New Zealand 2014 Archive


NZ 2014 – final results

Last weekend, the final results of the New Zealand general election were declared, following the counting of special votes.

The results saw a minor shift in the positions of the parties in the Parliament.

The governing National Party, who had initially won enough votes to win a slim majority, lost enough votes to cost them their 61st seat, and their first majority since the introduction of MMP.

The Green Party were the beneficiaries of this shift, with the Greens holding on to their 14th seat despite only polling enough for 13 seats on election night.

In terms of vote shifts, the National Party vote dropped by 1% from 48% to 47%. Labour’s vote increased by 0.4%, and the Green Party vote increased by 0.7%. New Zealand First’s vote dropped by 0.2%.

The change in votes has a minor impact on the post-election narrative for each party.

The result remains a very good one for the National Party, despite not winning a majority. The drop in vote, however, meant that the National vote actually dropped very slightly – the party won an increased number of seats in part due to a larger number of votes going to parties that didn’t qualify for seats.

Labour’s vote remains the worst since 1922, if slightly less bad than it appeared on election night.

For the Green Party, the result actually looks reasonably good. The party had never won more than nine seats before the last election, when the party won 14 seats. The Greens had very high expectations due to strong polling, so most commentators expected them to increase their number of seats. Yet the party has retained the same number of seats, and has suffered a swing of only 0.4% compared to their record achievement in 2011.

In terms of the formation of government, very little will change. The National government is now finishing up agreements with ACT, United Future and the Māori Party, who between them hold four seats. The National government will now rely on the vote of at least one of these four MPs to govern, which shouldn’t prove difficult.

Final results – New Zealand election 2014

PartyVotes%SwingElectorate seatsList seatsTotal seats
National 1,131,50147.04-0.27411960
Labour 604,53425.13-2.3527532
Green 257,35610.70-0.3601414
New Zealand First208,3008.662.0701111
Māori Party34,0951.42-0.01112
Internet Mana31,8501.320.24000
United Future5,2860.22-0.38101

NZ 2014 – winners and losers

I’ve previously blogged about the overall result – which parties gained and lost seats, and the regional variations in the vote. In this post, I will run through each of the key parties, and examine which parties have come out as winners or losers from the election. Two parties are clear winners: National and New Zealand First. While the result is relatively disappointing for the Green Party, the result is still a solid result for them. The Conservative Party gained a substantial swing but remain locked out of Parliament. It’s hard to put a positive spin on the result for Labour, the Maori Party, Internet Mana, ACT or United Future.

National Party

The election was a clear win for National. The party has won a third term in Parliament, and the first ever single-party majority under the MMP electoral system.

In part, National achieved its one-party majority by cannibalising its allies – its three ally parties, which elected eleven MPs between them in 2008, have only won four seats this time, and two of those seats were effectively gifted by the National Party. This means that, while National holds a majority of seats, it doesn’t have a huge buffer, and it wouldn’t require that much of a swing in 2017 to put the result in play.

New Zealand First

NZ First were written off as irrelevant in New Zealand politics after the 2008 election, when the party fell below 5% and was excluded from Parliament. In 2011, Winston Peters’ party came back to become the first party in New Zealand politics to survive being excluded from Parliament.

Until the last few weeks of the campaign, NZ First was teetering on the edge of again falling below 5% of the vote, but rose in the polls just before election day. None of the polls, however, predicted the party would poll almost 9%, which will give them at least three more seats than in 2011.

The election also possibly sets the party up for a leadership transition. Winston Peters has been a member of Parliament since the 1980s, and has led NZ First since its foundation in 1993. One possible leadership contender, Ron Mark, returned to Parliament after an absence of six years. Mark polled over 20% of the electorate vote in Wairarapa – possibly setting up a future opportunity to win an electorate seat as a safety net.

Green Party

The result was disappointing for the Green Party, but overall it was no disaster. The party was hoping to poll 15% of the vote, which would have won them twenty seats. While the party was never expected to win 15%, the party was polling at a level that led to expectations that the party would exceed its 2011 record of 11% of the vote and fourteen seats.

Instead, the Greens appear to have won 10% of the vote and thirteen seats, although that might increase slightly on late counting. While the party did not meet expectations, it’s worth remembering that this is the party’s second-best result – prior to 2011, the Greens had never won more than nine seats in Parliament.

