Rob Salmond at Polity approves of the Internet Party’s stand on electoral reform. Especially because he was mentioned in it
Who do we want to petition?
The NZ House of Representatives.
What do we want them to do?
We want Parliament to take action to make changes to MMP. The Electoral Act should be changed to give all party votes equal value. Parliament should lower the Party Vote threshold (from the current 5%), and remove the one-seat threshold (the coat-tails rule).
Why is this important?
The most important feature of a democratic electoral system is that everyone’s vote counts equally. MMP was a big improvement on First Past the Post – but some of its features still mean that some votes count more than others.
In the 2011 MMP referendum New Zealanders voted to keep MMP but to make it better. This lead to an Electoral Commission review of some of the details of MMP, including the Party Vote threshold and the one-seat threshold (the so-called coat-tails rule).
Currently your Party vote only counts if your Party either wins 5% of the vote or wins an electorate seat. Since MMP was introduced every new Party in Parliament has been a break-away from an existing Parliamentary Party.
Your Party Vote is your most important vote as it decides the make-up of Parliament. Under the current rules over 100,000 Party Votes can be wasted unless a party wins an electorate seat.
The Electoral Commission has said that the 5% Party Vote threshold is too high and it should be lowered. They recommended an initial change to a 4% threshold but also said that a 3% threshold would not create problems for Parliamentary stability. The Commission recommended lowering the threshold at the same time as abolishing the one-seat threshold. Research by Political Science Professor Rob Salmond presented to the Electoral Commission review showed that claims that low thresholds cause unstable parliaments are a myth and are not supported by the evidence from around the world. He recommended a threshold of no more than 2%.
National did not consult on the outcome of the MMP review.
The Internet Party has launched this petition with the MANA Movement because we believe that Party Votes should have equal value, whether or not a party wins an electorate seat.
Do you agree?
Please add your name to the petition!
Further information on the Electoral Commission report here.
I agree with the sentiment here – New Zealand’s democracy would better if we had a lower threshold and no coat-tailing shenanigans. As I posted last week, even without coat-tailing there remains the potential for blocs to make tiny gains by way of electorate deals, but it would ensure the end of manifest unfairnesses like the relative ACT / NZ First results in 2008. And it is always nice to get a shout out!
The reality is that National had the opportunity to do the right thing, with public consultation strongly endorsing a lower threshold and no coat-tailing. They chose not to for venal self-interested reasons, and are now crying when spoiled brats when their opponents show they can play to use those rules, too. It is great to see the Internat Party confirming that any deals on the left – if successful – will not be repeated.
Go to the IP’s petition signing page here, where you can sign, and also share on social.