web analytics
The Standard

The emerging consensus to keep MMP

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, September 14th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: MMP - Tags:

Unexpectedly, a consensus is emerging to keep MMP. A search of the Herald, Stuff and other sites shows that most editorial pages and political commentators are against changing systems, citing MMP as fair and a check on the unbridled power the largest party enjoyed under First Past the Post*. The only notable exception is Fran O’Sullivan, shilling as usual for the anti-democratic interests of the business elite.

Recent polls have shown MMP is the favoured electoral system of 45%-53% of the population. A large portion have no opinion and the remainder are probably split between favouring FFP, SM, or STV. Support for MMP might not be unanimous but it is far and away the most popular system and there is no clamour for change.

Having been anti-MMP before its introduction, there is now little appetite from either major party to change it.

Although John Key supports Supplementary Member (described as FPP with a winner’s bonus) he is clearly not too keen on a change and even less keen on the business elite’s hope of sneaking through a change in a low-turnout (ie right-biased) mid-term referendum. Key says that he doesn’t sense a mood for change and that any vote has to be at a general election to ensure high turnout, otherwise it will lack legitimacy.

Phil Goff has proposed some changes to MMP – no proportionality for parties not exceeding the threshold (eg ACT in 2008), more electorate MPs and fewer from the lists (we have a guest post coming critiquing that idea), and a ban on List MPs waka-jumping – but Labour is now committed to MMP because it is fair and has brought a greater diversity of voices into Parliament.

While I’m not convinced with all of Labour’s initial suggestions, I think Goff has the right idea here – acknowledge that there are some aspects of MMP that the public is dissatisfed with and go into the election offering ways to fix those specific problems without getting rid of the best electoral system around.

Offering the public a choice of throwing out the bathwater while keeping the baby would be popular. Just as importantly, it would show that Labour really is listening. The trick will be in making sure they actually do.

* or, as in 1978 and 1981, the party that came second in the popular vote.

18 comments on “The emerging consensus to keep MMP”

  1. George D 1

    I’ve been looking at the past wistfully, and thinking what might have been had MMP been put in place any time between 78 and 96.

    Anyone on the left who doesn’t support a truly proportional system is very stupid and has a very short memory. I’m glad Labour is now in favour.

  2. “Phil Goff has proposed some changes to MMP”

    no he hasn’t. this was a remit from christchurch, supported by hon lianne dalziell & voted on by the conference. has phil actually made public his views on this remit? and if he has, can we have a link please?

    • Bright Red 2.1

      On Q+A Goff mentioned the 80:40 seats idea didn’t he?

    • Ari 2.2

      While more electorates might make FPP supporters happy, it would also increase the likelyhood of overhangs, and it would probably make electorate votes even more of a low-vote contest than they are now. Usually only the two highest candidates in an electorate even get into the thousands of electorate votes in NZ, which is not exactly a great recipe for robust candidate selection.

      Also, the changes that Labour has suggested, in true Labour fashion, are designed to lock out the more problematic minor parties and give them an advantage in forming governments. Much better to set the threshold to winning a single seat outright from the list vote- then you never have to worry about piggybacking, just the effect of below-threshold electorate MPs, the overhang, and independent MPs.

  3. 80:40 seat split will also mean about 10 Maori seats. Be careful for what you wish for.

  4. Jasper 4

    The other changes that should be made
    – reduce the threshold for party vote to 4%
    – if the party doesn’t reach the 4%, but they win an electorate, then only that electorate MP can enter parliament. Therefore only Hide would be in Parliament.
    – if the party does reach 4%, and has an electorate, then they enter Parliament
    – if a list MP leaves the party, they’re booted from Parliament. i.e. Gordon Copeland
    – if an electorate MP leaves the party, they’re still in Parliament as they’re democratically elected by the people of the electorate so can’t ride roughshod over their views.
    – if an MP chooses to run in an electorate, they cannot then also have the safety net of the list to enter parliament should they not win an electorate. It should be all or nothing.

