Election 2020: Richard Prebble – A wasted opportunity on cannabis


I never vote early. If your candidate is arrested you cannot get your vote back.

Those who early voted for Winston, The Opportunities Party, New Conservative and co have not just wasted their votes. The votes for parties that do not get 5 per cent are redistributed. In effect most of their votes will go to Labour.

In contrast those still able to vote can make a huge difference to the shape of parliament. The shift of a few votes between Labour and the Greens will decide the stability of the government.

The turnout in South Auckland will be critical to Labour’s majority. The lockdown was always going to be lifted last week so the Labour party’s turnout the vote operation can door knock this Saturday.

At 8 per cent Act will be the biggest third party. Parliament committee membership and speaking time is proportional. A few more votes and Act will have an MP on every select committee able to hold parliament to account.

It is the party vote that determines the total number of seats in parliament a party has but the candidate vote is important. National holding virtually all provincial seats has a significant organisational advantage. The swing means National will lose electorates but good constituency MPs will survive. Some seats will party vote for Jacinda Ardern but keep their National electorate MP.

If you have a row with a government department who would you like to represent you? Give that candidate your vote. It will not affect who is government.

This is why Todd McClay will win my electorate of Rotorua. Labour selects most of its electoral candidates from its list where membership of a faction, such as trade unions, matters more than whether the candidate can represent an electorate’s values. The poor quality of Labour’s electorate candidates will cost the party many constituency victories.

The End of Life Choice referendum will pass.

The cannabis referendum will fail but the Māori electorates will vote to legalise. This result will split Labour.

Māori are more likely to be arrested for possession. It is one of the reasons for the high rate of Māori imprisonment. On Saturday the Māori Party will be competitive in the Māori seats. If the Māori MPs do not deliver decriminalisation next time Labour could lose Māori electorates.

The referendum will not make prohibition enforceable.

The referendum result could have been different if the Prime Minister had shown some leadership.

Richard Prebble is a former Act Party leader.

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