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Minor party struggles

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Last updated 11:51, September 14 2017

Marama Fox is one of the election campaign's real stars, charismatic and a hugely effective communicator of the Māori Party Kaupapa.

OPINION: In the last four First-Past-the-Post (FPP) elections before the first Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) one, in 1996, National and Labour attracted on average 80.88 per cent of the vote between them. Since the advent of MMP, however, the pair have averaged 71.36 per cent of the combined vote, nearly 10 points fewer.

In only one election, 2005, has the 80 per cent threshold been breached, although 2008 was also close.

In 2005, centre-left voters maximised their voting power as well as any amorphous group of individuals can when unconsciously coalescing together. They made sure the Greens were returned to parliament, but only just, with them winning 5.3 per cent to break the threshold.

These same voters then gave the Helen Clark-led Labour Party 41.10 per cent of the party vote, 2 per cent more than the Don Brash-led National, giving Clark crucial bargaining advantages which, after a few post-election twists and turns, she used to stitch together a minority government with Jim Anderton, enhanced by supply and confidence arrangements with Winston Peters and Peter Dunne and an eventual side-bar deal with the Greens.........

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