front runner

Coalition governments are a consequence of MMP. They may better reflect us and our democratic aspirations than the Winner-Takes-All ones of the past.

The public understanding of election outcomes remains dominated by a misunderstood account of the old electoral system which was not based on proportional representation. One commentator said confidently that the party with the most votes should form the government. That certainly did not happen in 1911, 1928, 1978 or 1981 when the party with most votes ended up in opposition.

With most parties having announced their lists for the next election, we need to think about how the system works.

  • As some day it may happen that an MP must be found
  • They’re put upon the list - I've got a little list
  • Of political offenders who are always safe and sound
  • And who never would be missed - so I put them on the list.
  • There's opinionated graduates who always are around
  • Who’ve done absolutely nothing but are legislature bound
  • Who know absolutely n

You may have been surprised at the outcome of the recent British elections, but New Zealand’s experience shows you should not have been surprised that you were surprised

While writing my history of New Zealand, I wondered about whether it would be possible to assess people’s attitudes before there were surveys. Writers often impose their prejudices, without realising they are doing so.