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Campaign to save MMP underway

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, November 10th, 2008 - 79 comments
Categories: activism - Tags:

The Right hates MMP. The old system, FPP, advantaged the Right by about 1.5% according to this study. In 1978, 1981, and 1993 the Right governed despite the Left having more support. Under FPP, National was the ‘natural party of government’ and that has changed under MMP.

So, the National/Act government plans to have a referendum on MMP, thinking it can use the power of government to win the public’s support.

Just as a grassroots movement was needed to bring us MMP in the first place, another movement will be needed to argue the case for keeping it. Already, the base of this organisation is being established: The Campaign to Save MMP.

From their press release:

A second referendum on the issue is not something to fear, but an opportunity for New Zealanders to show they believe in fairness in their electoral system. The Campaign to Save MMP will be an independent, non-partisan effort to inform voters of the benefits of MMP and show them the downside of other electoral systems. Our first meeting is at Auckland University Students Association executive chambers, 7pm Thursday the 13th of November.

MMP is just one of the democratic institutions and rights that will be at risk under National/Act. Do your part to help defend it.

79 comments on “Campaign to save MMP underway”

  1. TimeWarp 1

    The approach seems rigged to me. There will be two phases to the questions asked of the public from what I have read. The first being, “do you want to retain MMP?” The second if MMP is not wanted, “what system would you prefer?”

    So instead of asking whether a proportional system is wanted, and then which one it would be – as happened with the initial referedum in 1993 – there is in my opinion significant risk of the proportionality baby being thrown out with the MMP bathwater

    This risk would arise in answering the second question where a majority of the population favouring proportionality would spread their selection across a variety of proportionality options, allowing a FPP option to come through the middle.

    Seems to me this is would be a process having all the trappings of consultative democracy but none of the substance.

  2. I wonder though, National do not have a majority themselves, and any minor party who is willing to side with them to change away from a proportionate system is pretty much committing electrol suicide. Not saying we should be complacent, prehaps we just need to lobby the minor parties on that point.

  3. gingercrush 3

    The right doesn’t hate MMP. The right may not necessarily like MMP but all they are saying is that the public will have a say on their opinion of MMP. That is all there is. So indeed if you on the left wish for MMP to stay then by all means fight it. But its simply a poll on MMP. Also more important and for both sides is MMP isn’t perfect. Been a bit of talking on the left saying the threshold is too high and that to much weight is given to smaller parties who win electorates.

    Since National won rather easily and since its the centre-right plus the passionate left who are likely to vote in this poll. I think you’ll find MMP comes out on top rather easily.

    I think there are plenty of problems with MMP. Still gives too much weight to smaller parties. Does give too much power to minor parties that hold electorate seats. Still lacks certain functions in a democracy. The fact 6% or more of the vote was wasted this election.

    I would like to see debates from the right and left on how we can improve MMP to make it better for all citizens. Sadly I can’t see that happening.

  4. The best way to improve MMP would be removing the threshold. That would remove the undemocratic elements we saw on Saturday – tactical voting, overhangs and large wasted vote.

  5. TimeWarp 5

    GC. There’s a hard core that strongly opposed (hated) MMP – the Peter Shirtcliffe brigade – and judging by recent comments on KiwiBlog and elsewhere you have some persuading to do before I believe they’ve gone away.

  6. The right don’t hate MMP, the Tories do.

    I’ll be happy to help fight to keep it, and as has been mentioned above, we need to make sure the alternatives are discussed before deciding whether to dump MMP.

    -Peter McCaffrey
    -ACT Candidate for Otaki

  7. gingercrush 7

    Removing the threshold is perhaps simplistic. Do we really want parties that get 1% having seats in parliament? Seems far too messy. There is a case for New Zealand First. I do recall it was originally going to be 4% when introduced in 1996. Interesting had that been in place, that would have let the Christian Coalition in. Not sure the left would have liked that.

    The overhang is largely just Maori seats. I’m not sure exactly how that process for number of Maori seats work. Is it simply registrations to the Maori roll? Seven seats and all had a total of 17, 000 to 18, 000 votes in comparison to the general electorates with 27, 000+ outside a few South Auckland seats and Waitakere.

  8. brownie 8

    Why do you say “hate”? Is that the same way that MMP now advantages the Left so the Left “love” MMP? Proportional representation is here to stay, guys – whether it be MMP, STV or something else.

    Steveo, why do you resent us (i.e all the people/workers/bosses) talking about it and also why do you immediately assume that FPP is what they may be looking at? Do you dislike dialogue or non-partisanship? Are you saying that MMP is the ONLY system of worth?

    Captcha: Pistol Law

    Is that what will happen if someone disagrees with you?

  9. gingercrush ‘Do we really want parties that get 1% having seats in parliament? Seems far too messy’ . that doesn’t sound like much of an argument to me.

    remember, national is only government now because NZF couldn’t get 0.8% more of the vote and because National voters tactically voted in Epsom. Both are results of the threshold.

    i shouldn’t have put overhang on that list, remvoing the threshold wouldn’t change it.

  10. the sprout 10

    my recommendation would be to call it the “Campaign to Protect MMP”.

    this implies MMP is something to be treasured and defended.

    “Campaign to Save MMP” implies it’s already in trouble and approaching extinction.

  11. brownie. STV isn’t a proportional system.

    I’m not opposed to debating other systems at all. I’m also happy that, having examined just about every democratic electoral system on Earth, MMP is the best, which is why it is being picked up in more and more countries.

  12. “Steve Pierson

    The best way to improve MMP would be removing the threshold. That would remove the undemocratic elements we saw on Saturday – tactical voting, overhangs and large wasted vote”

    It would have left the Bill and Ben party with the balance of power, but the country has spoken!

    Then again, this is along the lines of enfranchisement, the ones who are already in parliament have no motivation to make it any easier for others to get in

  13. gingercrush 13

    Well the left knew what the threshold was. You can’t complain about New Zealand First not getting in and because of that thresholds need to be cut. If it was the reverse and lets say a party like the Christian Coalition and got 4.2% kinda like they did in 1996. The left surely would not be happy with it and would certainly not be asking for changes in threshold.

    The reason there is a need for a threshold. Is I don’t want parties with no real mandate having a say when it isn’t warranted. Whether that is a far-right or far-left or a centre party. That doesn’t mean discussions can’t take place to change the threshold. But some certain threshold is needed.

  14. “gingercrush

    The reason there is a need for a threshold. Is I don’t want parties with no real mandate having a say when it isn’t warranted. Whether that is a far-right or far-left or a centre party. That doesn’t mean discussions can’t take place to change the threshold. But some certain threshold is needed.”

    I don’t like old people, I don’t thing they should have a say in things. Any other votes for which groups shouldn’t have a say?

  15. brownie 15

    Fair one Steve.

    I just think its a wee bit early to protect something that is not under threat – merely just talked about.

  16. gingercrush 16

    Well lets say the threshold was 1.2% which is what two MPs in government. Neither is an electorate seat. Does a party that gets 1.2% deserve to be in Parliament? I don’t think so. Is there merit for the threshold to change from 5% to 3 or 4%? Maybe. But I can’t see he left being open to that idea if a party like what Christian Coalition was got in with 4% of the vote. If the results were different and New Zealand First did get 5% meaning Maori held the power for who and who could not form the government and they chose the centre-right. Would anyone on the left be calling for changes in thresholds? I hardly think so.

    Also massive cuts in the threshold, means minor parties holding the balance of party and that is hardly fair for either the centre-left or the centre-right.

  17. Chris S 17

    Steve, STV is most definitely proportional. And, when implemented correctly, will provide the smallest margin of wasted votes of any electoral system.

  18. Felix 18

    The Sprout is right.

    One lesson we need to take from this election is the effective use of language. The right won largely without the facts or figures on their side by being better at telling their story.

    Language matters.

  19. brownie 19

    Steve: FYI from that fount of all knowledge Wiki

    “The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a system of preferential voting designed to minimize wasted votes and provide proportional representation while ensuring that votes are explicitly expressed for individual candidates rather than for party lists”.

  20. Maybe, there could be some argument for lowering the MMP threshold, to say 3%. That would mean the minimum number of seats a party would have would be 4 or the number of electorates they won.

    I don’t agree with abolishing it totally however. Both the Christian Coalition (1996) and New Zealand First (2008) would gain representation under this model. Why, you say, and some commentators have suggested Israel. However, Israeli is solely PR, not MMP, and their party situation is horribly divided. 3% of the vote requires only 66 – 70,000 votes approx (on current numbers).

    The party structure in New Zealand seems semi-permanent at this stage, and that is a good thing in most respects, but there needs to be a demonstrated ability to be able to break the MMP threshold from wholly outside. Only ACT (1996) has managed to that, thanks to their well-heeled supporters (I am including the Greens as part of the Alliance).

    For parties that may struggle to top 8% at the best of times, 5% seems an awfully high barrier.

  21. the sprout 21

    thanks Felix. i agree with you that the Right are consistently better with their use of language and story telling.

    the Left’s consistent mistake is to overlook the importance of emotion and the non-rational component of effective campaigning. having the best logical arguments does not a winning campaign make.

  22. rouppe 22

    My recollection of the initial “discussion” around choosing the proportional system was that there was an “education program”.

    This “education program” muttered about a few other systems, and them pushed and pushed and pushed MMP. The people’s interest in politics then was just as bad as it is now, so the lemmings just ticked the box they had heard most about.

    That’s how we got MMP.

    At least this referendum isn’t asking patsy questions designed to lead the voter to the desired result

  23. How does STV create proportionality? It doesn’t in Australia. It doesn’t in any other jurisdiction that has it.

  24. Vinsin 24

    Removing the threshold seems like a good idea to me. It’ll probably cause a lot more people to vote, on Saturday around about twenty of my friends weren’t going to vote because who they wanted to vote for was a party that wasn’t even on the political map, and so they felt they might as well stay home.

    Maybe lowering the threshold or getting rid of it completely will make more people think about what they actually really care about and not be pigeonholed into these two out-dated political parties to form a government. I’m kind of tired of this idea that the reason for an election to choose a government and if you’re party doesn’t get in that your vote was wasted, it’s not true, an election is really about gauging what people want and having a representation of that either in government or in opposition.

    To be honest I can’t really see any party making changes like the threshold criteria to MMP, it’ll basically undermine any power they have. I’d be keen to help out on the campaign for this though.

  25. Helena 25

    A binding referendum on MMP is well overdue and was meant to happen after two MMP elections. The problem for me with MMP is the list MP’s, where the electorate dumps them, only to find that they get back into Parliament on the list, so who are they really representing? Yep, the party’s interests, rather than any electorate. And if anything, the threshold should be higher, not lower. Or did you enjoy having Winston being Kingmaker twice over? Especially the first time, when he held the country to ransom for eight long weeks while he dilly dallied. Bring on the referendum, this election result was a vote against MMP as well as a lurch to the hard, radical Left. The right in charge now, wow!

  26. Helena there was never any promise of a rerferendum on MMP after two elections. If there was, someone could provide a direct quote or link to that promise.

    There was a Parliamentary review of MMP after two elections. Which found it was a damn sight better than FPP

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    A binding referendum on MMP is well overdue and was meant to happen after two MMP elections.

    I gather this is a popular myth but don’t have the detail to back the assertion that it’s not true.

    so who are they really representing?

    Simple. The people who voted for that party with their party vote… They’re representing interests of the whole country, instead of being beholden to a specific electorate. I quite like that aspect of MMP actually.

  28. Vinsin 28

    Helena, if anything i think National’s win proves there’s nothing wrong with MMP. If the will of the people is truly with a party then MMP still works, if it isn’t, then it doesn’t. Secondly, Winston provided a voice for a fairly large section of society, that was why he was able to be Kingmaker not because of MMP – if he didn’t have their support where would he be? Probably where he is now.

  29. Chris S 29

    By the by, if eliminating the threshold isn’t an option, maybe tinkering with the idea that winning an electorate seat doesn’t release your party from the threshold.

    It would make the “wasted vote” worse, but it would seemingly make the NZF vs. ACT situation a bit fairer.

  30. Ben R 30

    “if he didn’t have their support where would he be? Probably where he is now.”

    Will Winston now get into talkback radio? I imagine he would have a supportive audience. Also, he is probably due to write a book?

  31. Felix 31

    Yeah I’ve never really understood why getting an electorate seat should make your party votes suddenly relevant if they weren’t already.

    Ben, give the man a tv show. Let him interview journalists about their most recent work.

  32. Pascal's bookie 32

    What’s the justification for letting electorate MP’s drag camp followers along with them if they don’t make the threshold? I never really understood that.

    And I think Steve is right that STV is not proportional. As I understand it, if a party got 10 percent of the first preference votes in every electorate, the most likely outcome is that in every electorate their votes would be reallocated to those voters’ second preference.

  33. DeeDub 33

    The threshold is there to keep out the lunatic fringe. I’m a proportional proponent but as for how these systems work without thresholds….. mmmmmm Weimar Germany anyone?

    I think we messed up when we added electorate seats into the mix – we should have gone fully proportional IMO… maybe with a slightly reduced threshold to encourage diversity without letting out-and-out nutters into the house… say between 3 and 4%.

  34. Pascal's bookie 34

    I think the nutter vote would drop if the threshold wasn’t there. It’s a safety barrier for protest votes. ( It may take an election or two though. Fun!)

    The only ones that might sneak in would the Christian Conservatives, and that doesn’t bother me. Firstly, they are completely incompetent in NZ. Secondly, they have no real chance of influencing the major parties, their policy preferences are just too toxic to the centre.

  35. Helena
    “The problem for me with MMP is the list MP’s, where the electorate dumps them, only to find that they get back into Parliament on the list, so who are they really representing? Yep, the party’s interests”

    I live back and foward between two completely different cities what am I supposed to do? get a vote in both of them?

    By removing list votes your essentially saying a minority in any given geographic area should not have representation, I don’t like the sound of that.

    Is there anyway you can justify the outcome of the 1979 and 1981 elections as anything other than a quirk of the electrol system?

    I’m not really comfortable with talking about a lower threshold, to me any argument agaisnt a 5% threshold equally applies against a 4% threshold. It should be done away with all together.

  36. Janet 36

    I think the right will settle on their preferred option and then push it with lots of money and influence. It probably won’t be FPP but something just as likely to entrench the rich or rural. Maybe supplementary member. Jim Bolger hinted at this on election night. He recognised that FPP won’t fly again but that it would be desirable to change to something other than MMP.

    So what are the options so we can be fully informed?

  37. Daveski 37

    I’m enjoying MMP more now that National has learnt to play the game. Beforehand, I think they were stuck in FPP mode.

    As I recall, MMP came about not because of any perception that it was better but because of massive distrust of politicians after they got elected (Labour in particular although ironically I would support what they did).

    So the perception was that MMP would give the punters more power to select “their” local candidate and take power away from the parties.

    The reality of course is somewhat different and particularly the fact that the party controls the party list while the belief is that the tail wags the dog.

    Beside all that, I am amazed that anyone should be concerned about the possibility of a referendum. Surely, if the people choose a different system, that is a triumph of our democratic system?

  38. Lew 38

    PB has it exactly right – drop the threshold and you change voter behaviour. The only reason McGillicuddy Serious existed is because people knew they’d never get in. The B&B party would never have been elected if people had thought there was the faintest chance they might be.

    I don’t believe there are any genuine reasons to retain the threshold at 5% in a small democracy like NZ’s. I don’t mind seeing it stay if that’s what it takes to retain MMP, but in the ideal case I would reduce it to zero, or perhaps to the point required to field two MPs – 1.6% or so. There are three main arguments put forward, and they’re all invalid. First, the `Weimar Republic’ argument (it was brought down by anti-semitic militaristic demagoguery) is fallacious – Nazi Germany came about because of a complex set of ideological and nationalistic circumstances which began in the 16th Century, crystallised into German unity in the 19th, and the shame and humiliation of Versailles in 1918. It’s an exceptional example where (counterfactually) NO electoral system could have prevented the rise of the Nazis.

    Second, the `Israel’ argument (Israeli politics is unstable and fractured) is flawed for the same reason – it’s a state constructed two generations ago by League of Nations fiat, in direct opposition to the will of the vast majority of those who lived there. Again, arguably NO electoral system could survive. It’s also important to note that there’s no regional or electorate representation – it’s proportional-only. Can’t be compared.

    Third, the `lunatic fringe’ argument (if we have no threshold we’ll be ruled by the maniacs who can’t join a real party). Currently we have a bunch of wacky one-issue and niche parties who attract some small amount of support, partly because nobody believes they’ll get in. I’d put it to you that if 1% or more of people vote for a party in good faith that they might get in, they deserve to be represented – counterfactually again, Graeme Edgeler’s numbers on publicaddress show that the Kiwi Party and the Family Party could have each got a seat, and I think that’s fair enough – they do in fact represent a constituency. Yes, they might be fringe groups, but the nature of MMP is compromise. Let our elected representatives compromise and cooperate – it’ll be good for democracy in the end.

    L

  39. Lew 39

    Janet: As far as I see, if the 2011 referendum to change the system returns favourable, There will broadly be three options:

    1. Revert to FPP
    2. Modify MMP or adopt a similar system
    2. Adopt different system wholesale

    Let me say that I don’t believe the 2011 referendum will find need for a change. But if it does:

    1. I think FPP is dead and gone, so I expect that to be off the table.

    2. I believe the most likely option is to adopt the Additional Member Proportional system, which means the party vote is divided only among the list seats – not the whole parliament. There are 50 party votes in NZ at present, so this would mean a party gains one for each 2% of the party vote (rather than about 0.8% as it is now). This is not strictly a proportional system, but it’s more proportional than MMP.

    3. The most likely totally different system is STV, which Australia uses. You rank candidates, and a candidate doesn’t win until they beat each other candidate outright. As Steve correctly points out, it’s not really a proportional system either (though it can be with a party vote component, which would sort of mean mixed MMP-STV – I don’t know if this has ever been done before). It also produces bizarre results, usually electing the second-most popular candidate in a broad field.

    But yeah. I think the whole question is moot, really.

    L

  40. Lew 40

    … err, that should read `more proportional than FPP’.

    L

  41. Nasi_Lemak 41

    I’m an advocate for MMP, however I wouldn’t mind more public discussion about the topic. At this stage the average kiwi doesn’t know enough about the MMP system or any other electoral system to make an informed decision. Referendums are tricky buggers – just drafting the question is difficult enough….

    Also in reply to the comment “The Right hates MMP”, please take a look at this article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/vote08/4754717a28480.html

    Chris Trotter (Left wing enthusiast) openly castigates voters for exercising their democratic right…

    In this way generalised statements like “The Right hates MMP” are misleading and irresponsible.

    I doubt that there will be an overhaul of MMP under National without careful consideration of any alternatives (and yes, there are alternatives, STV etc). Can you imagine the political fallout of a govt that can’t successfully handle the implementation of a new electoral system? It would be political suicide. National’s promise of a referendum was made to pacify voter dissatisfaction, that’s all. John Key himself said during the election campaign that NZ will not return to FPP.

    Steve makes a good point, as National was in govt more under the FPP system than with MMP. Prior to MMP (1950 – 1996) National was in govt 75% and Labour 25%, and after its inception (1996 – 2005) National 25% and Labour 75%.
    This does perhaps create a certain bias against MMP for National, however the reverse could be said of Labour. With a better track record under MMP, it no doubt has a ‘vested’ interest in ensuring it remains. Food for thought…

    Either way – good on the campaigners – just don’t get too carried away with generalisations…

  42. Ag 42

    I’d be worried if another referendum came along, since I can imagine the wealthy interests behind the “Campaign for Better Government” learning from their mistakes and spending an absolute fortune to make sure that FPP is re-instituted (or some system that returns us to two parties in parliament). It was only luck and incompetence that stopped them from winning last time. IIRC they were ahead going in to the last week of the campaign.

    If FPP returns, I’ll quit voting for good, since I will no longer have any real choice among the parties.

  43. Lew 43

    Ag: That’s the purpose of the campaign …

    L

  44. Bill 44

    Is a successful electoral vote dragging in list members because winning an electorate is seen as being equivalent to 5%? If it was seen as less, then the prospective MP couldn’t enter parliament under the 5% threshold rule.

    And if it is seen as 5%, the %age of vote from the list cannot be uniformly subtracted or discounted without allowing different electorates to count for different %ages….if you see what I mean.

    PB asked about it above, nobody has explained and I’m just trying to figure it out.

    In conclusion, I reckon the whole thing was over thought and the inherent unfairness accepted as part and parcel of the package ’cause they’d thought themselves into a tangle and there were no biscuits left at that particular meeting.

  45. Scribe 45

    Steve,

    The best way to improve MMP would be removing the threshold. That would remove the undemocratic elements we saw on Saturday – tactical voting, overhangs and large wasted vote.

    Are you saying tactical voting is undemocratic? I must be reading your comment incorrectly, in light of your “Smart Vote” series, which advocated for tactical voting.

  46. Lew 46

    Bill: No, it’s not in there for any sensible and rational reason like that. Perhaps if there were only 20 MPs …

    I too support the abolition of the `hitchhiker’ rule.

    L

  47. Janet 47

    I like STV. We have it in Wellington and narrowly voted to retain it recently after the right tried to get rid of it. It is a fairer voting system and people like John Banks wouldn’t have been elected if Akld City Council used it. But it is not proportional.

  48. Lew 48

    Janet: STV is fairer (after a fashion) than FPP. But it’s more or less broken because it chooses a compromise candidate, rather than choosing a diverse range of candidates and making them compromise as part of their job.

    L

  49. TimeWarp 49

    Lew… surely the Member Proportional system is fundamentally FPP in drag?

    It has a veneer of proportionality, but if I understand it correctly a party/coalition could dominate parliament based on winning a huge number of electorates – even if each of those wins was only by a small margin.

  50. gingercrush 50

    lol I must admit seeing Additional Member Proportional System sounded rather nice and something I think most Centre-right parties would be happy about. I don’t think it would be too good democratically. I could easily see National win more electorate seats while Labour wins the Party vote. And thus simply doesn’t work and would naturally favour National surely

  51. Lew 51

    TimeWarp: The idea that a party could win 85% of electorates without winning 50% of the party vote simply strains credibility.

    L

  52. TimeWarp 52

    Lew… what about winning say 45% of the party vote but a majority of electorates? Or do I not understand that system?

  53. Lew 53

    GC: AMP isn’t a bad system, and is a less-bad option than FPP or STV. It is sort-of, if-you-squint proportional, and provides greater certainty and more predictable outcomes than MMP (no danger of overhang, no threshold, etc.). But only as long as a few sanity checks remain: first, the 2% required to gain a list seat remain as the only threshold to list representation; and second, that the number of list seats increase in proportion to the number of electorate seats (I’d also argue for a different split – 70 electorates and 50 list isn’t reasonable, in my view).

    L

  54. Lew 54

    TimeWarp: You don’t. If a party wins more electorate seats than its proportion of the party vote, it creates an overhang. In your example (61 electorates and 45% of the party vote – 54 seats by right) there would be an overhang of seven seats – a parliament of 127, requiring 64 for a majority. The interaction between party vote and electorate vote creates a sliding scale which provides a check on electorate dominance. It’s a very robust system, designed to minimise the effects of gerrymandering a lot of small electorates in one region (for instance, in polities with strong sectarian or regionalist conflict) to supercede the party vote.

    L

  55. TimeWarp 55

    Cheers.. my understanding was there was a fixed number of electorate seats (50%) then the balance were proportional.

    In contrast to MMP where the total is proportional.

  56. DeeDub 56

    Janet
    November 10, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    “I like STV. We have it in Wellington and narrowly voted to retain it recently after the right tried to get rid of it. It is a fairer voting system and people like John Banks wouldn’t have been elected if Akld City Council used it. But it is not proportional.”

    Hmmmm… and so we get ‘populist’ mayors like Kerry P? Not so sure about your logic here? STV elects political ‘celebrities’ not good politicians IMHO.

  57. Lew 57

    TimeWarp: That’s Asdditional Member Proportional – also called Supplementary Member – as I detailed above. There are good wikipedia pages on all major systems which are used at present – the only one I mentioned which I don’t think is in use anywhere is a transferable-parallel vote system, where electors rank candidates and then rank parties.

    L

  58. TimeWarp 58

    Sweet thanks Lew… I was intimately familiar with all back in 93, Mr Monteith has killed a few brain cells since then.

  59. NeillR 59

    The best way to improve MMP would be removing the threshold.
    What so that every moron who could get a few votes would get into parliament? You think this wouldn’t happen – under your scenario the Bill&Ben Party would have just picked up a seat in the house.

    national is only government now because NZF couldn’t get 0.8% more of the vote and because National voters tactically voted in Epsom.
    Everyone has the option of tactical voting. In fact, Labour stuffed up by trying to win the Maori seats – if they had left them all to the Maori Party there would have been less likelihood of National forming a government. Remember, it also benefited Labour at the last election, where Dunne wouldn’t have been re-elected and Labour may not have got in.

    Also, if NZF had been returned, the result would still have been the same, as Nat/ACT would have had 61 seats (enough to govern) and 62 when UF was taken into account.

  60. Lew 60

    NeillR: No, because people would have voted differently.

    That’s the major effect of electoral systems – influencing voter behaviour. Remove the threshold, people think harder about their votes.

    L

  61. “Scribe
    November 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Steve,

    The best way to improve MMP would be removing the threshold. That would remove the undemocratic elements we saw on Saturday – tactical voting, overhangs and large wasted vote.

    Are you saying tactical voting is undemocratic? I must be reading your comment incorrectly, in light of your “Smart Vote’ series, which advocated for tactical voting.”

    He means exactly what he has written and its only you claiming any different.

  62. NeillR 62

    By the by, if eliminating the threshold isn’t an option, maybe tinkering with the idea that winning an electorate seat doesn’t release your party from the threshold.

    It would make the “wasted vote’ worse, but it would seemingly make the NZF vs. ACT situation a bit fairer.

    Jeez, have you people actually stopped to think about what you’re saying. If this scenario played out the result would be:

    National 64
    Labour 47
    Greens 9

    No other party would be in parliament – is that REALLY what you want?

  63. NeillR 63

    NeillR: No, because people would have voted differently.

    That’s the major effect of electoral systems – influencing voter behaviour. Remove the threshold, people think harder about their votes.

    There is absolutely NO evidence to support that whatever. But i can tell you for a fact that if you remove the threshold then you will see the National Front, or some similar extreme organisations suddenly appearing in parliament – i’m sure no-one would like that as a scenario, it was bad enough with Peters and his reprehensible views.

  64. Lew 64

    NeillR: There’s a shitload of evidence, most of it from European nations who’ve had proportional representation systems with no threshold for ages.

    The National Front, although contesting the 2008 NZ election (as the National Alliance with some other nutters) don’t even register on the Electoral Commission’s results page (they exclude parties who receive fewer than six votes per polling place, I believe). They’re irrelevant.

    Once people know their vote (for whatever party) will count, we’ll see people genuinely vote for the party they want representing them. I don’t have a problem with the prospect of the Family Party or the Kiwi Party gaining representation, though I disagree with practically all of their politics. It takes almost twenty thousand votes to get a party over the one-member threshold. That’s a lot of people, and a constituency which deserves representation.

    I think you have too little faith in the parliament to control and constrain the lunatics among its ranks.

    L

  65. Pascal's bookie 65

    “Jeez, have you people actually stopped to think about what you’re saying. If this scenario played out the result would be:

    National 64
    Labour 47
    Greens 9”

    ACT 1
    maori Party 5
    United Future 1
    Jim Anderton’s 1

  66. NeillR 66

    The National Front, although contesting the 2008 NZ election (as the National Alliance with some other nutters) don’t even register on the Electoral Commission’s results page (they exclude parties who receive fewer than six votes per polling place, I believe). They’re irrelevant.
    So you’re trying to argue that everyone will change their vote except for supporters of the National Front (or other quasi-fascist organisations).

    I’m quite happy to challenge your assumptions on the voting tendencies of Europe v NZ, because so far we haven’t made enough progress, nor had enough time-gap from FPP to be that sophisticated with our voting intentions.

    For instance, if Bill&Ben had captured 3% of the vote, parliament would be reduced by one member. It wouldn’t take a genius to set up the “Underhang” Party who had only one member, to campaign on the basis of reducing the number of MP’s. For every vote above 1% they received parliament would be reduced. You reckon the electorate wouldn’t go for that scenario? I’m picking they’d get around 10% of the vote, minimum.

    ACT 1
    maori Party 5
    United Future 1
    Jim Anderton’s 1

    You’re not really keeping up – the scenario was that electorate votes didn’t count – ie: the threshold would still have to be met – none of these parties would get to parliament under that system (based on 2008 results).

  67. bradluen 67

    I’m glad Bill & Ben didn’t beat McGillicuddy Serious’s joke party record (11,714 votes or 0.61% in 1993). Having no policies <<< ending male suffrage.

    Bring on the 2% threshold!

    (Also: the “winning an electorate seat doesn’t release your party from the threshold” is a bit rubbish because making the NZF vs Act imbalance)

  68. bradluen 68

    I hate edit time limits that don’t refresh.

    Anyway, as for the “winning an electorate seat doesn’t release your party from the threshold’:

    Current rules: fair for Act, unfair for NZ First!
    Those rules: unfair for Act, unfair for NZ First!

    Can’t see how this is any more democratic.

    [lprent: It does. But I think that it is a client side java running that. Adds to list of things to check]

  69. Ari 69

    Steve, STV is most definitely proportional. And, when implemented correctly, will provide the smallest margin of wasted votes of any electoral system.

    No Chris, STV is still an electorate-based system and no electorate-based system can ever be truly proportional because there are votes that don’t count across districts. It is, however, probably the second-best system for voting in electorates that I can think of, and it may be that it produces results much closer to proportional elections than FPP. That’s still not the same thing. 🙂

    By the by, if eliminating the threshold isn’t an option, maybe tinkering with the idea that winning an electorate seat doesn’t release your party from the threshold.

    It would make the “wasted vote’ worse, but it would seemingly make the NZF vs. ACT situation a bit fairer.

    So here’s my wishlist for a better MMP:

    * Change the threshold to 0.83%. (winning a list seat outright)
    * It doesn’t matter if electorate MPs bring their buddies in or not under this system- any Party capable of winning a second seat is already past the threshold.
    * A fairer electorate vote system, like STV, (rank candidates, skip any you don’t know) EV, (vote any candidates you wish “up” or “down” with a tick or a cross, skip candidates you don’t know) or Ranged Vote. (vote any candidates you wish between 0 and 100, skip candidates you don’t know)
    * Mandate that parties who want a list larger than 5 MPs run primaries for their party list among their party members, giving interested voters more control over who gets into Parliament. At the moment only the Greens elect their party list. This would also help address concerns that list members are often minnows- at the very least, their own party members would have to like them.

  70. Camryn 70

    Act doesn’t support the MMP referendum, you’ll find. Funnily enough given they would’ve exist without it and were formed into a political party only because and when MMP was introduced.

  71. Felix 71

    NeillR:
    “You’re not really keeping up – the scenario was that electorate votes didn’t count”

    No Neill, the scenario being discussed was that winning an electorate seat wouldn’t make your party votes (even though under the threshold) count which is how it works now.

    For example: Under the current system ACT’s party vote translates into 4 list MPs in the house because Hide won an electorate seat. If he hadn’t won his electorate, those party votes wouldn’t count for ACT as they are below the 5% threshold and Hide’s seat would be the only ACT seat in the house.

    The alternate scenario being discussed is one in which with the same result, Hide would have his seat (which he won) but ACT would still have to meet the 5% threshold before they start bringing list MPs into the house (which they currently do not).

    Please keep up with who’s keeping up.

  72. NeillR 72

    Argh, you’re right – i blame late nights and a failure to read properly. 😛

    The problem with that scenario is that you distort the proportionality of the result. If you applied those figures you would end up with the following:

    National 60
    Labour 45
    Green 9
    Maori 5
    ACT 1
    UF 1
    Prog 1

    It would still result in a National government. I don’t really think the electorate would wear change on the basis of leftist expediency, because they can’t accept a result that wasn’t what they wanted – especially when seats were taken from ACT and given to the Greens and Labour.

  73. Daveski 73

    All that would do is make it almost certain the public would clamour to ditch the Maori seats – five electorate seats for 2+% of the party vote.

    There’s a bit of paradox here in the sense that some of you are arguing to keep MMP but want to change it. If you need to change it then there must be a problem you are trying to address.

  74. Felix 74

    Well we’re never going have a “perfect” system that everyone’s 100% happy with but that doesn’t mean we give up improving it.

    What we have now is a huge improvement on what we had before in terms of representation, fairness and the “wasted vote” issue but lets keep thinking about how to make it better stronger faster.

  75. Lew 75

    NeillR: It wouldn’t take a genius to set up the “Underhang’ Party who had only one member, to campaign on the basis of reducing the number of MP’s. For every vote above 1% they received parliament would be reduced. You reckon the electorate wouldn’t go for that scenario? I’m picking they’d get around 10% of the vote, minimum.

    You can pick what you like, but in fact, this has already been done in NZ – the 99 MP Party contested the 2005 election and received a whopping 601 party votes. In addition, I’m not aware of any such party in any of the (many) proportional systems elsewhere. So, like your last example, an irrelevancy which you’re using to fearmonger in direct opposition to the facts on the ground.

    Regardless of that fact, I’d say if they can get 40,000 people to vote on a platform of `one less MP’ they deserve the (lack of) representation. See, I’m not really afraid of heterodox voices – I think they’re valuable, and easily-enough marginalised by the orthodox players.

    L

  76. Chess Player 76

    Daveski,

    “If you need to change it then there must be a problem you are trying to address.”

    I have spent some time this morning reading this entire blog, and I have to say I think this whole issue is a non-event.

    The issue would not have been raised, I suspect, if the election had returned the encumbents to power, and I can’t see it is in anyone now in govt’s interest to change it either. It’s taken the Nats this long to figure out how to work the system, and also taken this long for the general public to understand how MMP works (if they do, yet).

    There are certainly plenty of ideas (even just in this blog alone) on possible ‘improvements’ but I think we will see this one quietly fade away, as without a strong motivation from those in govt now, the reality is that no-one will make anything happen in a hurry.

  77. Daveski 77

    CP

    Indeed I almost mentioned the fact that as each election goes on, MMP increasingly becomes the status quo (compared to those who grew up with FPP).

    I suspect Key has surprised both the left and the right with the nous he has shown in managing the MMP environment.

    However, fundamentally, if the public wants change, the politicians must listen.

  78. NeillR 78

    You can pick what you like, but in fact, this has already been done in NZ – the 99 MP Party contested the 2005 election and received a whopping 601 party votes. In addition, I’m not aware of any such party in any of the (many) proportional systems elsewhere. So, like your last example, an irrelevancy which you’re using to fearmonger in direct opposition to the facts on the ground.

    The Bill&Ben Party were exactly that – because there was only two candidates on their list any vote that entitled them to a third or more seat would have seen that number of seats removed from parliament. I’m sure if that was more widely publicised beforehand it may well have led to a higher vote for them.

    But, given the widespread public support for a reduction to 99 MP’s, it wouldn’t take long for a party based on that reduction to get off the ground. However, the point you appear to be missing is that the threshold was put in for a reason – to stop one-issue crackpots from hijacking the political process. Under some of the scenarios proposed here, they would have a field day.

  79. lew 79

    NeillR: The Bill&Ben Party were exactly that – because there was only two candidates on their list any vote that entitled them to a third or more seat would have seen that number of seats removed from parliament.

    Bollocks. The Bill & Ben party wasn’t about constitutional or electoral change – it was an advertising stunt for a TV show (which worked very well indeed). It was a lark. Just because the result of a strong electoral showing would have resulted in an underhang doesn’t mean it was intended as an underhang party.

    I’m sure if that was more widely publicised beforehand it may well have led to a higher vote for them.

    But, given the widespread public support for a reduction to 99 MP’s, it wouldn’t take long for a party based on that reduction to get off the ground.

    If there’s such widespread support for there being 99 MPs, why did the 99 MP Party only garner 0.03% of the vote in 2005, and not even bother to contest 2008? And why do such parties not exist elsewhere? And you still haven’t explained to me why 40,000 people (that’s roughly the minimum to have an underhang seat) shouldn’t be entitled to reduce the size of parliament by one MP if they choose.

    However, the point you appear to be missing is that the threshold was put in for a reason – to stop one-issue crackpots from hijacking the political process. Under some of the scenarios proposed here, they would have a field day.

    Do you actually read the other comments in the thread? I’ve addressed this argument above. The 5% threshold was implemented in postwar Germany to prevent the rise of initially-marginal populist demagogues. It was a specific response to the history of that country, and I think a wise one in that case – but not strictly applicable everywhere. We don’t have anything like the combination of factors which Germany had, making us vulnerable to the country being hijacked by extremists – hell, 45% of the party vote is described as a `slaughter’ or a `landslide’.

    Neill, from this discussion and the discussion about `moral mandates’ it seems to me that you’re impervious to logic and argument which doesn’t suit your preconceptions. You seem willing to take on examples from elsewhere when it suits you (5% threshold from Germany) but not when it doesn’t (there are no underhang parties anywhere in the MMP systems without a threshold). You’re also accepting correlation as causation (Bill & Ben Party is an underhang party because it could have caused an underhang) but only in some cases. Finally, you attribute unrealistically high influence to things which suit your argument, in contradiction of the actual facts of a matter (National Front gaining power; 99 MP Party having actual support).

    It’s a shame, because you seem to actually think about these things. It’d be nice to have a discussion when we’re both on the same planet.

