How governments form under MMP ...

AUT's Julienne Molineaux has written a must-read guide to post-election processes ... anyone wanting to know anything about this should go and read it.

I was going to write something today setting out how the post-election government formation process works. Then I read this post by Julienne Molineaux over at AUT's Briefing Papers blog. Because it says everything I would, and does so in such a good way, I simply will urge anyone interested to go and read it in full.

Here's the first part as a teaser ... 

Understanding that you have two votes, and what each is for, is fairly straightforward. But once the votes are in, what happens?

New Zealand is making MMP up as we go along. We have what is called a ‘freestyle bargaining’ approach to government formation. There are no rules about how to approach it, who must be involved, or what timeframes must be adhered to. The first bloc of parties to tell the Governor General that they have 61 votes for ‘confidence and supply’ has the right to form a government. Confidence and supply refers to two minimum things a government must do to stay in power: ‘supply’ is the ability to pass its budget, so government spending can continue, and ‘confidence’ means surviving a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the House.

Some of our MMP governments have been innovative, involving for example support partners with Ministerial posts but not bound by collective Cabinet responsibility, who are free to publicly disagree with government policies. National and the Greens signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009, in which both parties agreed to work on policies including home insulation and energy efficiency. John Key put together a series of ‘surplus majority government’ arrangements with more support parties and votes than necessary to survive, giving his government the option of tailoring different combinations of supporters for each legislative reform.

New forms of creativity may be used to facilitate the formation of a workable government following election 2017.


(Now go read the rest here)