Party vote crucial

The party vote is the most important vote for Saturday's election and that is why electors should carefully consider their preferences when casting their vote on Saturday.

Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson claimed the article published yesterday contained errors.

"Of most concern was advice to Dunedin voters that should they wish to 'help Prime Minister Helen Clark form a Labour-led government, they should consider giving their party vote to the Greens in the first instance and New Zealand First in the second'.

"This is incorrect. If a Labour supporter decides to give their Party vote to the Greens then they harm Prime Minister Helen Clark rather than help her. The reason is that it is only the party vote which determines the number of MPs each party receives in Parliament."

Mr Hodgson is correct in his assumption but remains wedded to first-past-the-post thinking.

Neither Labour nor National can govern on their own and they will need allies in Parliament.

The Greens are the best allies for Labour and while Labour might continue to win electorate seats, polling suggests its party vote support has dropped considerably since the last election.

If left-leaning voters were to cast their votes for a party other than Labour, for whatever reason, then the Greens are the best option.

If NZ First is not in the frame on election night, it will be a straight race between Labour and the Greens, and National and Act New Zealand.

Alliance Dunedin North candidate Victor Billot provided a clarification on the way votes cast for unsuccessful parties were treated.

The Electoral Act 1993 (clause 191, 4) makes it clear that if a party polls less than 5% in the party vote across the country, and it does not win an electorate seat, its votes will be "disregarded".

They will not be spread across all other parties, as reported yesterday.

If 10% of the total party votes cast in Saturday's election are for parties that fall short of the 5% - and that fail to win an electorate seat - then only 90% of the party votes cast across the country will count in determining the make-up of Parliament.

But that would mean that a party with 45% of the vote would have half of the seats in Parliament.

Again, if electors want their vote to count in forming the next government, they need to carefully consider which party to support.


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