Democracy NZ style – the weirdest system.

Posted By on December 3, 2017

If you were asked to explain democracy,  like me, you’d probably describe it as:
Democracy is a system where the people vote for a government, from a selection of contenders and the one with the most votes, wins.”
At least that’s what we were taught. Right?

However, consider the case of New Zealand:

On the 22nd of September 2017, New Zealand held a general election. There are two major parties in New Zealand;

  • National (conservatives who favour commerce) and
  • Labour (liberals who are more socially orientated).

There are also a smattering of minor parties with various interests. So far it’s a typical democratic system but here’s where it becomes weird:

The votes came in and both the major parties did not get enough votes to form a government on their own. This means, to form a government, they have to for a coalition with one or more of the minor parties.

So we have a system where the real power is no longer with the party that got the most votes. It’s actually with the parties that got the least votes!

To complicate it further, only one of those minor parties won enough votes to make up the difference to send either of the major parties into government – The NZ First Party, lead by Winston Peters.

So we now have a system where the two major parties, who won the election, are held to ransom by a party who lost the election. Winston Peters and his NZ First Party are calling the shots. The first party to agree to his terms wins government.

To put it another way, democracy (New Zealand style) is where the party who didn’t win the election is forms the government and has the most say.

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