The most disappointing element for the Green Party would have to be the overall performance of the left. The party was hopeful of going into government with Labour, but Labour’s low vote made that not a viable option. The party remains in a solid position to enter government in 2017, if Labour can rebuild its vote.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party failed in its second attempt to win seats in Parliament, despite spending a large amount of money on the campaign.

Yet the result is encouraging for the party – at 4.1%, the party is within shooting distance of winning 5% at the 2017 election. While the National Party made a decision to not do any deals in 2014, they may feel differently if the party is not polling so well in the lead-up to the 2017 election. If the Conservative Party can get its polling above 5%, it may become easier to win right-wing votes from those voters who are worried about their vote going to waste.

Labour Party

The result was a disaster for Labour. The party vote, just under 25%, is the party’s worst result since 1922. The party is a long way away from winning an election-winning vote, and has lost a number of key MPs.

The party was remarkably successful at winning back control of the Māori seats. Labour won all seven Maori seats in 2002, but by 2008 had been reduced to two seats. On Saturday Labour doubled its Maori seats from three to six. But while this was effective at knocking out Internet Mana, and puts the Māori Party on the verge of defeat, it didn’t do much for Labour’s party vote. Labour continued to dominate the party vote in Maori electorates even while losing the electoral races, so winning back those seats has a minimal impact on Labour’s ability to win more net seats.

Labour also has a more general problem where they have done quite well at winning electorate seats while suffering from a declining party vote. This has resulted in Labour winning almost all of its list seats, and a number of MPs with quite a high list ranking missed out on a seat. This effect may simply be due to Green and NZ First voters casting an electorate vote for their local Labour candidate but giving their party vote to the minor party of choice, but it’s still a problem for Labour.

While it is devastating for the National Party to win a majority in their own right, the fact remains that National has very few allies in the Parliament. A relatively small swing from right to left could put Labour in the position of governing with Green and NZ First in 2017 – but it will be hard for the Greens and NZ First to work together in government, and NZ First may instead choose to rekindle its relationship with National.

Māori Party

The Māori Party suffered a net loss of one seat, falling from three seats to two. On its face, this doesn’t look that bad, but the detail of what seats the party lost suggest that the party is far more vulnerable now than at the last election. In the past, the Māori Party held a number of electorate seats – three in 2011, down from a peak of five in 2008. This ensured that the party did not have to rely on victory in any one electorate to stay in the Parliament.

But with the loss of Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauāuru, held respectively by the party’s original two co-leaders, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, the party now relies on winning Te Ururoa Flavell’s single electorate seat of Waiariki to remain in Parliament. Flavell won with only 45% of the electorate vote, and could only pull in 21% of the party vote. If Labour were to focus resources on Waiariki, they may be able to wipe out the Māori Party. It’s certainly hard to see them surviving Flavell’s retirement.

Internet Mana

The election was disastrous for both parties in this alliance.

For the Mana Movement, they have lost their one toehold in the Parliament. The party had struggled to win support beyond Hone Harawira’s seat of Te Tai Tokerau, despite the party trying to broaden support beyond Māori activists to be a radical left-wing party for the entire country. The alliance with the Internet Party saw the party lose some of its core members, and may have made it harder for Hone Harawira to hold on in Te Tai Tokerau. The party is centred around Harawira, and it’s unclear whether the party, either with or without Harawira, will re-emerge at a future election.

The Internet Party was an interesting new force in New Zealand politics, but seemed set to miss out on Parliamentary representation until the announcement of the alliance with Mana. It seemed like a smart move at the time – the Internet Party would qualify for Parliament due to Harawira’s seat in Te Tai Tokerau, and Mana could elect extra MPs on a joint list with a party with a healthy campaign budget and a new, exciting message.

But the result proved that the Internet Party was a dud, always weighed down by the questionable position of the party’s founder and chief funder, Kim Dotcom. It seems unlikely that Dotcom will continue to fund the party as a serious force in New Zealand politics over the next three years.

ACT New Zealand

The 2011 election was a disaster for ACT – while the party held on to its electorate of Epsom (thanks to National effectively forfeiting a safe seat), the party vote was so low that no list MPs were elected, including its leader Don Brash. After its only MP John Banks was removed from the leadership, the new leader, Jamie Whyte, promised a new start for ACT and expected the party to win a solid vote. That never came close to happening.

Clearly National voters are happy to vote for the ACT candidate if the party asks them to, but no New Zealanders are interested in sending a party vote to ACT. While this result was roughly similar to ACT’s result in 2011, ACT’s new MP David Seymour is far less experienced than his predecessor John Banks, who had been Mayor of Auckland and a former cabinet minister. If ACT is reduced to a single seat on the backbenches supporting National, will it be worth National’s while to be tied to this micro-party again in 2017?

United Future

This party, that managed to win over 5% of the vote in 2002, is now effectively dead as a political party. The party polled a lower party vote than the Legalise Cannabis party, and qualified for zero seats in Parliament, despite winning an electorate seat. Peter Dunne continues to win his seat with the tacit endorsement of the National Party, but never by a huge margin. The party will likely cease to exist when Dunne retires from Parliament, but could do so sooner if a Labour resurgence sees Dunne defeated in Ōhariu.


NZ 2014 – results wrap

This map shows the main parties’ performance on both the electorate and party vote in each general electorate. Read on below for a summary of the election result.

After a long and sometimes quirky campaign, the New Zealand election produced a mostly ‘status quo’ result. A centre-right government will be re-elected, and will probably include the same parties.

Overall, there was a slight swing towards the National Party and away from the Labour Party. There was also a swing to New Zealand First, and away from the Green Party.

On current numbers, the National Party has gained two seats, and New Zealand First has gained three seats. Labour has lost two seats, and the Greens have lost one.

Small parties United Future and ACT both held on to their sole electoral seat, but neither party polled at a level to win any list seats. United Future polled so little (less than Legalise Cannabis) that the party qualified for no seats at all – this resulted in the Parliament being expanded to 121.

The Māori Party lost two of its three electorate seats, but also won their first ever list seat, resulting in a net loss of one seat.

Overall, this result will give the National Party a majority of one seat in their own right, with 61 out of 121 seats. If this holds, this will be the first election since the introduction of MMP in 1996 to produce a single-party majority. The National Party is expected to continue governing with the support of ACT and United Future, and possibly the Māori Party, giving them 65 seats out of 121.

As it stands, all ‘advance’ (or prepoll) votes, as well as those cast on election day, have been counted. We’re still waiting for other special votes, such as absentee and postal votes, to be counted.

It is possible that the number of list seats won by each party could change slightly. At the moment, New Zealand First’s 12th candidate is ranked 122nd, and the Green Party’s 14th candidate is ranked 127th. If those parties increase their vote on special votes, they could conceivably win one more seat off National or Labour.

In addition, there is only one electorate seat where the result is still in play. The Wellington-area electorate of Hutt South is held by Labour MP Trevor Mallard, and he is leading National candidate Chris Bishop by about 1% of the vote. Bishop is guaranteed a seat on the National Party list, but if Mallard falls behind he will not be returned to Parliament, and instead another Labour list MP will retain their seat.

Read on for more analysis on how the vote varied between different regions, and Labour’s problem with winning electorate votes, but not party votes.

Read the rest of this entry »


NZ 2014 – Results live

Final update for Saturday night

PartyVotes%SwingElectorate seatsList seatsTotal seats
National 1,010,46448.060.75412061
Labour 519,14624.69-2.7927532
Green 210,76410.02-1.0401313
New Zealand First186,0318.852.2601111
Māori Party27,0741.29-0.14112
Internet Mana26,5391.260.18000
United Future4,5330.22-0.38101

11:48pm – I’m going to check out now, but I’ll be back tomorrow with a general update. I don’t think we’ll see any more changes in the seat count tonight. Over the coming days we’ll be watching the special votes to see if the party votes might change the number of list seats each party wins. The 12th New Zealand First candidate is ranked 122nd, while the 14th Green candidate (Steffan Browning) is ranked 127th. In addition, we’ll have to keep an eye on the result in Hutt South to see if Trevor Mallard can hold on. Auckland Central is also close, but both candidates in the race are guaranteed list seats if they lose the race.

11:20pm – It seems like the only electorate seat in play is Trevor Mallard’s seat of Hutt South, where he is only 1.07% ahead with one booth to come, as well as special votes. Read the rest of this entry »


NZ 2014 – election day

Voters are now going to the polls in New Zealand to elect the next Parliament – and therefore their new government – for the next three years.

