web analytics
The Standard

ImperatorFish: Why we must have a four-year parliamentary term

Written By: - Date published: 12:40 pm, February 8th, 2013 - 12 comments
Categories: democratic participation - Tags:

Scott at Imperator Fish has kindly given us permission to syndicate posts from his blog – the original of this post is here.

Let me put the debate to rest once and for all. Here are four compelling reasons.

Elections slow down decision-making and they tend to have a negative impact on the economy. 

So said John Key, our wise leader. And it’s a fact that countries that have four or five year parliamentary terms have better-performing economies. Like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

A system where the next election is never far away promotes short term thinking, where politicians are focused on doing what is popular rather than what is best for the country.

So just imagine how good our system would be if we did away with proper elections altogether. We could be the North Korea of the South Pacific. Our politicians could then get on with focusing on the important things, like improving our missile technologies, holding huge military parades, and developing a more nutritious grade of grass for our people to eat.

A four-year term would improve the behaviour of our politicians.

I’m a big fan of the UK parliamentary system. They have elections every five years, and their politicians are much better behaved than ours, as demonstrated by the impeccable behaviour of the Blair, Brown and Cameron administrations.

British MPs don’t allow themselves to get distracted by petty disputes. They just get on with the job. Who has time for such sordid squabbles when there’s a moat to be cleaned?

Longer electoral terms promote stability and allow governments to get things done.

Exactly! I often wonder what the Labour government of the 1980s might have been able to achieve if they had been given eight years to do their work, instead of six.

Our government certainly wouldn’t now be flogging off all our precious SOEs, would it? No, they’d have been sold for pennies years ago.

12 comments on “ImperatorFish: Why we must have a four-year parliamentary term”

  1. geoff 1

    Only allow 4 year terms IF the population can throw out a highly unpopular government before their term is up.

  2. Tiresias 2

    As we’re here duplicating an earlier posting I’m here duplicating part of my earlier response:

    Why do we even have General Elections? They bring the country to a standstill for months, saturate us with political snake-speak and baby-kissing but mean the politicians can ignore us all the rest of the time. And they often result in major policy shifts that are only just working themselves out when it all changes again.

    Let’s not forget that General Elections go back to the time when Parliament existed just to ‘advise’ the sovereign. The worthy burghers of a town or landowners in a rural area might elect one of their number to represent them but only the Crown could dismiss them, and then only by peroguing Parliament as a whole which meant the whole lot had to be re-elected in one hit.

    Why not divide the country into, say, 20 constituences each with 5 MPs one of which has to stand for election on a five-year cycle, so that every year there are 20 elections covering one-fifth of Parliament. Go even further and say that’s five ‘by-elections’ a quarter.

    Big constituencies mean the end of ‘safe-seats’, and with, say, STV would (in my hope) give smaller parties and even charismatic independents a fair chance.

    What’s not to like? MPs get a guaranteed five-years on the job but every three months a fifth of the electorate get to have their say on four of them – and on how they perceive the Government doing. A Government winning popular support for what they are doing – and how they are doing it – might steadily increase its majority over an unpopular or ineffective opposition. An unpopular Government will see its majority slipping away and know it has to make changes.

    It would certainly do away with the present “we’ll unveil our policy on x just before the next election’ evasive crap from the opposition. Also with the slamming through of unpopular legislation in the first couple of sessions of a Parliament in the expectation the public will have forgotten all about it when the next election comes around. Government and opposition will be constantly accountable.

    • Rich 2.1

      One person’s ‘charismatic independent’ is another’s ‘friggin loonie’.

      Look at Lhaws, Banks and Parker for the type of people an election system that encourages independent candidates throws up. Still, at least a system that elected ‘charismatic independents’ for five year terms would result in numerous by-elections as they got convicted, sent for compulsory treatment or otherwise forced to resign before their term was up.

      • Tiresias 2.1.1

        Agreed. On the other hand with only 20 Constituencies, each one would be six times the size of our current ones, with 150,000 voters. That’s a lot of people to fool, even for some of the time.

        You could have only one seat per Constituency coming up each time on a FPP basis = one election per Constituency per year, or all five coming up together with STV sorting out a bucket-load of candidates.

        And I think we could do with a few friggin’ loonies in Parliament speaking truth to Power like the licenced fools of old.

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    We have a parliamentary dictatorship.

    We have no checks and balances. No second house. Thanks to this National government one third of us have no local government (Auckland and Christchurch).

    Imperator Fish, if you don’t like elections, don’t participate. Ignore the campaigns. Go fishing.

    Argument #1 – “Elections have a negative impact on the economy.” Prove it!

    Argument #2 – This government is certainly not troubled by wanting to be popular. Given a 10 year term they would NOT do “what is best for the economy,” unless making richer people vastly richer is your idea of a good economy.

    Argument #3 above is moronic. You cannot show any causal relationship between length of term and behavior. You might just as well blame our MPs’ behavior on the ozone hole or Sky TV’s monopoly polluting on our brains. Personally, I would attribute it to inflated egos and too much booze, but I can’t prove that.

    Argument #4 – The damage they do in 3 years is bad enough. Don’t give them extra time to use their unbridled power to wreck our society and economy.

    What’s wrong with binding veto referendums?

    When parliament passes a bill we have 3 months to collect 25,000 signatures to force a binding referendum. If the referendum rejects the bill, it does not become law. The MPs recourse is to re-write the bill to be less objectionable to the people. We would get much more carefully crafted legislation. No MP wants to work hard to pass a bill only to have the voters bin it.

  4. Murray Olsen 4

    The inability of some people on the “left” to recognise satire really worries me. It may even be one of the main characteristics which make it difficult to convince people to join us. If I want humourless people to discuss with, I’ll find a Mormon, thank you very much.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      Thanks Murray. The problem is the level of political discussion is sometimes so pathetic one can’t tell what is satire and what is not.

      The Right Honorable John Key says elections have a negative impact on the economy. The MSM have all parroted his statement as if it is gospel. None of them have challenged him to prove it.

      I guess every Kiwi with a brain has taken their PhD and gone to Brisbane.

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.1

        I would have recognised that as satire long before I thought about doing a PhD, or working in Brisbane. I also recognise snarky comments when I see them, thank you very much.
        I do, however, think many left wing activists have a real problem in how they connect with people. We are unlikely to convince anyone that a better world is possible by boring them to death.

    • Green Viper 4.2

      Amen Murray..

      • Anne 4.2.1

        I always link to the Fish. There’s an ambiance to his blog-site that kind of gives away the satirical nature of his posts. And they’re easier to read. Apart from that the big clue was in the answer to the first reason!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    4 hours ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    3 days ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    4 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    4 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    4 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    4 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    5 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    5 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    7 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere