Labour: Ever heard of tactical voting?

5 Sep


By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

Reprinted from The Daily Blog

The vote is now so close that a refusal by Labour to consider tactical voting is more than stupid – it could be suicidal.

Current polling indicates that the Maori Party candidates have a modest lead in two electorates – Waiariki and Te Tai Hauāuru. I think that the polls exaggerate that lead but let us accept they are accurate for now.

The party is second place is Mana in Waiariki and Labour in Te Tai Hauāuru. The combined Mana and Labour electorate vote would be enough to defeat the Maori Party candidates and prevent them bringing anyone in from the list if that were possible.

That would eliminate 2 or three potential National Party allies in the next parliament. That could be enough to prevent the National Party being able to form a majority government. It is very unlikely that Act or United Future can win more than the seats they have been gifted by National.

The Labour Party made a decision to encourage their supporters to tactically vote for Jeanette Fitzsimons in 1999 because it looked like they may not make the 5% threshold and all those votes would have been wasted for the task of getting rid of the then National Government.

On a local level the Labour Party are actually encouraging people to tactically vote for the National Party candidate in Epsom in order to prevent the Act Party getting into parliament. That makes sense although I somehow doubt personally I could do that without throwing up.

It makes even more sense to do a deal with Mana in Waiariki and Te Tai Hauāuru to ensure the defeat of the Maori Party candidate.

The Labour leader has foolishly said that he won’t do deals that allow smaller parties to “coat tail” MP’s into parliament. Mana does not need a deal to get into parliament. They are already there with Hone Harawira and will be there again. His seat is safe.

The tactical voting deal can be supported on the basis that it is simply logical for two parties that share a common interest in defeating the Maori Party in the Maori seats to support whichever person is number two in the polls against the Maori Party if they are number one.

There is one added benefit. NZ First currently have the balance of power and can decide who the next government will be. They cannot be trusted not to go with National. If we are a bit lucky and the polls shift some more over the next two weeks then the Labour, Green, Internet Mana bloc may get a majority without NZ First and therefore neutralise his current kingmaker role.

In those circumstances it is probable that Labour will still invite NZ First to be part of the next government. But Winston’s negotiating power to dilute the lefts influence will be radically reduced.

Why is that so difficult to understand or support. It makes sense to me.

More importantly it makes sense for the people of New Zealand who want a change of government. We need to send a message to Labour that if deals need to be made to ensure we get a change of government then that is what should be done.

(Unite National Director Mike Treen has a blog hosted on the TheDailyBlog website. The site is sponsored by several unions and hosts some of New Zealand’s leading progressive commentators. Mike’s blog will be covering union news and general political comment but the views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of Unite Union.)


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