12 November 2008

Party votes in Wellington Central

Examining the preliminary voting totals on the Electionresults site, it's interesting to note the various regional variations in voting patterns in the New Zealand General Election held on 8 November.

In the Wellington Central electorate, the sitting Labour MP, Hon Marian Hobbs, was not seeking re-election. There was a strong field of candidates to replace her including Grant Robertson (Labour), Stephen Franks (formerly of Act, now the National candidate), Sue Kedgley (Green) and Heather Roy (Act). On 8 November Robertson took the seat for Labour with a majority of 1517 in the electorate votes. Here's how the top four candidates stood in the electorate vote standings:

Robertson 14,120
Franks 12,603
Kedgley 4,464
Roy 738

But one of the beauties of MMP is the ability to direct your party vote wherever you wish. Wellington Central voters offered their party votes to a wide range of parties, so I thought I'd run the numbers and see if any particular parties were over- or under-represented in the party vote. In the table below you can see the figures: if a party received the same proportion of party votes in Wellington Central as it did across New Zealand, then its score would be 100.

The table shows that the Green vote is particularly strong in the capital, running at three times the national rate. The Greens received nearly five percent of all their party votes in Wellington Central (4.94%).

Four minnow parties (Workers, Libertarianz, Republic and RAM) also received a high vote rate, presumably indicating the concentration of their supporters in an electorate with a politically active population close to the centre of government and a major university. Peter Dunne's United Future and Rodney Hide's Act also receive a slight boost in Wellington; Dunne would likely be benefitting from his local power base in the adjacent electorate.

Of the two main parties, Labour's party vote rate (101.52) is almost exactly the same as its New Zealand-wide rate. Despite the strong showing of Stephen Franks for National in the electorate vote, in party vote terms National (78.92) did relatively poorly in Wellington Central. Its plans to cap the size of the core bureaucracy presumably did not go unnoticed by the bureaucrats in question.

A string of smaller parties are under-represented in Wellington Central. Of those represented in the last Parliament, New Zealand First (38.13) fared poorly, while Jim Anderton's Progressive (76.07) received a few votes. One surprise is the scale of the Maori Party vote (36.71) - while it is under-represented in Wellington Central party votes, one has to remember that many of its supporters in the Wellington region would have voted on the Maori roll in the Te Tai Tonga electorate. There are obviously a reasonable number of Maori (or Maori Party-friendly non-Maori) on the general roll in Wellington Central.

Caveats: The voting figures will alter once the final vote tallies are released. Party votes for very small parties were not published and so have been excluded from the calculation.
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