Sunday, December 11, 2011

What would happen if there was a by-election in Epsom and National won?

Let's say, for some reason, John Banks was unable to serve a full term as MP for Epsom. A by-election is held and a National candidate, rather than an ACT candidate wins.

According to my calculations at (and using these results) this creates a Parliament of 121 seats, and the following blocs of parties:

National + United = 60
Green + Labour + Mana = 50
Maori = 3
New Zealand First = 8

That immediately creates some exciting options for coalitions and re-negotiation of confidence and supply agreements.

It would also take rhetorically take off the table everything that National and ACT agreed to in their confidence and supply agreement.

Is that right? Am I missing anything in my workings-out?

EDITED TO ADD: Graeme Edgeler posts about an even more intricate version of this type of scenario, here. Extrapolating from his post, it seems that ACT would not disappear from Parliament after this result:
[A] policy decision was taken that finality was more important than proportionality, and the possibility that an election petition (or by-election) could change multiple seats (e.g. by removing a party from Parliament because it no longer passed the one seat threshold) months after an election was thought to be the greater evil.


Michael Sands said...

As I recall, the party list allowances are not recalculated due to a by-election.

Steve Hickey said...

Did I cover that by keeping National's allocation of MPs at 59, or do you mean something else?

I was imagining the total number of MPs stays the same, with one list MP dropping off as the new electorate MP comes in.

Steve Hickey said...

Oh, wait. I see what you mean: that even under this scenario, ACT would still have 1 MP in Parliament (presumably their #2: ... Catherine Isaac?).

Steve Hickey said...

Just checked

According to that site:

"A by-election result can change the proportionality of Parliament that was determined at the preceding general election (for example, if a by-election is won by a candidate representing a different party from that of the member who vacated his or her seat)."

Karen said...

So National would lose a list MP, and since ACT's seat is based on their holding Epsom, they would be out.

I think this is why Key still signed a deal with the Maori party though he doesn't currently need them... He is presumably hoping they'll honour it if something like this happens.