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Geddis: Is someone trying to game the MMP review?

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, August 24th, 2012 - 31 comments
Categories: MMP - Tags: , , ,

The excellent Andrew Geddis at Pundit has an interesting post up this morning. You should head on over there and check it out. Here are a couple of extracts to get you started…

The Electoral Commission is in the midst of its second round of consultation on how to reform MMP. In recent days, it seems to be getting an oddly uniform message. …

For the first few days after the Commission’s report came out, there’s a pretty wide mix of views coming through. There’s a fair bit of support for what the Commission is saying. But there’s also some people who think it has got it wrong on one or more of the issues addressed, and tell it so. And there are a few folks who take off on odd tangents all of their own … but such is the beauty of asking the public what they think about anything.

However, over the last few days, the submissions have begun to take on a much more consistent message. They almost uniformly call for a retention of the “electorate lifeboat” rule and keeping the party vote threshold at 5%. And what is more, many of them do so in language that looks oddly familiar. …

Now, I have no conclusive evidence to prove that these similarities aren’t just a spontaneous outbreak of like-minded individuals who all believe the same thing for the same reasons and have chosen to express those beliefs in much the same way. But the alternative explanation is that there is an at least semi-organised attempt underway to impress a consistent message upon the Commission as it considers what its final recommendations to the Government should be. …

Go and read the whole post at Pundit.

31 comments on “Geddis: Is someone trying to game the MMP review?”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Replying here since I don’t want to create a ‘pundit account’ (whatever that is) to comment. This is a reply to one Andrew’s own comments in the comment thread.

    “The real impact will come in terms of pure numbers – so if (say) the Commission recommends to the Government that the “electorate lifeboat” exception be abolished, but also reports that (say) 55% of those commenting on its recommendations opposed this move, then that’s going to make it a lot easier to ignore what it says.”

    Indeed this is the problem. So I think rather than report such a number, they need to highlight the fact that ‘apparent form submissions’ were a certain percentage of all submissions. I believe many select committees do the same thing and then count them as a single submission.

    • Bunji 1.1

      I don’t think that’s good behaviour by select committees. Every response from a member of the public is valid and where thousands are combined to 1 because they come from an easy aggregating site, that’s denying the number with those views.

      You may not agree with them, they may have had it made easy to submit those views, but those are legitimate views of members of the public. The correct response to opposing views being made easy to submit is to submit yourself, and ideally make it easy for like-minded others to do so.

      So say you agree with the electorate lifeboat being removed. Ask for a lower threshold. And anything else you want, or just go with something short.

      It is in fact very easy to put a submission in. It only takes a minute, and we all should do it. I have.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        I’m not saying that they should be counted as one, and I agree it’s a poor thing to do.

        What I’m saying is that instead of only reporting a single number, they should report a number that excludes ‘form-like’ responses, and another number that includes them.

        • BernyD

          That’s a hard thing to do, and would only catch a few, many people might indeed do it without collusion of any kind.
          And how do you judge someones emotional state etc ?
          It’s all or nothing really.

  2. BernyD 2

    Surely its an invalid number as people who don’t comment or submit opinions should be a factor of the “Overall” submissions counted.

  3. DH 3

    Can see why he’s suspicious, odd grammar using the word elected & even odder that two unrelated people would use it in identical fashion …..

    First one….

    “…it is fair they receive the number of list seats the public have elected them to have.”

    Second one…

    “…it’s fair that they receive the number of list seats the public have elected them.”

    • BernyD 3.1

      True, it’s likely a “Highjack”, which is why in context it should be 1 opinion out of 3million

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        I recall filling in postcards on different issues and sending them to parliament as submissions. Not because I was paid, but because I agreed with the sentiment on the card and it expressed the issue better than I could.
        Provided the submitters are all genuine, I have no problem with someone advising supported on wording or ideal topics to cover. 

        • BernyD

          Exactly, and what is “Genuine”, a comment is a comment

          • McFlock

            I was thinking “genuine” as in “actually intended to post”, not just fraudulently going around the rest home or taking advantage of ESL speakers, or even paying people to send them off.

            • insider

              Like paying people to drum up signatures?

            • BernyD

              Our systems simply have to allow for that possibility, it’d be street level enforcement.

              And in a civilised world those are still valid opinions, no matter how they arrived at them

              • McFlock

                The payment thing is debatable. But conning people that they are actually signing something else is illegal, I believe.

      • Anne 3.1.2

        Of course its a highjack. I saw it in action in the 1990s. The right are clever and well organised when it comes to block submissions, referenda and voting. Their apostles are willing to be led by the hand and will do as they are told. See Epsom!

        It will be some kind of NAct off-shoot that is organising it, so that the NAct govt. can deny any involvement. Indeed, I have a good idea who the principle organiser might be… and no, I don’t mean Shirtcliffe.

  4. captain hook 4

    ipredict that if anyone is trying to game the MMP review then it will be ipredict.
    they are the ones that stand to make an immediate profit out of the democratic process.

  5. joe90 5

    I’m surprised anyone thought Shirtcliffe had gone away

  6. Kotahi Tāne Huna 6

    If this is a coordinated campaign it is hiding its internet presence rather well.

    In the original set of submissions, according to the Commission:

    Of the 2,347 submissions received on this issue that expressed a clear opinion, 77% recommended that the one electorate seat threshold be abolished. 17% said it should be retained and nearly 6% proposed that it be increased to two or more seats (a further 88 submissions commented on this issue without stating a clear preference).

    So any attempt to go back on the proposal to abolish will have to justify ignoring the 77% in favour of the right’s little coordinated tantrum.

  7. aerobubble 7

    The one seat rule will go, Key would look bad if he ignored the anger on the issue of a
    graveyard identity robber getting into parliament due to Espom. Key’s more interest
    in the short term, i.e one more term, and that makes the Conservatist party a runner.
    So Key would want the 5% lowered. And good by Dunne and whoever is the next
    ACT MP standing in Epsom (unlikely to be a guy who could not remember a helicopter
    ride to a mansion, hasn’t ACT had enough of tossers as ACT MP for Epsom???).

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Just put in a submission. I wasn’t going to because, overall, I agreed with the proposals and didn’t see any need to change them. From reading Andrew Geddis article it seems that he’s advising that people don’t fall into the same trap and to get in there and submit.

  9. georgecom 9

    As already stated, if you think the electoral commission got it right, put in a submission.

    If you fear the process being swamped by ACT/National trying to game the system, put in a submission.

    I put one in saying the commission had got it about right. Scrap the provision for electorate seats permitting party votes to be counted and lower the party vote threshold to 4%.

  10. Clashman 10

    Just put my submission in and said that in particular the “electorate lifeboat” should be abloished.
    Thats one of the pro lifeboat submissions negated.
    Come on everyone do your bit.

  11. Ianmac from Vietnam 11

    Yes. Do it. I was a bit diffident but put a submission in this morning via Andrew’s page on Pundit. Easy actually. Just now I read the last submission on each of 12 pages and really we are just ordinary people expressing an opinion with as few as 10 words and not as I feared a legalistic treatise. Go for it folks.

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