Will National have the most friends in 2008?
Well, it's about one year out from the election and it is time to do another post on MMP. Just Left and No Right Turn have done posts on MMP which are worth reading, and although Carter gets more comments on his blog than I do on mine, I get more than No Right Turn (for reasons which are obvious), and get enough readers who read both their blogs to do a post - even though they don't comment much here. So this post is in light of Government formation.
Some people know that we don't vote for a Government in this country, we vote for a Parliament and certain members of Parliament and their staff decide who the Government is to be once we have decided the composition of Parliament. Some say that MMP is undemocratic as we don't directly have a say on who forms the Government. Some say it is the party with the most votes who is the Government - that is blatantly false. Never has been, even under FPP.
Under FPP it was the party with the most seats that got hold of power, but that party didn't necessarily have the most votes - as happened in 1978 and also in 1981 when National got fewer votes than Labour but had an 11 seat majority. Some believe that with MMP, the party with the most seats have an automatic right to form the Government. That's incorrect as well. You don't have to be the party with the most seats or the most votes under MMP to be the main party in a colation Government.
But MMP is a lot more democratic that a system where a party gets 20 percent of the votes and just two MPs - as what happend in 1978 - or when National gets in power despite 65 percent of the population voting for other parties - as happened in 1993. Had 1993 been an MMP election the Alliance would have got 23 seats (a handful of seats fewer than National got in 2002), and NZ First would have got 10 seats instead of two.
It is usually the party with the most friends in Parliament who collectively have more seats than everyone else who form a MMP Government - and these friends - ie all MP's of that party - not only don't have to be in Government, they don't even have to be on the same side of the left/right political divide. Therefore opinion polls are not about which party those polled thinks will "win the election", they are about which party will have the most friends in Parliament with the most seats after the election to form a government.
One Green commentator on Carter's blog stated that he voted Greens because he wanted them to have representation in Government. He appeared to forget that Greens currently have two government spokekpeople - for NZ Made and Energy Eficiency, but under FPP wouldn`t even be in Parliament. But if greenies vote Green to get Government representation, will they be happy to have a representative in Buy NZ Made under a National Government, possibly with a deal that they abstain on confidence and supply?
It's not beyond possibility, is it?