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Polity: Internet Party: “Ban coat-tailing.”

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, June 16th, 2014 - 26 comments
Categories: electoral systems, internet party, MMP, national, same old national - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnRob Salmond at Polity approves of the Internet Party’s stand on electoral reform. Especially because he was mentioned in it :)

Here is an Internet Party initiative I thoroughly approve of (Also on TV3):

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.

26 comments on “Polity: Internet Party: “Ban coat-tailing.””

  1. ianmac 1

    Actioned petition.
    Someone said (Harre?) that it could be done before the end of this term. Can’t see National agreeing to that though but Labour and Greens would.

  2. Populuxe1 2

    Pulling the ladder up more like. And I thought National was cynical…

    • tracey 2.1

      i guess if you support coat tailing on current basis you dont vote for imp.

    • Gareth 2.2

      But the ladder that they want to pull up (i.e. coattailing) is dodgey anyway, and they’re going to replace it with a better one (i.e. a lower threshold) that everyone can safely use. Sounds like they’re doing the world a favour if you ask me.

  3. bad12 3

    Lolz, as usual with Internet Party stuff my browser wont let me onto the site of this petition, i would tho only sign such a petition if it were to also be demanding the lowering of the party vote thresh-hold to at least 2%,

    My preference is for 1% as to me that is a far more meaningful counting of everyone’s party votes and as far as an unstable Parliament goes, Pffft, the politicians will just have to get better at managing different blocs of people who for now are directly shut out of being represented…

    • ianmac 3.1

      The petition wants the threshold lowered but leaves it open for at what figure. Fair enough. That needs debate.

  4. ianmac 4

    Funny how the blame for not addressing the need to can coat-tailing or lowering the threshold has escaped the National Party or Judith Collins in particular.

  5. Papa Tuanuku 5

    I cringe when i think of the possibility of labour and or the greens helping to get act or dunne back in in ohariu and epsom. so they stand by their principles and stand in the seats, which looses the election for the left. Their principles will not be of any use to people on struggle street who need relief.

    There needs to be a message from green and labour that, as a left win this year is critical for all of us, they will stand down julie ann or gareth or the labour guy in ohariu and epsom. sort it out labour and greens, don’t lose the election for all of us.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      I think if National outright endorses Act or UF, there’s a good chance Labour could formally pull their candidates and tell everyone to vote for National’s candidates instead. A scorched earth strategy if you will.

  6. aerobubble 6

    Labour isn’t serious about getting elected when it doesn’t poison the well in Epsom.

    Simply by not standing a candidate, and the Greens standing say Julie Anne Genter,
    who runs personally on no change to height restrictions, and so…

    …if she were to win, not only would ACT voters hedge the possibility of a Lab-Green
    government releasing the potential of Epsom to grow upwards, but remove the nonsense
    that gets the National vote out.

    Whose the stupid idiot who thinks that in a National dominated electorate who believes
    that asking Labour voters to vote National won’t incentivize even more National
    voters to vote ACT. shakes head.

    Having one single candidate from the left yet in the center with a few favorable
    personal opinions to Espom voters leaves fed up National and ACT voters with
    an Alternative. And hey, it only a once off, it’ll go National next time and the ACT
    party will be history.

    • aerobubble 6.1

      And all Cunliffe needs to do is not stand a candidate until National stop gaming the system in Epsom.

    • tracey 6.2

      look at the numbers. Labour and green together cannot defeat the right bloc to get a left win in epsom. ALL green and labour have to swallow their pride and vote for joe 90.

      The right protest votein epsom is to abandon ACT and vote nats or the otherway round. They dont protest to the left.

      • aerobubble 6.2.1

        I disagree. Once when living in Central London a Tory get the vote out person came around thinking we would vote Tory. People are motivated to vote ACT when the left says vote National.
        You just can’t ignore that National voters will switch to ACT.

        So, you say, quite defeatistly, that the Lab+Greens don’t have the numbers. I suggest to you its not about the numbers, its about the fear that they might just get a backlash by National and former ACT voters fed up with the gaming of the system.

        Add in the incentive, that the Greens will protect their housing height regulation, and note that the Greens won’t be able to do it twice, as National won’t risk losing Epsom again.

        And its, sure, a punt, but its a strong strategic punt, not the weak limpy telling Labour voters to vote National. What a disgrace!

        • tracey 6.2.1.1

          it is not a strong strategic punt at all. Look at the polls. Where is the evidence of such widespread discontent with national amongst national voters they will vote for green party? In epsom.

          Have you even looked at the numbers for this electorate for the last thirty years?

          At this point a vote for nationals candidate is the strong strategic punt to kill off ACT?

          • aerobubble 6.2.1.1.1

            Asking Labour voters to split and vote National is defeatest.

            Asking moderate National supporters fed up with ACT, and Labour supporters to rally and vote Greens ONCE because National would never risk it again if successful, is not weak, it says Labour are willing to play hard.

            Asking their base to vote National, now that’s weak.

            All it takes for ACT to die the party death is for all the fed up Epsom voters to kick them out, and the only way is via a third party. Sure, it doesn’t have to be a Green, it could be a independent but then there is a threat that they become the new ‘ACT’ of National.

