Reverse the Popularity of the Election Poll!

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This is a game I like to play after an election: take a list of results and reverse them; I designate the lowest polling candidate to have won the electorate.  The highest list vote for the electorate is given the value 1, with fifteen parties contesting the list vote the lowest list vote is given the value 15.  I put these into a spread sheet for each election to make a summary for each party.  The results I put through Elections NZ MMP seat allocation calculator.   What kind of results did I get this time?

ACT 10 MPs 10  electorate seats, 0 list

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis 9 MPs 0 electorate seats 9 list

Ban 1080 Party 12 MPs 1 electorate seat 11 (8) list

Communist League 2 MPs 2 electorate seats 0 list

Conservative Party 6MPs 1 electorate seat 5 list

Democrats for Social Credit 22MPs 22 electorate seats 0 list

Economic Euthenics 1 MP 1 electorate seat 0 list

Expats 1 MP 1 electorate seat 0 list

Focus Party 15 MPs 1 electorate seat 14 (7) list

Internet Mana 9 MPs 9 electorate seats 0 list

Maori Party 8 MPs 2 electorate seats 6 list

Money Free Party 4 MPs 4 electorate seats 0 list

Independent Coalition 15 MPs 1 electorate seat 14 (9) list

Patriotic Revolutionary Front 1 MP 1 electorate seat 0 list

Civilian Party 14 MPs 0 electorate seats 14 (8) list

United Future 11 MPs 5 electorate seats 6 list

Independents 19 MPs 19 electorates 0 list

Fifteen parties contested the list vote.  Four parties did not cross the threshold: the Green Party, the Labour Party, the National Party, and the New Zealand First Party.  They suffered from their relative successes in the real election, won no electorate seats in my reversed parliament and fell below the threshold to enter with list seats.  In my Update from Another New Zealand in 2011 New Zealand First, the Greens and Labour were represented in parliament along with the Alliance, the Libertarians, the New Zealand Sovereignty Party, the Youth Party, the Human Rights Party and Nga Iwi who have disappeared from this election.

The parties that remain seem to have some collapse in leadership.  After the last election the leader of the Act Party resigned, probably to the disappointment of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party who could have supported in decriminalisation sentiments toward cannabis.  Their next leader was caught out with legal proceedings.  Their third leader has the dubious honour in being more successful in my election results above.

The silly party MP from Economic Euthenics is joined by the Patriotic Revolutionary Front, neither of whom I understand intended to be in parliament.  My apologies to both of them if they ever find this site.  They are joined by the satirical party the Civilian Party.  Fortunately the Civies have a list of 8 candidates along with other parties whose allocation is higher than their candidates lists, bringing the overhang of parliament down from 150 to 131.

I don’t think I can speculate on the arrangement of government with this list!

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Time to Vote

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Fiji voted  earlier this week, and it looks like that they are keeping their government.

Scotland voted in their referendum and it looks like the Unionists won.

Saturday New Zealand goes to the polls.

The electoral office has been open for early voting for a couple of weeks now.  I wanted to vote before participating in our candidates night at Opoho Church.  There were three people in the booths ahead of me, a middle-aged couple had arrived in with wheelchair-bound mum, and all three made their vote.

Our candidates’ meeting was a success.  The community came out en masse.  One count from the front was 160 people in the audience.  The back of the church was packed with people.  This is an occasion that I live for, seeing that people care and are willing to come out to be informed.  I was timekeeper with my pocket watch and a deer-horn.  At least one candidate has skin like boiled leather with an ability to rebuff critical questions.

Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a wet day.  I’ll do my errands to the supermarket.  I really need to get a haircut, and I want to take a book back to the university library.  I can look up words while I’m there for Brithenig.  A lot of other people are going to take their chance to vote as well.  There is a lot of interest in this election.  Don’t let the weather put you off.  If you are going to vote, make a difference.

Yes-I-have-voted-sitcker--election-generic--sep2014--supplied

#climatevoter

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The second lecture I attended this week: Generation Zero’s live-feed from their candidates meeting in Auckland.

While the attendance in Auckland looked thin on the ground, as it did in the lecture theatre in Dunedin, it filled up in the Auckland auditorium.

The event was presented and chaired by Samantha Hayes, a journalist and news presenter from TV3.  She volunteered her time, introducing the speakers and spreading the questions around.

Most of the parties were in attendance.  Act and the Conservatives were not in attendance, which kept the conversation away from chem trails. 

The debate was conducted on the assumption that the causes of climate change were resolved in the rational world.  (Where assumably rationality is not applied to climate change deniers.)

If we are not world leaders in climate change action then we are still batting above our weight class.  We have been foot-dragging to become pioneers under the government of the last six years.  This doesn’t mean that we are not concerned.

Tracey Martin showed that there is more to New Zealand First than yes men to Winston Peters.  In the conversation over transport she argued that the conversation needs to be extended from talking only about metropolitan Auckland to include connectivity to Auckland’s satelite towns.  She cited her constituency Warkworth, a community which is also home to the largest migrant Kiribati population in New Zealand.  There is more to New Zealand First’s immigration policy than just being opposed to New Zealand becoming a bolt-hole for Chinese millionaires.

