Why National is likely to gain an extra MP
Following the death of Act candidate Neil Christensen, a byelection will be held. There will be at least 121 MPs in parliament for the next term and the extra seat will almost certainly be National's
Mōrena, and welcome to The Bulletin for Tuesday, October 10 by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: Israeli prime minister says retaliation has only just begun with reports of a ‘near constant sound of explosions’ coming from Gaza; Scott Base rebuild project on hold; a symphony for chickens; but first, the electoral quirk that will almost certainly deliver National an extra MP
A byelection in Port Waikato
Following the death of Act’s Port Waikato candidate Neil Christensen, a byelection will need to be held in the seat. The resulting domino effect will mean parliament has at least 121 MPs at the next term, and in all likelihood, National will gain an additional MP. As Stewart Sowman-Lund explains, the unexpected death of Christensen has triggered section 153A of New Zealand’s Electoral Act, and residents in Port Waikato will be heading back to the polls after this weekend’s election for a byelection. In a statement on Monday afternoon, the Act party said it was in mourning for Christensen, who was also New Zealand's only registered specialist poultry veterinarian. “I wish to pay tribute to Neil, who was an infectiously charismatic and fascinating man," David Seymour said.
Party vote in Port Waikato still counts
The Electoral Commission has been quick to stress that voters in Port Waikato should still vote as their party vote still counts, but voting for the local candidate in Port Waikato will be suspended, and any electorate votes already cast during the advance voting period will be nullified. A byelection will take place at a later date set by prime minister Chris Hipkins in consultation with other party leaders once he has considered information provided by the Electoral Commission.
Why another MP and why it will likely mean another MP for National
As constitutional expert Andrew Geddis explains, “The Electoral Commission must allocate a total of 120 seats amongst parties that cross the representation threshold after the general election (less any seats won by an independent candidate).” “The by-election in Port Waikato will then return an additional MP,” he says. The Electoral Commission has since confirmed this. As the Herald’s Claire Trevett writes, the extra seat created by the need to ensure 120 seats are allocated after the election will almost certainly be National’s. Port Waikato is a safe National seat held by Andrew Bayly. The prediction is that Bayly would win the byelection, and as he’s high enough on the list to get in as a list MP on election night, another National list candidate will gain a seat.
We could also be looking at a 122 or 123-seat parliament
For another round of electoral calculus, Trevett raises a scenario that depends on what happens with Te Pāti Māori. If Te Pāti Māori gets more electorate MPs than its party vote would qualify it for, it could result in a 122 or 123 MP parliament – and that would mean 62 seats were needed to get a majority rather than 61. So far, the only poll that points to an electorate seat win for Te Pāti Māori is the Whaakata Māori/Curia poll released last night that shows Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi comfortably ahead in Waiariki, but there are some close races based on previous Whaakata Māori/Curia polling to date and there’s more polling to come.
Finally, here are the last of the tent pole events this week:
Tonight: The Press debate featuring the minor party leaders starts at 7pm tonight
Wednesday: Last 1News Verian poll before election day
Thursday: 1News leaders’ debate
Israel announces total blockade of Gaza Strip, reports of heavy bombing in Gaza
It’s Monday evening in Gaza and CNN is reporting that the Gaza Strip appears to be under heavy bombardment. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that it had attacked 130 Hamas targets in Gaza with airstrikes. Following the largest attack by Hamas against Israel in decades, where 1,300 people, including more than 800 Israelis and some 500 Palestinians, have now been reported dead, AFP is reporting that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told visiting officials from southern Israel, that “what Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible” and that “this is only the beginning... we are all with you and we will defeat them with force, enormous force”. Al Jeezera is reporting that Israel has announced a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, with the Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant issuing a video statement saying, “We are putting a complete siege on Gaza… No electricity, no food, no water, no gas – it’s all closed,” he said.
Peter Bale explains why the new conflict in Gaza is part of a much bigger power struggle with a long, complex history
The disaster that befell Israel is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu - editorial from Israeli newspaper, Haaretz
This will be a pyrrhic victory for Hamas - Natan Sachs in The Atlantic
Interviews with 13 survivors and witnesses of the violence in Israel on Saturday
“Bombs are falling all around us” - civilian reports from Gaza
Scott Base rebuild project on hold
In The Press this morning, Andrea Vance reports that the project to rebuild Scott Base, New Zealand's only Antarctic research station, has been put on hold. Antarctica NZ’s chief executive Sarah Williamson confirmed that the agency has not been able, “at this stage, to reach an agreement on commercial terms” with Leighs Construction, the preferred contractor for the redevelopment, and the project is now under review. As Vance writes, building was due to start this summer season, and the delay cuts that window roughly in half. In November last year, Vance reported on rumours that the costs of rebuilding the facility had grown to more than $500m and that the science community was wrestling with whether the expense was justified.
In the aftermath of an underwhelming Better Public Media NZ debate, in which half the parties didn’t show, Duncan Greive goes solo on The Fold to vent his frustrations on the current state of political engagement with media in New Zealand, and why the underlying issues matter in what (he self-interestedly thinks) are pretty profound ways.
Click and Collect
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra puts on a show for chickens, debuting Chook Symphony No 1, for a flock in Hawkes’ Bay
The best way to cut a custard square and it’s from an Australian bakery 😱
Click and Elect
Labour releases a re-write of their fiscal plan — in National Party colours —claiming it would need much bigger cuts than advertised.
Good series from Emma Hatton at Newsroom on law and order, the last of which is a discussion with a former judge and clinical psychologist about sentencing, rights of victims and rehabilitation policies
Is Christchurch being ignored?
The parties’ welfare, equity and representation policies outlined in two minutes
The parties’ wai and whenua policies in two minutes
How door knocking reunited Efeso Collins with a primary school crush
Toby Manhire takes a trip into the hive mind and reveals what we’re asking Google about New Zealand’s political leaders. Charlotte Muru-Lanning profiles Cushla Tangaere-Manuel, the former rugby CEO – and occasional nightclub covers crooner – hoping to wrestle Ikaroa-Rāwhiti from Meka Whaitiri. Stewart Sowman-Lund visits the Auckland set of last year’s breakout hit, Our Flag Means Death. Matt Bartlett writes that ChatGPT could transform politics, and not for the better. Sam Brooks rounds up what to watch on Netflix NZ, Neon and more this week.
Dylan Cleaver atrounds up all the sports news for which I, an election-shaped husk of my former self, am truly grateful. He looks at the upcoming All Blacks/Ireland Rugby World Cup quarter-final and has a sneaker wars update following the record-breaking marathon runs of late. Bonus Bathurst content after the Kiwi team of Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway won at Mt Panorama over the weekend, including this gem: “Taking low-key to its extremes, there was a very ‘New Zealand’ interview moment in the immediate aftermath, with Stanaway saying: I can’t describe the feeling right now, I couldn’t be happier,” while looking about as delighted as someone who has popped down to New World and discovered his favourite brand of granola was on special.”
The Black Caps beat the Netherlands by 99 runs at the Cricket World Cup
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