    • Edosan 4.1

      I agree with all of those except the last one. A party might potentially want a particular individual and put them high on the list, but I don’t think that should stop that individual from also contesting an electorate if they wish, and if they feel they can handle the extra workload.

    • Yeah – with that rule, you’re basically saying that no-one from the Greens can run in an electorate. They’re not running to win the electorate, but why shouldn’t they be able to turn up to meet the candidates meetings etc.?

      Have you a particular reason why you’d like the threshold as high as 4%?

      • Ari 4.2.1

        Well, to be fair, the Greens run plenty of candidates for electorates that are well down the list. What it would mean, however, is that minor parties winning significant amounts of list votes would need to have an exhaustive supply of candidates to run in any electorates at all, which I think is pretty undemocratic.

        Not entirely sure whether I agree or disagree with List MPs that leave or are removed from their party being kicked out in favour of the next MP. I mean, on the one hand, people voted for their party, not them specifically, but on the other hand, the list is a promise of who to bring, and people vote for that too, and it should be something that parties make an investment in and a commitment to.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          the list is a promise of who to bring, and people vote for that too,

          They do?

          I’d be highly surprised if more than a few percent of voters ever looked at the lists prior to the election simply because most people don’t have the time.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    I understand that some Countries with party lists allow an option to change the order of the list.
    So you can choose them in a different order to what you are given.

    Jasper , all or nothing wouldnt work as you can loose very experienced MPs and also leads to gerrymandering of the electorate boundarys. Yes they do have major dustups over whether this or that suburb should be in various electorates, the two major parties are included on the boundary commission

  6. Jasper 6

    Then experienced MPs shouldn’t need to worry about losing an electorate then should they ghost?

    What would stop an experienced MP from knowing their seat is potentially marginal, and opting for the list, thereby allowing a newcomer to run in the electorate?

    Could help with better rejuvenation, and means that the experience is still kept within the parties?

  7. Maynard J 7

    Has a joke party ever achieved representation in a modern, or at least recent democracy?

    I was thinking about what would happen if the threshold was dropped low enough that someone like the Bill & Ben party could get in. A living testament to political apathy and ignorance – I can not for the life of me figure out whether that is a fundamentally bad thing or not.

    • Ron 7.1

      In answer to your question – “joke party” seems and apt description of ACT, I’m Jim Anderton Party and Future NZ. Oh – and NZ First, actually.

      • Maynard J 7.1.1

        For joke parties, they take themselves damn seriously. If that is part of the joke, the Hide gets a friggen Oscar in my books.

        • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1

          I can not for the life of me figure out whether that is a fundamentally bad thing or not.?

          If they get the votes I say let ’em in. Having the threshold actually encourages these votes as it’s a meaningful protest/signifier of apathy. I’m pretty sure that if the threshold was set at enough votes to earn 1 seat, then there would be less of these votes.

          But even if they get in, so what?

          Similar thing with n8zi parties, and other fringe nutters. If they have the votes then I think we are better off having them involved. These parties would be left to rant on the oppo back bench. Their supporters would at least feel included which, (not that it’s much of a problem in NZ), would prevent them going paranoid and violent.

          There is next to no chance of them having any meaningful influence on policy, any major party that relies on them will be punished accordingly. Even if they held the ballance of power, I think a grand coalition would be more likely than a “(nat or lab) + dangerously weirdo” coalition.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling out our homes?
    After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses it’s clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labour’s Trade and Export spokesperson David Parker says. “Labour has… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    10 hours ago
  • Bennett’s legacy a test for Tolley
    Former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been thrown under the bus by her successor after its been suggested that Ms Bennett gave the green light to an ‘unethical’ observational study of high-risk children, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Submission to Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Rege...
    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Draft Transition Recovery Plan on behalf of the New Zealand Labour Party.  It is important that the citizens of Canterbury have a voice in the governance of the next step of… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 day ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    2 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    2 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    3 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    4 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    4 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    4 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    5 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    7 days ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    1 week ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    1 week ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter school experiment turns into shambles
    The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The Education Minister must release all… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere