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Quick thoughts on MMP changes

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, August 14th, 2012 - 19 comments
Categories: MMP - Tags:

Lowering the threshold to 4% is a step in the right direction but why not go further? Getting rid of coattailing is negative in theory but in practice could stop anti-democratic gaming by major parties protecting tiny client parties. Abolishing overhangs is bad – it just increases disproportionality for parties with strong electorate support vs party support – ie the Maori Party.

19 comments on “Quick thoughts on MMP changes”

  1. KJT 1

    Why not go the whole hog and have a Swiss style Government by the people.

    Democracy. Not a rotating Dictatorship.

    Tinkering with MMP is just taking baby steps towards what the public want, if they had any say. Democracy.

    Any steps towards limiting our politicians dictatorial power, such as MMP, is obviously greeted favourably by an overwhelming majority.

    Or do you think only the politically favoured few should continue to dictate the future of all of us.

    Worked well so far, has it?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Direct democracy, just expect that the Tory voters will still be the most consistent in turn out, and their politics have the strongest media backing, so be careful what you wish for.

      • KJT 1.1.1

        As research shows that the population as a whole, in Western countries, are far more socialist than their Governments. I am not too worried.

        I’ve seen a research paper done in NZ which asked for opinions on various policies without specifying the parties they came from. Over 80% favoured Green policies.

        It has not been published. Surprise!

        That is why the RW, and political timeservers of all stripes, are so scared of democracy.

        • Sanctuary 1.1.1.1

          I am not sure I understand what you mean by “Swiss style” democracy. The oft-put right wing fantasy that Swiss direct democracy is simply the ability of a majority of radicialised and angry voters who bother to vote in a binding referendum to impose their views on the entire nation couldn’t be further from the truth. Is that what you are suggesting? Or do you suggest we divide New Zealand into, say, eight self governing “super” provinces each with its own constitution, parliament, government and courts? As in Switzerland, each province would be responsible for its own healthcare, welfare, law enforcement, education and taxation.

          We would also have an upper house of, say, 24 people (three elected from each province plus, say, three from a Maori roll) and a Federal parliament of 100 MPs elected under MMP with no Maori seats. That is a whole lot of politicians. Much more than we have now, imagine what Peter Shirtcliffe would make of that – the stupid old codger would probably have a heart attack – and much more granular. Imagine Len Brown as PM of the province of Auckland, able to raise taxes for his rail link, or Celia Wade-Brown imposing a carbon tax on industry in Wellington, or Sideshow Bob actually being in charge of the rebuild in Christchurch, or a referendum amongst the voters of Otago-Southland stopping/allowing both the Dunedin roofed stadium and the monorail through Fiordland National Park, or the Maori Party government in Waikato-BOP province setting up their own little Whanau Ora program..

          “Direct democracy” at a federal level would then require, say, a triple majority (i.e. the vote to be carried in the majority of provinces, the majority of Maori voters, and by a majority of all voters) to be carried. “Direct democracy” at the provincial level would then consist of a simple majority, of having to convince around 200-250,000 citizens to vote for (or against) a proposal. At that level, you couldn’t astro-turf a campaign. The community level is simply to intimate. So yeah, “direct democracy” by simple majority might work at that low a level.

          • KJT 1.1.1.1.1

            That is what I am trying to say.

            Swiss democracy has many things we would do well to emulate.

            Discussions are made at a local level. Their Government is more of an analogue to our local Government/councils than our present centralised dictatorship.

            If you include our present local Government as politicians we are not really adding to the number.

            The fact that decisions which are not in the best interests of voters may cause a referendum puts a brake on the type of hasty ill thought out legislation our Governments are prone to.

            In fact referendums do not occur often because politicians know they have to justify legislation with evidence, to convince voters to allow it.

            Because political decisions start at community level you are much more likely to have changes that are supported by those most affected.

            We know from business that the closer you keep decision making to the coal face, the more people involved and the more alternatives explored, the better the decision. Almost the opposite of what we do now.

            You may argue with some decisions made by the Swiss, but it is hard to argue with how successful their society is.

            Another advantage is if the RWNJ’s want a State with no social insurance, no taxes and no rules they can try it in one province without destroying the whole country. If they can get enough voters to support them.

            If the Maori party in Northland want to try their own Whanau-ora program, why not, if the Northland voters decide they want it.

  2. prism 2

    Another thing is to keep the number of pollies to reasonable size. Instead of going from 60 to a probable 76 why don’t we allow for more people per electorate as NZ grows. There may have to be a limit put on size of large electorates. We could have one MP covering most of the South Island which is unfair to the individual MP/MPs being very stretched and people who want face to face consultation having to go kms or resort to skype-type service.

