Was there a vote for change?

Every election changes things, it brings out new policies, some of which are implemented. Each new government is a different mix of parties, people and priorities.

‘Vote for change’ has emerged as the biggest justification for Labour and Greens forming the new government.

James Shaw has said that people voted for a change of government.

Phil Twyford has just claimed that there is a clear indication that NZ First were campaigning for change and says that means for a change of government.

Anthony Robins is also pushing this at The Standard: The vote for change

This election was a vote for change. After specials are counted the Labour Green block will be nearly or actually tied with the Nats. And then there is NZF.

No one knows what Peters will do. I’m not even convinced that him going with Labour Green is the best outcome – maybe a train wreck Nat NZF term is best for the long run. But either way, the Nats lost this election. This election was a vote for change. Winston Peters, and the magic of MMP, might very well deliver it.

National came up short of a majority, getting about 46% of the election night vote (specials yet to be counted).

But it’s a stretch claiming that everyone who voted for a party other than National wanted a change of government. people vote for a variety of reasons.

It’s more of a stretch suggesting that a majority of people voted for a Labour+NZ First+Green government. If that was an option to vote for I doubt that it would get popular support.

One could be somewhat cynical of the reunification of Labour+Greens as a thing given how split the parts ended up being during the campaign.

In July the Greens obviously gave up on Labour and went hard out trying to get as many soft and ex Labour votes as possible.

Then when Metiria Turei dragged the Greens down and the party looked out Labour went hard out chasing Green support and ex support. Greens responded with a fight for their political lives.

Their Memorandum of Understanding was effectively dead.

To now claim that people voted for a Labour+Green combination is creative but nonsense. Of course Labour and Greens can now present themselves as a single vote, but they are still short of National’s total.

To tack NZ First on is fair enough in trying to claim a mandate to govern, but I think many voters will have a degree of scepticism.

How secure would a Labour+NZ First+Green memorandum of coalition stay intact?

We may have a change of government – even if National lead government again it will be substantially different – but 54% of voters are very unlikely to have all preferred the sort of change of government that Labour and greens are currently clinging to.


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 25, 2017

    There was a small vote for change but most voted the same way as they always had. The big difference was the return of votes from the little parties to Labour. That was obviously a vote for a new personality rather than a vote for change

  2. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  September 25, 2017

    Of course there was a vote for change.
    People have rejected the tainted message of the NZ Greens.
    They have gone from 14 seats in Parliament to 7 (8?).

    Time for James Shaw to stop prancing about on the National Political stage and start rebuilding his party from its environmental roots. Biff out the mad and the bad.

  3. PDB

     /  September 25, 2017

    This would suggest Labour-Greens-NZL First BUT note the 15% of National voters going for National-Greens. In fact any govt suggested with National in it adds up to 60% so easily the preferred major party.


    Don’t under-estimate how many National voters don’t want to go into govt with Winston and would prefer him going left and stuffing their vote up for years to come.

  4. Sunny

     /  September 25, 2017

    The vote for change maths requires the assumption that all the votes cast for NZ First were lefty votes wanting a lefty government. Their is no basis for that assumption. There are numerous blog posts of more conservative people who supported NZ first because they wanted them to “pull National into line” particularly regarding separatist race based policies. NZ first did not declare himself part of the left block or MOU. The only numbers we have to go on are the electoral results of National vs Labour/Greens and the outcome is decisive in favour of the Nats.

    • PDB

       /  September 25, 2017

      It could be argued that NZL First lost much of it’s left leaning supporters when Ardern became Labour leader (hence there significant decrease in support at the time) whilst what is left of their support is primarily centre/right minded people.

  5. Ray

     /  September 25, 2017

    The sight of James Shaw telling us what a great result the Greens got and how he was going to be running the country with the help of Labour and NZ First was up there with Cunliffe’s effort three years ago.
    He may be part of the next Government but thanks to a disaster of a election is way off the levers of power.

    • J Bloggs

       /  September 25, 2017

      Shaw isn’t that wrong with his assessment. Unlike previous elections, the Greens have more leverage than it first appears. Labour and NZF don’t have the numbers to form a majority government outright without the Greens. All Shaw has to do is call up Jacinda and say that the price of Green Party support on Supply and Confidence is [insert desired GP outcome here], and if you don’t agree to our terms then good luck on forming a government.

      And if it wasn’t for the hard left in the Green Party, he could make exactly the same offer to National

  6. Zedd

     /  September 25, 2017

    Was there a vote for change?

    no doubt; “YES !!”

    even if that change is a Natz/NZF coalition.. you can guarantee that Natz will not be walking over Winston/NZF, (9 seats) like they did with U’F/Act/maori (4 seats).. look out folks, ‘the times they are a-changin’.. the facts are on TV’ 🙂

    maybe soon.. a new election ?? just sayin’ 😀

  7. on one issue.. watch for it; Cannabis law reform (which over 66% support & >80% med-use in recent polls) it seems not to be a priority.. potentially voting for STATUS QUO only ! 😦

    Natz dont support any further reform & NZF said ‘only after a referendum’ ?

    Im obviously hoping NZF consider this.. they need to go with Lab/Grns IF they want to even get that.

    Maybe not, now looking good for JA Genter’s (Green) med-use bill.. currently awaiting for 1st reading :/

  8. David

     /  September 25, 2017

    Shaw is really quite foolish and by his assesment every single person who voted Green did so to change the government and live with some left wing utopia, in other words next time around dont even bother with us just vote for Jacinda because that is what we all want. Has it not crossed his tiny mind that the plunge in support for his party coincided with Turei,s revelations and he is leaving an almost doubling of his potential vote on the table. If she does a deal with Winston this girly man with zero negotiating tactics has just blown any chance of getting anything, Jacinda will take credit for any green initiatives and end the Green party forever if she wins.

  9. David

     /  September 25, 2017

    If there was a vote for change, Labour would be the government. That’s kind of how the system works.

    • Blazer

       /  September 25, 2017

      well National are not confirmed as the Govt,don’t you understand MMP?

      • David

         /  September 25, 2017

        Correct. In a few weeks we will know if there was a vote for change or not.