenness shown by certain political peddlers of dubious virtue. Like pyramid scheme offerers and Nigerian bank loan merchants, this new breed should be seen (perhaps even entertained) but certainly not listened to.

We are talking about the enthusiasts for "vote-splitting", "tactical voting", "vote maximising", call it what you will.

It is the smaller parties, generally, that stand to benefit from the tactics proposed. "Give your electorate vote to the big party (National or Labour), and they'll win electorate seats. Give the party vote to the smaller party of your choice so they can help the bigger party."

That way, we are told, you will double your money. The big party you favour will carry off a swag of electorate seats, while the smaller party which fits alongside will supplement these with a pile of party seats.

As any investment adviser worth his salt will tell you, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

At the bottom, MMP is simple. If you favour a particular party the best way you can ensure they're in government is to give them your Party vote. It is the Party vote that decides the proportions of the next Parliament.

After the election, the Governor General will most likely turn to the leader of the party with the most votes to ask if she can form a government. It would be no good for Helen Clark if Jim Anderton had persuaded half of Labour's supporters to give the Alliance their party votes. The same goes for National and ACT.

In truth, of the small parties, only one is guilty of this swindle.

The Alliance learnt from the last election that most of its voters have no idea how the system works in the first place, so to delve into the sophisticated art of voting tactics is an exercise in folly. (The law of unintended consequences still, somehow, seems to elude them).

New Zealand First, meanwhile, prefers to deploy its tactics after the voting has taken place.

That leaves ACT. It is an entrepreneurial party so you'd expect it to propose new and fanciful voting schemes. You wouldn't, however, expect fully-grown men and women to fall for it.


Last night's TV3 poll doesn't square with upton-on-line's political nose. Upton-on-line has never been in doubt that the centre left started the campaign in a strong position, but as a seasoned campaigner, blooded in 1981, bludgeoned in 1984 and blasted into government in 1990, there's no sense of a voter stampede out there. With three weeks to run, the election is there for the taking.

Mr Peters' latest theatrics will no doubt focus a few minds.

ends

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