Polls close at 7pm tonight New Zealand time – which is 5pm where I am in Sydney. I will be covering the results from the time polls close tonight.

If I was in New Zealand, I wouldn’t be able to put up this post now – because New Zealand’s Electoral Act is extremely severe in effectively banning all political activity from midnight until polls close on election day. You can’t hand out at polling places, you can’t suggest to people how they should vote anywhere. Parties must take down all signs related to the election, and campaigners can’t wear campaign t-shirts on the day. It gets even more ridiculous than that – check out any New Zealand news website today, and there will be no evidence that the country is voting in a national election today. And even social media users are warned against stating who they voted for, or suggesting who others should vote for, lest they fall foul of the law and cop a hefty fine.

Personally I’m a fan of banning campaigning outside polling places, but restricting people talking about how they are voting on social media, or restricting newspapers from reporting the election, is going too far. In 2011, Antony Green posted about the spookily quiet scene outside of one of Auckland’s busiest polling places.

Fortunately, the law only applies to activity in New Zealand, so I’m free to talk about it here.

Most polls in the last few days suggest a few clear points:

  • A record-high vote for the National Party, likely just falling short of a majority
  • A very low vote for Labour, possible a record low vote.
  • A reasonably high Green vote, probably higher than the record vote recorded in 2011.
  • New Zealand First on track to poll over 5% and return to Parliament
  • The Conservative Party vote tracking more highly, but not over 5%.
  • Internet Mana polling relatively low, likely polling at a level that will win them two seats
  • ACT and United Future polling so low that their parties may qualify for zero seats, even if their parties win their respective electorates.

Read on for what the polling averages say, and what that could mean for the formation of New Zealand’s next government.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seat #15: East Coast Bays

Eastcoastbays1-NATpartyEast Coast Bays is a National Party electorate in the northern suburbs of Auckland.

East Coast Bays covers a very conservative area, and on paper the seat is very safe for Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who has sat as a National MP representing the area since 1987.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is running in East Coast Bays, and is aiming to win the seat to make the party eligible to win list seats. Craig was hoping to organise a deal with the National Party whereby McCully would withdraw from the East Coast Bays ballot to clear the way for the Conservative Party to win, and bring in a number of other right-wing MPs to strengthen the National Party’s position after the election.

While the National Party is effectively “running dead” to support the ACT candidate in Epsom, and the sitting United Future MP in Ōhariu, but in both cases a National candidate remains on the ballot.

The Conservative Party has gained ground in recent polls, but is still unlikely to poll over 5%. If Craig doesn’t pull off an unlikely win in East Coast Bays, a substantial chunk of the right-wing vote could go to waste.

Read more


Seat #14: Te Tai Tonga

Tetaitonga1-boothsTe Tai Tonga is a Māori electorate covering all of the South Island and most of the Wellington region.

The electorate was won by the Māori Party’s Rahui Katene in 2008, and won back by Labour’s Rino Tirikatene in 2011.

Tirikatene holds the seat by an 8.8% margin.

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Seat #13: Te Atatū

Teatatu3-LABcandTe Atatū is a marginal Labour seat in the western suburbs of Auckland, covering the Te Atatu Peninsula and the suburbs of Glendene Henderson, Lincoln, Ranui, Swanson and Te Atatu South.

Phil Twyford won the seat in 2011, with a margin of 18.4%. The recent redistribution abolished the neighbouring National seat of Waitakere, and dragged Te Atatū further to the east. These changes turned a safe Labour seat into a reasonably marginal seat, now held by an 8.3% margin.

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Seat #12: West Coast-Tasman

Westcoasttasman4-LABcandWest Coast-Tasman is a large marginal Labour seat covering most of the western coast of the South Island, including Greymouth, Westport, Murchison, Takaka and Motueka.

West Coast-Tasman was Labour-held from 1999 to 2008, when it was won by the National Party. The seat was won back by Labour’s Damien O’Connor in 2011, and he now holds the seat by a 7.7% margin.

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Seat #11: Mana

Mana4-LABcandMana is a marginal Labour electorate covering suburbs north of Wellington, which is held by Labour MP Kris Faafoi by a 6.6% margin.

Faafoi won the seat in a 2010 by-election. The seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1996 but the seat is not particularly safe.

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