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Fran lets the plan slip

Written By: - Date published: 2:40 pm, September 9th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: Media, MMP, national/act government - Tags: ,

Fran O’Sullivan has rather given the game away on the MMP referendum. Frog has explained it so well, I can’t do better than repost it:

Holding a referendum on MMP was discussed at cabinet on Monday 31 August 2009.  Yesterday Ms O’Sullivan informed Newstalk ZB drive time host Larry Williams of how this information was conveyed to her presumably by Mr Key and how the parliamentary press gallery was kept in the dark.

 Larry Williams: You wrote about this a week ago the MMP [referendum] well it looks like it’s going to happen.

 Fran O ‘Sullivan: Oh yes I did.  I don’t usually get it that wrong.  It was very much on the table at last week’s cabinet though they never made an announcement of it in the post-cabinet press conference but it [the referendum] was let drop at a business function I was at during the week so I decided to put it in the public domain.

Rather than being dispersed to the press gallery it was selectively leaked at a business function.  And was this information given to a defender of the status quo? Hell no.  Here’s how Ms O’ Sullivan conveyed her scoop to readers of the Weekend Herald.

 Gamesmanship will again come into calculations on the sequencing of the MMP referendum.

Businessman Peter Shirtcliffe has been campaigning for ‘enough intellectual and organisational horsepower’ to be applied so a single stage definitive referendum could be held next year, then applied at the 2011 election.

Frankly, Key should adopt Shirtcliffe’s timetable. If past polling is anything to go by, many Kiwis would vote MMP down if given the chance.

Fighting the next election on an electoral system even First Past the Post which gave more power to the major party to implement sensible policies would do more to even the gap with Australia than endless horsetrading.

 And what sensible policies would Ms O’Sullivan like implanted? Time to go back to Larry Williams drive time show where Ms O’Sullivan explains what MMP has stopped happening for the last decade or so privatisation.

various single issue or smaller parties will be able to point to wins they have had through [their] influence on the major parties that happens to be in power.  But there are also some big things that aren’t happening there are things from a business perspective.  No-one can talk about privatisation

No-one can talk about privatisation! well that’s probably because National took privatisation off the agenda last year fearing that it would remind everyone of the 1990s and lose them the 2008 election.  However it looks like it is back to the 1990s when it comes to electoral reform.  Ms O’Sullivan explains just where the push for getting rid of MMP is coming from.

Larry Williams: Are you expecting vigorous debate on it we had Peter Shirtcliffe last time [is he] still going to be in there?

 Fran O’Sullivan: Yes Peter and Graham Hunt have teamed up again to push this one they are definitely in there. And Peter has been saying a few words behind the scenes

 Frog wants to know who Mr Shirtcliffe has been having a few words and why the once valiant defender of First Past the Post is now floating the idea of a  Supplementary Member system the exact same system John Key favours and a system that will lead to smaller parties being decimated.

Whoever Mr Shirtcliffe was chatting to about the alleged evils of MMP it probably wasn’t  Bill English.  In 2007 Mr English told the media a National-controlled government would NOT hold a referendum on MMP.  By 2008 with National riding high in the polls holding a referendum became National party policy and Mr English’s view was according to Mr Key  a ‘personal one’.

22 comments on “Fran lets the plan slip ”

  1. Ari 1

    The reason they’re all floating SM is really simple: It’s almost as bad as FPP, but this way they don’t look like regressive tweeds who can’t handle proper political representation, and instead come off as “concerned citizens” who care about electorate voters.

    Somebody fetch me a bucket.

  2. Tigger 2

    I can think of other things I would ‘let drop’ at these types of business functions…

  3. Ron 3

    Slogan for the campaign:
    “Sutcliffe, Hunt, Privateers – “They want your vote – so that you can’t use it. Don’t give it to them”

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Wonder what will happen if we lose our democracy again? It’s obvious National and their backers don’t like the idea of us having it,

  5. Herodotus 5

    There is little to control parliament under MMP, as one who voted for it I have been alarmed at how this system has been manipulated into something I was not expecting (e.g. Dropping the Privy Council so easily), laws are past way to fast and in some cases what we get is very poor legislation. (I do not have enough space to list !)
    I believe that we need a return to an Upper House, to allow more thoughtful legislation and to stop 50.1% of MP’s passing some forms of law.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Actually, laws pass far slower now than under the previous FPP. Getting rid of the privy council was a good idea (we really do need to grow up and look after ourselves and stop running back to England). It’s actually harder to manipulate now due to actually having to have 50%+ of the voters support whereas under FPP it was easy to gerrymander the electorates to get as many seats as you wished (there’s a reason why there where more National governments previously and it’s got nothing to do with their popularity).