If New Zealand First goes through a leadership change during the next term and people like Tracey Martin step out of the media shadow cast by Winston Peters then that party could prove to be interesting to watch.

Transport needs to be more than feeding roads.  It needs to be about improving networks.

Tim Groser: “Have you seen us abolish the ETS?” (Emissions Trading Scheme)  David Parker and Russell Norman: “Affectively Yes!”  I’m pretty sure that they both chorused that response.

The government is reliant on the high level of renewable energy (70%) to justify reducing incentive to take action to go further to higher levels of renewable energy.

Tracey Martin jumped in again to say that National and Labour think they know everything, both supporting the ETS while a group of smaller parties favour the Carbon Tax.  The two biggest parties need to be less arrogant.  She is really earning her pay-check this week.

There is a role for the Centre-Right parties to carry their people to act on climate change.  Tim Groser may look like an obstacle in this forum; addressing a room of 200 farmers he becomes an advocate for acting on climate change.  It was pointed out by the panel after the main event that he didn’t play the ‘environment-is-nice-to-have-but-we-can’t-afford-it’ card.  The National Party still needs to watch out, especially if the fiscal conservative faction becomes the dominant faction in that party.

Climate Voter

Candidates Meeting

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The last three days were busy evenings with events.  Here’s my report on the first: a candidates meeting at the Hutton Theatre in the Dunedin Museum hosted by Forest and Bird, Wise Response, Generation Zero and Oil-Free Otago, and others I think.

Forest and Bird handed out poll forms with seven priorities for conversation.  We were told to pick three we considered most important.  It was an exercise in frustration.  I think I wanted to tick at least six!  So many good choices.

The theatre didn’t fill.  There was still a wide range of people.  I saw a couple of Labour stalwarts come in and sit at the end of a row of young Nats.  Every seat was leaflet dropped by the National Party.  The Democrats for Social Credit were also keen distributing their pamplets, like elderly street preachers.

Seven candidates going in alphabetical order.  These people get to know each other.  Fun to watch who’s sitting together: the Conservative candidate exchanging a quip with the Labour incumbrant, and the National List M.P. sharing a joke with the Legalise Marujuana Aotearoa candidate.  Interesting to watch them: who smiles, who scowls, who makes notes for their turn.

The Act candidate has already resigned in a huff over his party leader playing the race card rather than stand for the party’s libertarian principles.  No replacement from Act on Campus has taken his place.  No candidate for New Zealand First either.

The Labour candidate, David Clark, up first: “The economy is a subsidiary of the environment.”  “There are more National MPs in government than Maui Dolphins.  We need to change the numbers.”

I was interested in hearing Rob Stewart from Internet Mana.  No game-changer but acceptable.  He ended on “We have only one world.”  The next one over is too far to walk.

Metiria Turei from the Greens was to the end of the list.  “Most of us are campaigning for the party vote.”  “There is much greater commonality on the left to environmental issues.”  More on that when I go to the live-feed for Generation Zero from Auckland.

Last off the rank was Michael Woodhouse, the List M.P. for Dunedin from the National Party.  As the government M.P. most of the questions were directed to him from the floor.

I walked home thinking about the candidates meeting to organise for Opoho Church.  It will be the weekend just before the election, and, no matter the pressure put on us by the candidates, we promise to be more sillier and irreverent than they can be!

The Politics of Climate Change

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A discussion with David Clark (Labour) and Metiria Turei (Greens), two locally based Members of Parliament.  The event was organised by the Otago Energy Research Centre, the Centre for Sustainability, and the Otago Climate Change Network.

This is the first duet by Clark and Turei in the 2014 elections.  They are singing from the same song sheet.  Despite the differences between their parties’ agendas, which are minor notes, there was plenty of affection and respect between both speakers.  The big debates are yet to come.  Other parties who could have represented a different view voted with their feet and stayed away.

We risk a sea-change of 1.6 metres.  I’m a couple of centimetres over 1.5 metres so that is getting personal.  It affects our harbourside, and South Dunedin, an area of the city for people who can’t afford to move, and often can’t afford to own their own property.  Inequality makes our poorest citizens most vulnerable.  The delay in taking action on climate change is a luxury we can’t afford.  The longer we wait the more we will have to pay.  The small scale of our nation doesn’t stop us from becoming world leaders: it’s not the size of the country in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the country.  So let’s take a can-do attitude.

Labour introduced a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme and is continuing to push it.  National cannot get out of the scheme.  Iwi have invested in it.  Business is taking an interest and responding well to it.  Under a change in government it has become a protection for pollutors.  The loop-holes need to be tightened up.  The Greens would like to change it for the alternative, a Carbon Tax.  This will take time to implement.  Another three years of the current government will continue in an increase of emissions and environmental degredation.  It is central government that can respond better.  This is why the opposition parties advocate for a change of government.

