Could there be a Labour overhang?

In MMP it’s almost always the party vote that counts.

The exception is with electorates like Epsom or Ohariu where minor party leaders win the seat and get their parties into parliament without getting at least 5% of the party vote.

Even though we’ve had MMP for more than 20 years some people still don’t understand the importance of the party vote.

And some people who do understand the system split their vote, giving their electorate vote to the person in spite, rather than because, of their party.

If a party gets more electorate seats than it’s party vote entitles it to we  end up with more than 120 MPs which is called an overhang.

Labour has slumped to its lowest level in more than  20 years in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll.

It’s fallen three points to 24 per cent this poll. That’s one per cent lower than the 25 per cent recorded at the last election. The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll began in 1995.

It’s important not to read too much into a single poll but this one does confirm a downward trend for Labour.

When a party loses support electorate MPs are vulnerable too, especially those in marginal seats.

But voters sometimes stay loyal to individual electorate MPs even though they no longer support their party.

If Labour’s party vote continues to fall not only would it get no list MPs, which would end its leader, Andrew Little’s parliamentary career, it could end up with more electorate MPs than its party vote entitles it to.

Ironically, that wouldn’t be good for National because parliament would end up with an overhang and therefore a government would need more than 61 votes to get a majority.

Another way we might end up with an overhang would be if Labour bleeds enough electorate votes to allow more Maori Party MPs into parliament through winning more seats than their party vote would entitle them to.

That might or might not help National. The Maori Party has been part of National-led governments since 2008. It has given the government confidence and supply but it’s voted against National more often than for it so while National has been able to govern it hasn’t always been able to pass legislation.

National support stayed steady on 47% in this poll.

To my surprise and despair, the Green Party gained 4% support which is being attributed to Meteria Turei’s confession of fraud and possibly the mad policy that would increase benefit dependency.

However, this is only one poll and that level of increase is against the trend.

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One Response to Could there be a Labour overhang?

  1. It’s an interesting situation Ele. Andrew Little’s chances of getting back into Parliament actually improve with every electorate seat Labour loses.

    I think it’s highly likely Labour will lose Hutt South, and at least one Maori seat (Te Tai Tokerau, Tamaki Makaurau, Hauraki/Waikato, Te Tai Hauauru and Te Tai Tonga are all by no means certain), which would leave Labour down two seats. They may win Ohariu from Peter Dunne, but I’m not sure they can look forward to many other gains.

    At the moment, I suspect Andrew Little is regretting the decision not to seek the nomination for Rongotai.

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