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ACT or National voters can possibly get a 3-for-1 for their party vote  

In brief
  • If ACT and/or National supporters use their party vote to get NZ First from 3% to 5%, it’s 4 extra aligned MPs. How? 
  • If NZ First gets over the threshold, this means 6 centre-right NZ First MPs. 
  • ACT and/or National probably only lose 2. 
  • Polls indicate right-leaning parties will win if their party vote is effectively combined. 

New Zealand First has unique advantage

Most of the minor parties that currently have no seats are predicted to have virtually no chance of winning any in the 2023 general election. New Zealand First is unique as it has significant support, making it a contender in October.

Their leader, Winston Peters, has been labelled a possible kingmaker (or “Chrismaker”). Winston has committed he won’t go with Labour and that is easy to believe given their policies compared to his.

Here’s a possible scenario that could benefit centre-right voters this election. 

It’s not an endorsement of any party. It is simply an attempt to make sure voters understand how the party vote works, which might surprise some.

ACT or National voters can possibly get a 3-for-1 for their party vote   - Centrist
If the right combines their party vote, it could cinch the election. Image by Matthew Shugart

Electorate seats vs list seats

There are two types of seats in NZ’s MMP electorate system: electorate seats and list seats. Both seats are equal.

Candidates win electorates by gaining more votes than their competitors in a first-past-the-post race. 

List seats are won either by winning an electorate (the “coat-tailing rule”) or 5% of the party vote. In both cases, the party then ends up with total seats equal to the greater of the seats actually won or their party vote percentage. 

How right-leaning voters might benefit from supporting New Zealand First

New Zealand First is currently polling at about 3% of the party vote. That means they need only about 2% of voters, from any other party, for them to meet that 5% threshold. 

Alternatively, New Zealand First MP Shane Jones could win in Northland, but that seems very unlikely, unless some other party (or parties) bows out and endorses him.

By crossing the 5% threshold, New Zealand First would then  bring about 6 seats to Parliament that are aligned with centre-right policies. And it would only cost ACT or National 2% of their party vote.

That 2% means about 2 (possibly 3) seats lost for ACT or National.

The gamble for right wing voters compared to left wing voters

If New Zealand First fails to meet either of the two thresholds, then any votes that otherwise were going to count for ACT or National are wasted. 

There is no equivalent risk/reward for parties on the left because all of their party vote is going to count.

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