    • Lanthanide 6.3

      Sorry, but average National voter who thinks the Greens are going to destroy the economy (and honestly believes that the last Labour government “left the country bankrupt”), will not electorate vote a Green MP if Labour pull out of that electorate.

      That’s really quite delusional.

      • aerobubble 6.3.1

        Sure we could just target the dumb National vote.

        I know why don’t we speak to the smart National vote.

        I wonder how.

        Oh, yeah, by pointing out how powerful ACT is.

        ACT policy gets a seat every weak on the panels of both The Nation and Q&A.

        Its nonsense is really spouted out by Hooten.

        Its clear we heat homes with windmills, that solar heating and power are increasing,
        that Auckland needs to build up, these are all sensible economic policies and all
        in one way or another don’t get ACT support.

        So I ask you, why is it hard to talk to moderate National voters who are fed up with
        the drip feed of ultra orthodox faith based economics from neo-liberal ACT.

        Give them the choice to finally shutdown ACT.

        Grows some balls, its not like Epsom will ever go Green or Labour, and voting National
        hasn’t worked. So why try the same thing seeking a different result.

        Its a win win. Its works or either learn it doesn’t but we shock the Naitonal party into not risking Epsom again. Because that’s what a close run vote would do.

        i.e. turn around the negativism.

  7. NZJester 7

    I do hope the stories are true that Labour and the Greens might be encouraging left leaning Epsom voters to give their electorate vote to National but their party vote for the Left to try and screw up Nationals so far successful gaming of the current system. The NZ Herald posted the story “Labour gets tactical with Epsom” with the time stamp of “5:00 AM Monday Jun 16, 2014”.
    Act leader Jamie Whyte’s comments about Labour being sanctimonious if they do try and do it, make him look way more sanctimonious than Labour would ever be if they did end up going the tactical vote way with the greens. They should try and freeze out the ACT party as another Epsom win for ACT would end up taking a seat that otherwise would very likely go to one of the left leaning parties list MPs if they do fail to hold the seat. If National ends up with Epsom it will be one less list seat they can claim off of the left.

  8. Lefty 8

    We seem to be trapped into a permanent cycle of being urged to vote tactically rather than for the party we want.

    Earnest commentators and political smartarses keep trying to push us to vote for either a Labour led government or a National led government and telling us that it foolish, even immoral to put our beliefs and principals first.

    This is not really giving us any more choice than we had under FPP.

    I could not bring myself to vote for either the right wing Labour Party or the even further right National Party before MMP was introduced and I am fucked if I am going to be bullied into making a “strategic choice’ in favour of either of them now.

    I have worked with the poorest people in the country for many years and know neither Labour nor National gives a shit about them and getting rid of National will only marginally change anything for those at the bottom of the heap.

    Those of us who didn’t like National or Labour before MMP voted for other parties even though we knew they wouldn’t get in.

    And we campaigned for MMP.

    Right now we should be doing the same thing. That is voting for who we think is best and campaigning to lower the threshold and eliminate coat tailing.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      If you happen to live in the Epsom electorate, do us all across the country a big favour to get rid of ACT, vote GOLDSMITH for MP.

      We seem to be trapped into a permanent cycle of being urged to vote tactically rather than for the party we want.

      You can still vote for the party you want using your Party Vote. That’s what it is there for.

  9. blue leopard 9

    This is a good thing that the Internet Party is doing.
    The whole framing of IMP gaming the system gets undermined by this move too.
    Very savvy
    Well done IP

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      “The whole framing of IMP gaming the system gets undermined by this move too.”

      Yes, but it then opens them up to claims of hypocrisy. Personally I don’t see it – I think the argument in favour of being principled (“we’re going to repeal a law that we personally benefit from”) is stronger than the one casting them as hypocrites.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        You simply say: we’re playing by the current rules of the game. And we’re going to do that until the next patch comes out 😀

        • dave brown 9.1.1.1

          What is missing from the IMP petition is the a failure to stand firmly on the logic of proportional representation.
          The coat tailing would not exist if there was no threshold.
          If each party is to be equal that means each voter must be equal and not have his/her vote lost.
          The threshold needs to be removed, end of story.

  10. hoom 10

    I support a low threshold.

    If its low enough then you don’t need coat-tail.
    Coat-tail must stay until threshold is reduced & 4% is still much too high.

    Bizzarely my Labour supporting family member was complaining about the undemocratic nature of MMP coalitions on the weekend & angry about coat-tailing :-/
    Seriously he thought that FPP was more democratic O.o

    I pointed out that the new Indian PM got only 30something% of the national vote but because its FPP has an absolute majority of seats & can do anything they want, this being a typical FPP outcome & very undemocratic.

    An MMP coalition will (nearly) always represent the desire of an actual over 50% majority of the population, negotiation/compromise on policies is required & is intended.

    Meanwhile the 5% threshold &/or absence of coat-tail disenfranchises population blocks up to 5% (over 100k people) by denying them their proportion of representation.

    Not convinced he properly registered the reasoning :-/

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