Sunday, 18 September 2005

Get Set for a Bumpy Ride!

Well last night's election results are fairly inconclusive, especially with around 218,000 special votes still to be counted. Voters largely deserted the minor parties (according to Frogblog, in 2002, one in three kiwis(32.91%) supported the five elected minor parties... in 2005, just one in six kiwis(16.36%) gave their party vote to a minor party).

Mrs Peter Davis's Labour Party look to have the upper finger at the moment, but it's going to take a lot of negotiating/compromise/arguing to come up with a workable arrangement. Whatever the end result, it looks like we're in for a bumpy 3 years (or less, if you believe some commentators)

Lessons learnt from this Election Campaign:

* LABOUR: Many journalists and commentators have pointed out what an appallingly bad campaign Michael Cullen has run.

Starting with his "Chewing Gum" budget, through to finding billions of dollars hidden under the sofa, through to his poor performance against John Key, questions must surely be asked about his future in charge of the purse strings if Labour leads the next Government.

One possibility could be Cullen to work alongside United Future's Gorden Copeland as Associate Minister of Finance?

Saddest loss of the night was that of John Tamihere (who didn't want to be on the List)... A rare breed - an honest politician! ;-)

* NATIONAL: New Zealand currently has an MMP voting system. You need allies/friends/partners in order to form a stable government. Labour to their credit understands that, which is why they co-operated with the Green Party during this campaign.

Another term in opposition may not be all bad, given the large number of political newbies entering Parliament this election. Some good talent amongst the new intake though, which is good news for the party.

* NZ FIRST: Back in, but with losing Tauranga, Winston Peters will have to tread more carefully. He's no longer got an electorate lifeline, so needs to ensure his party stays over that crucial 5% mark.

Unpredictable as ever, and likely to be a restrictive/tempering influence on whichever party leads the next minority Government.

* GREENS: Mike Ward is well and truly on his bike, after having already cycled all over the North Island ;-) The Greens are about as close as you can get to the 5% threshold (5.07%!).

They'll also be hoping a good number of special votes again swing their way, or their weed poster boy, Nandor Tanczos, will also be out after being dropped down their list. A lesson that Parliament is not the place to be promoting working class drugs? (If he does make it back though, that extra seat could come from one of the Centre/Right parties).

* ACT: A lesson for the party as to the importance of an electorate seat under New Zealand's MMP system. Parties without that security blanket spend half their time battling against the 'wasted vote' argument, with the country's tough 5% threshold. (The Royal Commission's original recommendation was 4%, still high by international standards).

Now that Hide has secured the Epsom seat by a respectable margin, he can go about rebuilding the party with voters assured that a vote for ACT will not be a wasted one.

* UNITED FUTURE: The moral conservative vote appeared to go back to the National Party, and "the worm" failed to turn tricks for Peter Dunne in this election.

The big question will now be whether the Outdoor Recreation Party - who have been working with United Future during this campaign - opt to stay with Dunne, given they did not achieve representation through him. (Outdoor Rec's top candidate, Paul Check, was #7 on UF's list).

* MAORI PARTY: Possibly one of the smartest parties this election, having increased the size of Parliament to 122 MPs, by creating a two seat overhang, thanks to Maori Party supporters splitting their votes to Party Vote Labour. (This despite the fact that the Maori Party is closer to the centre on economic and other issues than Tariana's former friends in Labour).

Pita Sharples has impressed in this campaign, but it remains to see how Hone Harawira will go in Parliament. (I would struggle to stay awake in Parliament, so I don't know how he'll find the whole system!) There will be big pressure on them to deliver on the Foreshore issue.

* PROGRESSIVES: Only Jim Anderton has made it back (thanks to his Wigram seat), based on election night figures, although a small percentage increase when the special votes are tallied would also return his hard working friend Matt Robson, who has some unfinished business in the form of raising the drinking age back up to 20.

** Update: David Farrar over at Kiwiblog has way too much time on his hands ;-) , and has got a complete analysis of the likely winners and losers in terms of seats, once Special Votes are counted.

[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ Benassi Bros Feat. Dhany - Make Me Feel
^ Army of Lovers - Son of a Gun ]

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