There are some companies who don’t care.  Time to hunt them down and hurt them in the wallet, that will cause them the most pain.  There is a shift in thinking in the last ten years.  This will continue to develop.  A lot of people want to make a better choice.  As more wealthier households go off the power grid for supply (more solar energy) the stress of maintaining supply shifts onto poorer households.  That’s 50% of the population, the Middle New Zealand.  Change will be supported out of our taxes.

David Clark gets to talk.

David Clark gets to talk.

Is it worth voting?

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A debate hosted by the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago.  Labour Party politicians David Clark and Marion Hobbs spoke for the affirmative; university lecturers Richard Jackson and Bryce Edwards spoke for the negative.  The debate was chaired by Kevin Clements.

Politicians are in it for their own gain.  They become a political caste, serving their own interests.   They would tell us that our democracy is funded on raffles.  Voting is a civic sacrament and we should all worship it.

If voting mattered it would be illegal (I think that that is a quote from Mark Twain).  New Zealand has a democracy where real change is possible and voting matters.  We have healthcare, education, roads and the rule of law.

At the same time voting cannot meet the challenge of climate change and inequality.  Our electoral cycle is limited to three years, when we are offered the choice of accelerated neo-liberalism or neo-liberalism in soft focus: vote the bastards out or keep them in for another three years.  Until the option of voting the right lizard in is made to us again in the next electoral cycle we remain apathetic to what they do.  So long as we get some jam with our tea.  So the voter has no power, no option, except the status quo, and special interests have better access to our politicians than the average voter.  The politicians imagine that they have been given a mandate while the voters remain alienated.

Democratic institutions have lost control of neo-liberal capitalism.  Democracy is under threat to the oligarchy (the 1%ligarchy?).  It has become a celebrity contest, about personalities and not issues.

So we need to stay informed, to stay involved, to remain interested.  It’s up to you.  It’s your choice if you don’t vote.  The system is broken.  Say no to business as usual.  Don’t endorse what you don’t believe in.  Change will be made by politics on the street.  If you do vote then don’t complain; you voted them in!

Like the churches, and the sports clubs, and the voluntary organisations, the political parties are running on a smaller group of people.  We are not interested in joining up.  It’s a smaller group of people who are making policy for the rest of us.

Final questions:  Is the neo-liberal project over, like the politicians would tell us?  Is there an alternative to voting by taking the initiative, being involved and being informed?  What if voting impeeds progress?  What if we can’t move to a no-growth economic system?

Despite the argument a vote of hands made it clear that the majority of the audience intended to vote in the September election.  The chair declared that the ayes had it.  Questions from the floor made it clear that the audience wanted to hear more about the alternatives to voting:  Be involved; be engaged; be informed; be aware; learn about alternatives; question; create community.

I was glad to be part of this audience.  It was well attended and the lecture theatre was full.

Update from another New Zealand

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I posted up the results for an alternative election in New Zealand earlier this week where the parties that were least successful in each seat swapped around and won that seat in my alternative time-line. After I posted it I realised that how I could manipulate the list vote is give the highest votes the value of 1, the second highest 2, and so on, then add those numbers up and work out a percentage of votes from that.

Fifteen parties contested the list vote. Six other parties did not contest list votes but won eight seats, as well as seven other seats which returned independent members of parliament. The resulting parliament has 147 members, higher than the numbers elected here due to the number of overhang seats. One party, the centre-right National Party won no seats and its list vote was re-allocated as it was below the threshold.

ACT 22 MPs 22 electorates 0 list
Alliance 14 MPs 2 electorates 12 list
Democrats for Social Credit 14 MPs 8 electorates 6 list
Libertarianz 14 MPs 7 electorates 7 list
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis 12 MPs 2 electorates 10 list
Mana 12 MPs 3 electorates 9 list
Maori Party 11 MPs 1 electorate 10 list
United Future 11 MPs 5 electorates 6 list
Conservative 8 MPs 1 electorate 7 list
NZ First 6 MPs 2 electorates 4 list
Greens 5 MPs 1 electorate 4 list
Labour 3 MPs 1 electorate 2 list
NZ Sovereignty 2 MPs 2 electorates
Communist League 2 MPs 2 electorates
Youth Party 1 MP 1 electorate
Economic Euthenics 1 MP 1 electorate
Human Rights 1 MP 1 electorate
Nga Iwi 1 MP 1 electorate
Independents 7 MPs 7 electorates

Still a strong neo-liberal block with ACT the largest party allied with the Libertarianz. Needing 74 MPs to form a bare majority, they may draw in other parties who want to be around the caucus table: the socially rightist Conservatives, the centrist Ünited Future, and the indigenous Maori Party. They might even attract the hemp industrialists from the Aotearoa Party or the economic policies of the Democrats. The left look like to be be in opposition between a strong showing by the Alliance with its support parties, Labour, the Greens and the Communists.

In truth this is a parliament of rejects and the leading parties of this parliament reflects this. There is enough there to terrify to alarm and attract various factions in real factions. Analysing the numbers proved to be an interesting exercise in itself in studying the voting trends of the country. I may have to keep that information for consideration.

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