NZ First caucus meets over finer points after 2-day meeting with board which canvassed every policy in each of National's and Labour's packages - 'more than just 5 or 10'; Shane Jones says it's ring-sizing day - for his own nuptials

By Alex Tarrant

New Zealand First’s caucus was meeting Wednesday morning to discuss whatever came out of Winston Peters’ meetings with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern last night, and to possibly begin discussions on government structure and desired Ministerial positions.

The party’s MPs filed into Bowen House at different times and through different entrances through the early morning – some stopping to speak to media, although not much was gleaned from them outside of what leader Winston Peters said Tuesday evening.

The caucus has just sat through a joint two-day meeting with the party’s board Monday and Tuesday. Leader Winston Peters said Tuesday evening that the party had reached 95%-98% consensus on what the two policy platforms on the table from National and Labour “both mean”.

Interest.co.nz sought clarification on whether Peters had meant there was consensus on what the party would go back to National and Labour with in terms of any tweaks they would seek to each policy platform, or whether the comment meant there was consensus on what each package – as reviewed over the past two days – would deliver for NZ First policy-wise?

“The latter,” was the response.

I put to another NZ Firster that taking two days to understand the two policy packages that came out of last week’s negotiations seemed quite a long time for just that, while having nothing else come out of the meeting.

The response was that the board and caucus had covered off and clarified what Labour’s and National’s positions were on each policy in each package, and where New Zealand First stood on each one. This required a lot of work, it was said, as a huge amount of policy was reviewed – not just five or ten items.

We're getting close

Fletcher Tabuteau was the first New Zealand First MP to enter the building where the media pack was waiting Wednesday morning. He is the party’s spokesman on commerce, tourism, trade, energy and revenue, and was consistently part of last week’s negotiating teams with Labour and National.

He said he had “no idea” how things would go through the morning. “I’ve been in negotiations and then caucus and board, and we go from here." Asked whether we might get an announcement today, he looked skyward for a few seconds before replying, “I’m not sure. I couldn’t say that with any…well we’re getting close, right?”

New MP Mark Patterson was next. “We’re at the business-end. There’s no doubt about that, so we’ll find out,” he said. “It’s probably beyond us, a lot of this stuff now – there’ll be other parties that make, that have to make that call.”
“Winston was pretty candid with you last night. We’re about 98% of the way there, with the stuff, with the policy stuff. So, that’s just about done and it’ll be up to the leadership now.”

It was then Shane Jones’ turn. He wouldn’t comment on whether he expected a decision today. “Our Rangatira Winston, he’ll be handling all that.” Jones said there would be re-engagement this morning. “Come on folks, it’s still a good day, and people are getting paid,” he said before telling the media pack that today was the day he was getting his wedding ring fitted for his upcoming nuptials in Rarotonga. “It’s ring-sizing day.”

“We shouldn’t overlook the hard work that’s already happened. And of the decisions that you’re looking for, Winston will, at the duly appointed time, be making an announcement,” he said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to go for - my ring – whether it will be sapphire or ruby, but I’m getting married and I’ve got ring-sizing today.”

'I don't want to lower the 5% threshold'

Meanwhile, Winston Peters issued the following release regarding a comment in the Dominion Post's editorial Wednesday morning that he'd like the 5% threshold the be reduced. He's not a fan of the idea, apparently:

LET’S STOP THE LIES

Fairfax claimed before 446,287 votes were even counted in the 2017 General Election that I was holding the country to ransom.

Second, that I had tried to get a deal on an electorate seat.

Today’s editorial is slovenly and deceitful in the extreme and it begins by saying I want to reduce the 5 per cent parliamentary threshold for political parties. What is so bad about that lie is that it is so blatant.

On the review of the electoral system, to which political parties made submissions, New Zealand First submitted that the threshold should remain at 5 per cent. That view was made public by us and was widely broadcast at the time.

That being the case, why have you attempted to deceive readers for the umpteenth time where New Zealand First is concerned?

In 24 years New Zealand First has never tried to do a deal with another political party prior to the election.

Would you please tell your readers where you get your evidence, or is making it up as you go along your professional forte?

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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32 Comments

Seems traditional MSM media are hell-bent on ritual hari-kari and destroying themselves

It must be terribly frustrating for the Greens to have no say whatsoever. I don't understand how a party could govern together with another party without having any prelimiary talks

Association by Proxy .... lots of mysterious and funny things happen in a Circus .... colorful eye watering Clowns

Greens have a smaller % and wont talk to National, they can take this outcome as a result of their position.

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Mike Hosking is in the Herald blathering on about "Time to ditch MMP after this shambles"

Well diddums, it was all fine and dandy with the cup of tea and the Act party (yeah - right), Peter Dunne and the like. Now the shoe is on the other foot they want to take their bat and go home. Time for a certain 1% to grow up.

Why is "the shoe on the other foot" ?

It reminds me of that old saying "i dont want to play this game anymore".

Is there any record 2008, 2011, 2014 of Hosking complaining about Act, NZ Future and the Maori party wielding the balance of power and acting in the country's interest or rolling over without fuss

smalltown . Hoskings has got it bad, he’s really upset with nationals loss of power. The election went in with MMP, get over it Hoskings grow up. National had plenty of elections with the use of MMP , Now the shoes on the other foot and peters rules and could go labour he’s all cry baby. I saw a show of his once a while back and someone was saying houses were to high and needed to come down. He went right off, it’ll never happen. He thinks he knows everything. He’s just your normal greedy national lover of high house prices that they never worked for or payed for, Hoskings, greed and sour grapes at its best

You can always rely on Hosking for a toys-out-of-the-pram tantrum when he doesn't get his own way.

And he thinks he dresses nice, he looks like a homeless guy you don’t want to approach haha.

It's more a 'mid-life-crisis fashion victim and the shop saw him coming' look.

Haha yeah

I’m going to get a whipping for my comments. Hoskings little national greed team, oops there I go again, sorry

I can’t stand watching the guy . He’s to match a know it all for my liking , no one can get a word in. But there’s plenty like him around to keep him popular I guess, some like trump too, takes alsorts haha . it’s a funny world alright

The solution is simple Winston isn't needed to form a Government and in fact all the minor parties are irrelevant. National and Labour are essentially identical centre parties and could form a Government with 102 seats.

Yes. Giving us evermore of the same old same old destructive policies catering to those that pay these parties the most. This is why we must start voting for smaller parties that will truly represent our people and our environment.

Labor and national do represent the majority of NZ. Most Kiwis are social capitalists and both National and Labor and central parties that support a balance of social support and capitalist free markets. The nuance of how that is balanced is what causes the center left/center right swing but i'm afraid, for your sake, that these parties do in fact represent the people.

Is there anyone else out there, like me, that's become so confused as to who's meeting who ,who isn't, and what the meetings are all about, that they've given up trying to keep track of it all and simply lost interest?

I lost interest immediately after the election as there's no part that any of us play. It's all down to a solid deal being made. The media has tried to make news out of nothing. There's a lot of rubbish claiming Winston is leaning one way or another, then questioning MMP and other stupid clickbait stories.

The only news I'm interested in is who's a part of the deal, what they get out of it and how our Government will operate. Everything else is boring noise.

I think the 5% thresh-hold should be lowered, We saw well before the election that NZF & Greens going at over 10% as soon as some polls show them close to the 5% is scares off voters who think their vote may become "wasted", and they probably vote for one major party as a vote against the other major party.

if the thresh-hold was 1 or 2% we may break down the arrogant duopoly that exists at the moment. It would however make these coalition talks look short.

Agree....

A 1% thresh-hold would be quite attractive to zealots as it would only take 25,000 votes to get into parliament and a chance to wag the dog from the tail at every election.

2.4 % would be best that is three seats and on last election over 62K people

and do away with coat hanging, coat tailing, cup of tea deals
we have a MP in there becuase of a deal that party vote is so small its not funny

My natural political fit is ACT, however I have never voted for them. I wanted STV as that would have allowed me to vote ACT then National and not waste my vote. I have voted National every time as a practicality so don't assume ACT's natural support is what the 2017 results suggested.

Obvious solution is to remove the minimum % for the party vote and switch to STV preference voting for the party vote.

NZ First voters and other smaller parties would rank their preferred alternative partner(s) and determine the outcome.

Simple computer calculations would then determine the government makeup - with the technology advances of today machine readable voting papers are a non issue and could deliver a result overnight..

Interestingly STV was considered too complex in counting as a negative in the original MMP recommendation. Often forgotten is that STV is already in place and allowed for in council / hospital board elections. Seemed to work OK.

STV is the mathematically correct solution to the dilemma we now face.

The following is copied ex The Economist March 2000

The mathematics of voting Democratic symmetry:

FIFTEEN mathematicians went out to buy drink for a party. They decided to buy a single beverage in bulk to save money, but they wanted to choose which one in as logical and fair a way as possible. So each listed the three drinks on offer (beer, wine and milk) in order of preference. Six preferred milk, followed by wine and then beer; five liked beer the most, followed by wine and then milk; and four were wine-lovers whose second choice was beer, followed by milk.

The question was how to decide the outcome from these preferences. One milk- lover proposed a plurality vote, in which each person casts a single vote for their first choice. This would give milk six votes, beer five, and wine four, ensuring that his own favorite would prevail. Not so fast, said a beer-drinker. Given that wine was the least popular first choice, why not stage a run-off between milk and beer? Since the four whose first choice was wine said that they preferred beer to milk, this would mean that beer would win, by nine votes to six.

Humbug, said a wine buff. She suggested a more elaborate approach: pairwise comparison. Taking all stated preferences into account, it was clear that, given a choice between wine and beer, a majority (ten of the 15) would choose wine; given the choice between wine and milk, a majority (nine of the 15) would also choose wine. Although it had the smallest number of first choices, in other words, wine had the broadest appeal.

This sorry tale has a serious point: that the outcome of an election is a reflection of voting procedure as much as voters' wishes. In 70% of three-candidate elections, changing the procedure changes the final ranking. So the results of real-world elections can seem paradoxical, or downright unfair. In a paper just published in the journal Economic Theory, Donald Saari, a mathematician at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, claims to have got to the root of the problem. It is, he says, all to do with symmetry (technically, with something called the wreath product of symmetry groups). Essentially, says Dr Saari, voting paradoxes arise when the system fails to respect natural cancellations of votes. In a two-candidate contest, for example, nobody would deny that the candidate with the most first-preference votes should win. One way to explain this is that votes of the form AB (ie, candidate A is preferred to candidate B) should cancel out votes of the form BA. If this leaves a surplus of AB, then A wins.

These cancellations are a form of reflectional symmetry. But votes in a three-candidate election should cancel out, too. Consider three votes in such a contest: ABC, BCA and CAB. Each candidate is placed first, second and third once, so it is clear that these three votes should cancel each other out. This is a form of rotational symmetry, since the three votes form a rotating cycle.

Taking these two symmetries into account, it is possible to characterise all paradoxes for a three-candidate election under any voting procedure. Dr Saari's results can also be generalised for elections with more than three candidates using more complicated, but closely related symmetries. it is thus possible to evaluate the "fairness" of different voting systems.
Plurality voting, one of the most common democratic systems, fails to respect reflectional symmetry. Since it is only each voter's first choice that counts, a voter with preference ABC fails to cancel out an equal-and-opposite voter with preference CBA; instead, the result is one vote for A, and one for C. As a result, paradoxical results are possible under plurality voting. Similarly, pairwise comparison does not respect rotational symmetry, so it can lead to paradoxes too.

The fairest voting system, says Dr Saari, would respect both symmetries. The only system that fits the bill is the Borda count, proposed by Jean-Charles de Borda in 1770 to elect members to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. In an election with x candidates, each voter awards x points to his first choice, x-i to his second choice, and so on. The results are added up and the candidate with the most points wins. Admittedly, this is more complex than plurality voting and cannot be used with current American voting machines (though it is used in Australia). Also, if voters are not familiar with all candidates, and do not rank them all, the unassigned points must be divided up evenly between the unranked candidates. But for small elections, the system is ideal. And our thirsty mathematicians? Having read Dr Saari's results, they should now be merrily quaffing wine.

The Economist March 4 th 2000

Agree, STV would be very useful.

MMP more morons in parliament do we want this ?

Of course not. That is why more of us voted against National.

Everyone complaining about MMP should watch this video:
https://youtu.be/QT0I-sdoSXU

The greens are having there say, labour and greens have been talking all the way through this process. If they weren’t happy at any time they had the choice to pull out or say something. They haven’t. Everyone knows the greens are happy with labours direction and labour speaking for them . So please everyone why try and make something out of nothing