16 December 2013

Notes on the asset sales referendum results

The preliminary results of the asset sales referendum, asking the question "Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand", show an interesting range of results across the country.

  • The overall turnout of 43.9 percent seems reasonable compared with other New Zealand citizen initiated referendums outside of those held on election day: the firefighters' referendum in 1995 had a turnout of 27 percent, and the smacking referendum in 2009 had a turnout of 56 percent.
  • If electorate turnout rates are grouped into ranges of 10 percent each, the results are as follows:

% Turnout
No. of electorates
20-29%
5
30-39%
12
40-49%
44
50-59%
9
  • The five electorates with the lowest turnout are all Labour or Maori Party electorates - in order, they are: Tamaki Makaurau (28.9%), Hauraki-Waikato (29.3%), Mangere (29.4%), Manurewa (29.5%) and Manukau East (29.7%). Actually, the 10 electorates with the lowest referendum turnout are all represented by Labour, Maori Party or Mana MPs. 
  • The nine electorates with turnout rates over 50 percent are comprised of seven electorates with National MPs (Wairarapa, Northland, Napier, Nelson, Waitaki, Coromandel and Otaki) plus two Labour electorates (West-Coast Tasman and Dunedin South). 
  • The electorate with the highest turnout was Otaki (54.0%), held by National, closely followed by Dunedin South, held by Labour.
  • The mean turnout rate for electorates with a National MP (45.67%) was actually higher than for those with a Labour MP (41.28%).
  • The national preliminary result was 32.5 percent 'Yes' (in favour of the asset sales) and 67.2 percent 'No' (opposed to the sales).
  • Considering the 'Yes' vote (in favour of the asset sales programme) by electorates:
% Yes
No. of electorates
0-9%
7
10-19%
3
20-29%
19
30-39%
28
40-49%
11
50-59%
2
  • The seven electorates with under 10 percent ‘Yes’ votes were all Maori electorates (three Labour, three Maori Party and one Mana). 
  • The two electorates with ‘Yes’ votes over 50 percent were Epsom (54.6%) and Tamaki (53.2%), held by ACT and National respectively. (The 'No' vote obviously mirrors the above results, for example with 28 electorates returning 'No' rates of between 60 and 69 percent, because there are only two valid responses, Yes and No).
  • Five electorates with National MPs had a 'No' vote (against the sales) of greater than 70 percent: Waitakere (74.2%), Invercargill (73.6%), Whanganui (71.8%), Nelson (71.3%) and Christchurch Central (70.3%). Three of those five electorates are held by Ministers (Paula Bennett, Chester Borrows, and Nick Smith). 
  • Two electorates with Labour MPs had 'Yes' votes (in favour of the sales) above 30 percent: Wellington Central (31.7%) and Mt Roskill (30.2%), held by Grant Robertson and Phil Goff respectively.
See also:
Blog: MPs departing Parliament, 7 November 2013
Blog: The No vote's disingenuous referendum campaign (UK AV referendum), 6 May 2011
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