Putting the referendum result in context

From The Briefing Room:

via TBR.cc by iwishart on 8/21/09

It has been said that the overall turnout (54%) in the smacking referendum provides no mandate.

If this were true, no city or regional council has a mandate to govern today and all should resign pending a fresh election, as those results are decided on turnouts of fewer than 50%.

But more significantly, here’s something else to keep in mind.

More than 1.4 million people voted ‘No’ on the referendum.

In the 1999 election that swept Labour’s Helen Clark to power, 800,199 people voted Labour.

In the same 1999 election, 629,932 voted National.

In other words, the no vote in the referendum is almost double (75% higher in fact), than the number of voters who gave Helen Clark a mandate to run New Zealand for three years.

It is more than double (130% higher in fact), than the number of people who voted National in 1999.

In fact, it may even be that on the final tally, the ‘No’ vote actually exceeds the combined votes of both National and Labour at the 1999 election.

Green Party MP and pro-smacking law campaigner Sue Bradford has tried to argue that if you take into account those who didn’t vote (46%), and add them to the 11% who voted in favour of her own position, that’s a majority of the population who support her and therefore the referendum gives “no mandate” for change.

Taking that logic at face value, if we look at the 1999 election, the number of people who did not vote Labour or did not turn out to vote, clearly outweighs Labour’s 800,000 votes.

Bradford is on a loser if she keeps riding down that path.

Ironically, more people voted No in last night’s referendum than voted in favour of introducing MMP to our electoral system. Does that mean we should declare MMP null and void using Bradford’s logic?

Perhaps, if we did, the Greens would disappear in a puff of (dope) smoke.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *