web analytics

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

  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    19 hours ago
  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    19 hours ago
  • Minister must ensure 111 issue is fixed
    The Police Minister must ensure the 111 fault is fixed as an urgent priority as a 40 minute wait can be the difference between life and death, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. “The Police have said the fault lies… ...
    24 hours ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 day ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 day ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    1 day ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    1 day ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits Zaatari refugee camp
    Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, has visited the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world, Zaatari in Jordan, a day after seeing New Zealand troops at Camp Taji in Iraq. Mr Little spent several hours in the camp, meeting… ...
    3 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    4 days ago
  • OIO must explain Argentine pollution prosecutions
    The Overseas Investment Office (OIO)has questions to answer about how it safeguarded our sensitive land by allowing foreign investors with criminal prosecutions to purchase Onetai Station in Taranaki, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe.   “Rafael and Federico Grozovsky… ...
    4 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    4 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    4 days ago
  • Murray McCully needs to come clean over Tokelau ferry debacle
    Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to come clean on why a New Zealand aid-funded vessel intended to service the Tokelau Islands is delayed, over budget and failed its sea trials, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The new ship… ...
    4 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits NZ troops in Iraq and refugees in Jordan
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has visited New Zealand troops at Camp Taji, Iraq. Mr Little also met with Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obedih and senior military officials from the Coalition forces in Iraq. He now heads to Jordan to see… ...
    5 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    5 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister must come clean on implications of landmark settlement
    Gerry Brownlee has urgent and serious questions to answer in the wake of today’s landmark EQC settlement, which potentially has major implications for thousands of Cantabrians, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. ...
    5 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    5 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    5 days ago
  • Dam not out of doldrums yet
    Ruataniwha Dam promoters Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) still has hurdles to clear and a lot of work to do before ratepayers and taxpayers will have confidence in the scheme, says Labour’s MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.“We need sustainable… ...
    5 days ago
  • New study shows Smith’s insulation fails Kiwi kids
    A new Otago University study shows Nick Smith’s inadequate insulation standards will see hundreds of children unnecessarily hospitalised for housing-related illnesses every year, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    6 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    6 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government to Reserve Bank – Rock or Hard Place?
    The Government’s complacency on the housing crisis and the economy has put the Reserve Bank Governor in a no-win position as he contemplates the OCR tomorrow, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler is stuck between a rock and… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government to Reserve Bank – Rock or Hard Place?
    The Government’s complacency on the housing crisis and the economy has put the Reserve Bank Governor in a no-win position as he contemplates the OCR tomorrow, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler is stuck between a rock and… ...
    6 days ago
  • John Key’s land tax could push up rents
    A land tax proposed by John Key as the answer to the housing crisis could push up rents and risks having no effect on skyrocketing prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Government needs to explain why the thousands… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government should ban foreign speculators
    The Prime Minister’s musings about a land tax on non-resident buyers is just more tinkering, and the Government should just ban foreign speculators as the Australian Government has done, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This is classic John Key.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must protect Pharmac as promised
    John Key must tell New Zealanders that he will not bow to pressure from wealthy drug companies or their US negotiators and put Kiwi lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.   “News reports today have the drug… ...
    1 week ago
  • Action not words, needed on housing speculation
    John Key should be taking action to crack down on speculation in our overheated housing market, instead of random musings on land tax, Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said.  "John Key suggested today on TVNZ's Q and A programme that… ...
    1 week ago
  • Tertiary education cost rising 7x faster than inflation
    New figures show the cost of tertiary education is rising seven times faster than inflation, putting post-school education out of the reach of many, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.  “Figures release this week show how much more students or their… ...
    1 week ago
  • Buying Lotto is not an arts funding strategy
    The Government must rethink the way the arts are funded after falling Lotto sales has left the sector with declining resources and increasingly vulnerable, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.  “Our arts sector is in a sorry… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere