web analytics

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

  • 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
    43 mins 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
    1 hour 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 ...
    1 day 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 ...
    1 day 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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.  ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
  • 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

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere