Friday, August 11, 2023

Sandra Goudie: Giveaway Votes

Giveaway votes – in 2020 the ‘giveaway vote’ was 7.9% of the total ‘party vote’ cast.

That 7.9% party vote came from the 12 minor parties who were unsuccessful, but still managed to garner 225,182 party votes between them. The smallest was HeartlandNZ with 914 votes.

What happened to those 7.9% party votes? They were apportioned on a pro rata basis to the successful parties. This meant Labour scored an extra 5 seats from the party votes cast for all the minor parties. National scored an extra 3 seats from those same party votes cast.

People don’t seem to understand that even in protest, party voting for a minor party which is clearly not going to win a seat and get anyone into parliament, just means giving your party vote away.
Two hundred and twenty-five thousand, one hundred and eighty two people who, aware or not, gave away their party vote.

Meeting the 5% threshold to be successful in an election is not as easy to do as some seem to think. However, when an election is looming, and the polls start running, the numbers are pretty clear. No matter what media you indulge in, there is usually no doubt about where the vote is generally heading. If, as in 2020, Heartland NZ was polling around 1% it’s a pretty sure bet they were unlikely to be successful in the election. That being the case, it would be an obvious giveaway party vote.

The great thing about democracy is that people can vote how they choose. We still have the freedom to choose, though not necessarily in all that we would like. People can create political groups, stand for elections and lobby for worthy causes. Egos run riot, and everyone thinks they will win, as they throw their hearts and souls into campaigns up and down the country. Promises run riot along with the egos.

But when the dust settles, and people look at the final result, will they be left asking the question – did I give away my party vote?

The really sad thing is, most people had no idea what happened to the 7.9% of unsuccessful party vote for 2020. They don’t know they just gave another 5 seats to Labour. Or another 3 seats to National.

Googling Elections NZ or the Electoral Commission doesn’t provide the clarity one would hope for. Even the formula by which the allocations are calculated is more than most people could understand. We shouldn’t have to. But nor is anything mentioned with the necessary clarity that spells it out in jack-and-jill language.

If this brief synopsis of the party vote for minor parties provides some clarity for people, then if they do give away their party vote, they can do it knowingly. And they can be prepared for their party vote to be re-allocated to someone else. Now that’s what I call a giveaway vote.

Sandra Goudie. Retired Mayor. Retired Member of Parliament.


Anonymous said...

Well that's the first I have heard of this rort. Silly me just thought that they would end up in the bin as a wasted vote, not reallocated.
If this does not scream out END MMP then nothing will.

Anonymous said...

Over 655,094 (18.5%) didnt vote last election - they are enrolled but didnt vote
- cant be bothered?, disillusioned?, faulty enrollment process?
This is about the same as all the minor parties together (excluding Lab/Nat)

When you add that to the Giveaways, we get to over 25% not represented.

The much vaunted MMP is broken and a failure

Ross said...

So what you are saying Sandra is the MMP system is rigged in favour of the major parties.
I'm not sure if you mean these votes are reallocated or if they are discarded they end up having the effect of more seats to Labour and National because the list seats allocated via percentages.

Where I see party votes being wasted is when one party, eg National in the 2017 election got significantly more electorate seat wins but the party vote was not much different Labour so when the list seats were allocated Labour got many more list seats compared to National. So in effect many of the party votes for National were wasted. They could have been given to smaller parties who would have worked with National if these extra votes got then over 5%.

We need to change to the SMP system used in Japan. The difference is the party votes are used only to allocate list seats independent of the electorate seats. In the 2017 election this would have meant National would have got roughly the same number of lists seats as Labour and therefore would have had significant majority, meaning NZF would not have been kingmaker.

Anonymous said...

In a sea change miracles happen... Netherlands had a new party get 22% of the vote and in Italy a new party got 44%... Just depends on when the B S meter goes off that the System is rigged and the Establishment parties are are part of the Globalist Uniparty... The current lot are obvious but includes the weaseal Seymour Act... Which minor party will charge ahead?? NZ First (can it be trusted) or NZ Loyal (which the Media are already bashing) ... Maybe NZLoyal is a threat to the "rules based order"??... Policies so far are "We the People" based and sensible,...

Anonymous said...