    L

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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
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    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
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    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
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    2 weeks ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
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    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
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    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A mountain of a challenge in banning glyphosate
    Belinda Cridge I was reading my son a story last night. A great tale of derring-do of five mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn for the first time. One in the party had tried six times previously and failed, this was the last attempt before winter closed another season. They tried a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • This government has a problem with secrecy
    As introduced, the Zero Carbon Bill included an expansive secrecy clause, which would have covered virtually all decisions by the Climate Change Commission over our most important policy area. The Ministry for the Environment admitted this was a mistake (or as they put it, an "oversight"), and the select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolutio...
    Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    4 hours ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    6 days ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    6 days ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    1 week ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
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  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Two years of progress
    This week, we’re taking action on climate change, expanding trades education – and celebrating two years of progress! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit the Republic of Korea and Japan
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week. “The Republic of Korea and Japan are two of New Zealand’s closest partners in the region with whom we share common values and ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
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    39 mins ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
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    1 day ago
  • Future secured for Salisbury School
    Nelson’s Salisbury School is to be rebuilt, creating a modern and suitable learning environment for students at the residential special school, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The school for girls aged 8-15, in Richmond, was earmarked for closure by National until the process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Resource management reform options released
    The panel undertaking a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act has identified the main issues to be addressed and options for reform and is calling for feedback to inform its final report.  In July the Government announced the comprehensive review of the resource management system, including the RMA - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
    An important safety valve has been added to New Zealand’s criminal justice system with the third reading of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill today. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Racing Industry destined to be on-track
    Racing Minister Winston Peters welcomes the tabling of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) 2019 Annual Report in Parliament today. He says the 2019 Annual Report marks the point when New Zealand’s racing industry’s decline was arrested and a turnaround started. RITA’s 2019 Annual Report recorded an industry net profit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand firefighter support to Queensland
    The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires. “The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Supporting all schools to succeed
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reform to support better outcomes for Māori learners and whānau
    The Government’s reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system is a watershed moment in education and an opportunity to create meaningful change for ākonga Māori and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said today. “Last year through Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, Māori teachers, parents, ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi ...
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    2 days ago
  • Infrastructure pipeline growing
    Infrastructure Minister is welcoming the first of many updated project pipelines from the newly established New Zealand Infrastructure Commission today. The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, has released an expanded pipeline of major capital projects – another crucial step towards delivering better infrastructure outcomes. “The first iteration of the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tighter firearms law to further improve safety
    Tougher gun laws designed to improve public safety through firearms prohibition orders are proposed in a new document released for public input. Police Minister Stuart Nash says firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) would give new powers to Police to ensure high-risk individuals come nowhere near firearms. “We have already prohibited the ...
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    3 days ago
  • New TVNZ chair & directors confirmed
    Andy Coupe has been confirmed as TVNZ’s new Board Chair. “Mr Coupe has strong commercial and capital markets experience and TVNZ has benefited from his technical knowledge of business and finance, as well as his extensive governance experience,” the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi said.  Andy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Hutt Road cycle path officially opened
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today officially opened a separated pathway, following the completion of the Kaiwharawhara Stream bridge, which will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along Hutt Road.  The $6.8m Hutt Road project provides a separated path for cycling and pedestrians, the replacement of informal parking ...
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    3 days ago
  • Announcement of new Ambassador to Russia
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of career diplomat Si’alei van Toor as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “I’m pleased to appoint Ms van Toor to this position. She brings a wealth of experience to the role having previously served as Senior Trade Adviser to the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update
    The Treasury’s 2019 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) will be released on Wednesday December 11, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Coalition Government will publish the 2020 Budget Policy Statement at the same time, outlining the priorities for Budget 2020. Further details on arrangements for the release will ...
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    6 days ago
  • Giving a Boost to Kiwi small businesses
    A new initiative to better support small businesses through hands-on mentoring and advice has been launched by the Minister for Small Business. The first event in the Kiwi Business Boost series of regional workshops and online tools has been launched in Wairoa by Stuart Nash. “The Business Boost initiative combines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Nearly three quarters of Rolleston connected to UFB
    The latest Quarterly Connectivity Report shows that more and more New Zealanders are moving to Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB), with Rolleston having the highest uptake at 74 per cent, as at the end of September. “This means that nearly three quarters of Rolleston’s households and businesses have moved to ultra-fast services. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Historic day for landmark climate change legislation in New Zealand
    The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will help ensure a safe planet for our kids and grandkids, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said today. The landmark legislation which provides a framework to support New Zealanders to prepare for, and adapt to, the effects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Release of Oranga Tamariki Practice Review
    The review of Oranga Tamariki practice around the planned uplift of a Hastings baby in May shows significant failings by the Ministry and that the planned and funded changes to shift from a child crisis service to a proper care and protection service need to be accelerated, Children’s Minister Tracey ...
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    7 days ago
  • Minister wishes students success in exams
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has wished students the best of luck for this year’s NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams which start tomorrow. Around 140,000 students will have participated in 119 NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams by the end of the exam period on 3 December. “I want to ...
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    7 days ago
  • New High Commissioner to the United Kingdom announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of Bede Corry as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. “The appointment of a senior diplomat to this important role underlines the significance New Zealand places on our relationship with the United Kingdom,” said Mr Peters. “The United ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Police recruits making Auckland safer
    An innovative approach to boosting the number of frontline Police has seen 20 new officers graduate from one of the uncommon training wings in Auckland. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 20 constables today means that 1,765 new Police officers have been deployed since the coalition government took ...
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    1 week ago
  • Over 1.2 million hours of community work helps local communities
    Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the 1.2 million hours of community work completed by offenders in the last financial year has helped local communities right across the country. “Community work sentences are a great way for people to pay something positive back to society. There is a massive benefit to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Te Huringa o Te Tai – Police Crime Prevention Strategy
    "A pathway for Police in leadership with Iwi Māori, to achieve the aspirations of Māori whānau." Police launch of Te Huringa o Te Tai, Pipitea Marae,  Thorndon Quay, Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou. Hello everyone, warm greetings to you all. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Kiwis getting higher pay
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    1 week ago
  • More support for schools to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact
    The Government is supporting schools to cut down their energy consumption and reduce environmental impacts, with a quarter of all schools having their lights replaced with LEDs, a sustainability contestable fund and a plan to improve the environmental sustainability of all schools in the future. Education Minister Chris Hipkins and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s manaakitanga highlighted in China
    Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis heads to China on Friday to lead the New Zealand Government presence at the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism closing ceremony. The ceremony will take place at Canton Tower in Guangzhou on Sunday 10 November. “The Year of Tourism has been mutually beneficial for both New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Climate change research boost
    Should we plan for drought or deluge and how is CO2 released from the ocean’s floor? Several climate change projects were given a boost in the latest Marsden Fund investment of $83.6 million, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said today. “Climate change is long-term challenge that requires out-of-the-box ...
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    1 week ago
  • Significant progress on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
    Leaders of 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have announced the completion of negotiation on the text as well as agreement on virtually all market access issues between 15 countries. The leaders said they will work with India to resolve its outstanding concerns in a way that ...
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    1 week ago
  • Learn how to stay safe on World Tsunami Awareness Day
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare says World Tsunami Awareness Day today (5 November) is a chance for all New Zealanders to learn more about the tsunami risk in our regions and the right actions to take to stay safe. “All of New Zealand’s coastline is at risk of tsunami. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Formal recognition at last for paramedics’ frontline medical role
    New Zealand’s more than 1000 paramedics are to have their role as key frontline health professionals formally recognised and regulated in the same way as doctors and nurses, Health Minister David Clark says. The Government has agreed to regulate paramedics under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. “Paramedic leaders ...
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    1 week ago