How MMP Works in Epsom

At several elections (2008, 2011, and 2014), strategic Epsom voters have decided the election by electing an ACT candidate. Polls indicate we’ll be well placed to do it again in a tight 2023 election. 

Like many people, I didn’t vote for MMP. I can even prove this, by the fact I was in Year 5 at the time of the first referendum. No matter what we may think of MMP, it’s the electoral system we have and there is no foreseeable prospect of it changing.

So, what to make of this situation? In Epsom, we’ve used our two votes strategically to get the result we want in five elections since 2005.

The two votes are your Party Vote and your Electorate Vote. Naturally, as ACT Leader, I’d encourage you to give your Party Vote to ACT. However, it’s your Electorate Vote that counts strategically in the Epsom Electorate.

Most electorates elect only one MP. By voting for an ACT candidate with the Electorate Vote, Epsom has effectively elected 15 MPs in five elections. How is this possible?

Electorate Vote David Seymour = David Seymour + National Candidate (as a list MP) + 2 more ACT List MPs in Parliament

Electorate National Candidate = National Candidate in Parliament

Over time this has meant that in the five elections since 2005:

  • An ACT MP has been elected by the Epsom Electorate five times
  • The National candidate for Epsom has been returned as a list MP five times
  • ACT has brought in five further list MPs thanks to the so-called ‘coat-tail rule.’

Alternatively, had Epsom voters not strategically elected ACT Candidates:

  • The National candidate would have been the MP for Epsom five times.

All other things being equal, the 2008, 2011, and 2014 elections would have returned a Labour-led Government.

By intelligent use of the Electorate Vote, the Epsom electorate has wielded disproportionate influence on makeup of Parliament. The sometimes-septic criticisms of this strategy can be seen as confirmation of its effectiveness!

One more thing. No matter how compelling the electoral calculus may be, I’ve never stood for Epsom on the basis of strategy alone. I also love representing our community and am proud to serve. Please check out how I can help you and what I believe.