    But just getting more pollies won’t give us better government or policies, and just be more out of our pockets. Even in private enterprise leaders don’t get noticeably pinged when they fail, and pollies will soak up all the money they are due and more with no betterment for their presence, rather the opposite.

    • mike e 2.1

      Democracy is democracy and what ever price we pay its better than the alternatives.
      We have the lowest representation per head per any small democracy.
      Peters is washed up idiot who is signing his own death warrant because its unlikely that he will get back in next time as their was a labour dissertion last time to NZfirst.

    • McFlock 2.2

      I reckon:
      1 MP per 30000 voters (or less) calculated by ElectionsNZ.
      1 list mp for every electorate MP. 
      Multiple parallel sessions of the House (needs tweaking), and every MP has to vote themselves, although they can lodge votes in advance or remotely.
      No proxy votes. Not even for members of the same party.
      Maybe stagger the elections – everyone gets a 3 year term, but in two or three overlapping cycles. 
      No opinion polls during the election campaign. 
         
      All crudely thought out, but I think in the right direction. 

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        “Maybe stagger the elections – everyone gets a 3 year term, but in two or three overlapping cycles.”

        Expensive, and in extreme cases could lead to governments changing every year, or the PM changing every year, with very schizophrenic results.

        The US has senators that have terms of 6 years, but there’s an election for some class of senators every 2 years, as we recently saw this went from a Democrat controlled senate to a Republican one, greatly reducing the effectiveness of Obama’s government. Another aspect of always having someone up for re-election each year is that there’ll always be some level of campaign going on.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          but there’s an election for some class of senators every 2 years, as we recently saw this went from a Democrat controlled senate to a Republican one, greatly reducing the effectiveness of Obama’s government.

          That’s actually the problem of dual house governments. If one set of politicians controls one house and another set the other then nothing much gets passed.

          • McFlock 2.2.1.1.1

            Or the objective – stability in democracy, not revolution.
                       
            Part of the issue in the states is their funding control, or lack thereof. Breeds panic. 
               
            Anyway, I’m not so sure how expensive it would be if juggled right – maybe do the electorate mps alongside the local body elections?
                 
            I wasn’t actually thinking bicameral, just that the house has more than one debate in each step of legislation, and members can’t just proxy their vote to the party – they need to vote specifically on each and every item.  

    • Oscar 2.3

      Lets just have 120 electorate seats and do away with the party vote.

      Now that’s true representation.

      Then the next step once people are used to only selecting the MP for their electorate… educating people on how to use STV.

      Then we will end up with a Parliament that is elected solely by the people. It certainly doesn’t stop parties from forming to try and take a bloc of seats.

      This then means that each electorate would be comprised of around 37500 people.

      Who has a credible argument against it?

  3. tracey 3

    No pete george defending his leader who despute reassuring us his objective in opposing wasnt self interest, smacked of self interest. Contrast with peters comments.

  4. Mikesh 4

    I don’t really see what “abolishing overhangs” entails. How would such an arrangement work?

  5. The Electoral Committee has well and truly stuffed the Nacts.
    There is no way that they can ever hold Government again, without say Winston, who with the Mana are the greatest recipients of this recommendation.
    Well done Peden – you deserve a medal.

    • tracey 5.1

      it hasnt been accepted yet.

    • chris73 5.2

      I dunno, the conservative religious nutter might get a few votes (maybe even in south auckland ;)) and maybe (its a big maybe) if act dump banks and bring up some of their younger challenge…

  6. Uh, I’m going to call princess bride on this post.

    Disproportionality refers specifically to the proportion of the party vote received to the number of seats in an MMP system. An electorate-only party is a cause of disproportionality, not a victim of it, and while abolishing the overhang may be bad for the Maori Party, that has nothing to do with disproportionality hurting them.

    I hope that this change will lead to the Maori Party better representing its constituency and growing its party vote to a level of support where it achieves a similar amount of seats in parliament to how many it has now.

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  • 10 percent budget cut at Lincoln
    Lincoln University is planning to cut “unpopular courses” the Christchurch Press reports. The Press says that vice-chancellor Robin Pollard told the university council it was necessary to “expedite” a review of all courses offered by the university and that he ...
    5 days ago
  • Victoria told pay offers are unequal
    People working at Victoria University of Wellington have rejected two pay offers, saying both treat people unequally. Union members at the university held a large and lively paid union meeting this week to consider two pay offers from their managers. ...
    5 days ago
  • Perspective
    From an excellent New Yorker article about the exoplanet detected in Proxima Centauri: In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    5 days ago
  • Perspective
    From an excellent New Yorker article about the exoplanet detected in Proxima Centauri: In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    5 days ago

  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    13 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    13 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    14 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    3 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    4 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    5 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

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