The party threshold at 5% is too high. Half that would be better and allow more voices into the debating chamber.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone aware of the polling? Bringing together the alternative voters poll. It is well worth a look.
Thank you, Sandra,for making us aware of what happens to the wasted votes.

Laurence said...

With 50% of the MPs being list MPs, it's actually the parties which decide the make-up of Parliament and the government. No other country in the world has the proportion of list seats as high as we do. MMP also gave us "career politicians" who can't be voted out by the populace.
We sorely need a new referendum on MMP.

Sally said...

So if I think that the parties that look like they'll get over 5% are all wasted votes it's perhaps best not to vote at all.
I can't bring myself to vote for the best of a bad bunch. Bad is bad. I think NZ First is borderline - not too bad perhaps.
I hope that the Voters United polls incentivise voters to pick the freedom oriented party that has the best chance to reach the threshold. That could happen late in the game or at the last minute.

colin said...

It's obvious to me that you vote for the highest polling party close to the voting day. At the moment that is NZ First. It is best for all of us that NZ First get those "lost votes" from the minor parties. Possibly go from 12 seats to 15 ?
Unfortunately the minor parties are unlikely to sign up to Freedomsnz


Anonymous said...

I would dispute this. At what point in the Electrical system does this happen? I have watched many elections results from official count to published results and not seen any shifting of votes.

colin said...

Dispute this""
go to & 2020 General Election Results and all the information is there

Anonymous said...

Under .MMP there are NO votes given off to other parties. If a party has a win in 1 electorate seat and gains even 1.2% of the list vote then that is 2 people into parliament at the very minimum. This Giveaway Vote is hogwash as under MMP the party votes CANNOT be spread among other parties as that is like the Hare-clarke system in Australia where prefe6votes or party votes are spread to the party's list candidates. A party under MMP only needs to win ONE seat and then the party vote can take other candidates to Parliament eg: Win ONE seat 1.2% of the party vote 2 in parliament 2.4% 3in and so on. 5% is ONLY if a party does NOT win a seat but relies on the party. I have studied this and scrutineered for elections so this Giveaway Vote is incorrect. To waste a vote is to only vote for a candidate and No party vote or vice-versa.

Doug Allington said...

A vote for NZ First is a greater risk for crossing the 5% threshold, than DemocracyNZ has of winning the Northland electorate.
DemocracyNZ could have 6 MPs with 4.9% of the party vote, while NZ First would have none. Don't waste your vote on NZ First. Give it to a party that will honour pre-election promises, to stand up for people's rights. DemocracyNZ is a true representative of the people.
With Matt King winning Northland, the party only needs 1.2% of the party vote to have a 2nd MP, -2.5% for a 3rd, - 3.2% for a 4th, while NZ First would have no MPs with 4%. NZ First does not have a chance to win an electorate. DemocracyNZ does.

Ben Roberts said...

While it's true that party votes for parties that don't meet one of the two thresholds are "thrown away", it's also true that the effect (on the composition of Parliament) of them being thrown away is as if each such vote were split between the parties that do get in, in proportion to their respective party votes.

The Optional Preferential Party Vote is an obvious solution to this problem, and one that I would commend to all minor parties, at least for consideration. It would strengthen democracy by allowing each voter to vote for the party he or she wants, without fear that such a vote would be wasted.

Jos said...

I disagree, this 'wasted vote' shows MMP is not working.
To have voted for, (lets say National in 2020 instead) is a vote saying you are satisfied with National - which just wasn't true.

If you have see Family First booklet on 'how they voted', all current parties in parliament are bad. To vote as Sandra Goudie is arguing is to continue our country down the wrong road.

Robert Dew said...

While the 5% threshold is an enormous barrier for small parties, it doesn't follow that MMP is faulty and should be replaced.
The alternatives offered at the time the country, via a referendum, selected MMP as the easiest to understand.
As with the electoral vote, there are winners and looser. The electoral vote gives the electorate to the candidate with the most votes regardless of the percentage of the votes casted. In other words it is possible and often happens that the winner of an electoral seat has less than 50% of the votes cast.
With the party vote, basically what happens is those getting less than the 5% or an electoral seat are put aside and then the votes for parties over the 5% are counted and seats allocated as a percentage of the those votes that satisfy the criteria of 5% or an electoral seat.