      If you weren’t expecting the present system then you probably didn’t fully understand it (I know I didn’t) when you voted.

      • Herodotus 5.1.1

        The speed that a law can be passed has slowed down, BUT I believe that there are not enough checks and balances, the processis still far to quick for my liking, and bad laws have been/are and will be passed.
        Just because FPP had limitations I believe that MMP should not only be measure against this solely.
        I would like the best system for NZ (This will NEVER be perfect), and some politicial parties may suffer with a reduction in numbers, but whom is the system to benefit… Politicians or the country?
        The addition of an Upper House I believe would improve our system for many reason and provide better governance.

        • Pascal's bookie

          ” Politicians or the country?”

          I think we all agree that it should benefit the country, the questions is how do get that?

          Proportionality serves that ideal. Saying that some parties might lose some seats in a better system presupposes that those parties are the problem, and that the part of the country those parties represent should just shut up for the benefit of, who?

          I take your point on checks and balances, but they aren’t solutions in and of themselves. The US is riddled with them and they have enormous problems getting things done, and getting sensible legislation passed. All that happens is that the horse trading goes on for longer, and things get messier, not clearer. It would be nice if politicians all sat down and reasoned out perfect solutions, but they don’t, won’t, and arguably can’t.

          Political parties exist, and oppose each other, and horse trade, bicker and argue not just because ‘politics’ is a career, but because there are very real and irreconcilable differences of opinion about how to do things amoungst the citizenry. It is a Good Thing that those opinions are recognised and negotiated around.

          Given those differences, I think we don’t do to bad. The system is not proportional enough IMV, but it’s better than most. This means that all those views are represented, and parliamentarians just need to horse trade a majority in the house. Having to negotiate a second majority in another house solves what? The same differences of opinion should exist there too. If we gerrymander the second house to remove some of those opinions, whose do we remove, and how do we justify doing that?

          We have a short electoral cycle and a system that allows for parties to get wiped out if they fuck around too much. There’s your check

          • Herodotus

            Unfortunately it took far too long for NZ1, had to wait for a reason that Winny should have said sorry. Except for Ron Marks all we got from NZ1 was light entertainment.
            Too greater proportant rep removes a connection between voter and MP. A trend that is happening and will continue is that Auck & Wellington will be over rep with MP’s (Wellington more so as many out of towners have semi perm residents there). In my area we have 1 resident MP. Some areas have up to 4 with electrate offices in their area.
            Also 1 thing that I have noticed that parties could learn (Esp Labour) is that there are too many professional MP’s, who for long periods of time that is all they live for, NO REAL WORLD EXPERIENCES, like how much does it really cost for a family to live on. This was shown with Helen C’s answer to what is the definition of being poor, John K gave an answer that many could relate to, HC was an intellectual answer with what I thought no understanding of what it really means

        • Draco T Bastard

          The addition of an Upper House I believe would improve our system for many reason and provide better governance.


          From what I can make out it’s a rather stupid system. If both houses are caught by the same parties then the upper house is just a rubber stamp and if there are different factions then it’s just a bunch kids fighting with each other and nothing gets done.

          • Herodotus

            It could go that way, but with a 4 year term with 2 different election cycyles. Say 2012 and 2014 then there is a facilitly that if the Upper house is failing then a change could happen, so the house could rep the current lay of the land. Also this would be by electorates, whilst the other is a form of MMP/STP or some mixed rep.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Having two electoral cycles would end up with the same issues. The only time anything would get done would be when one party or faction has control of BOTH houses.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.2

      hehe. have you been watching the us senate for the last twenty years?

  6. lprent 6

    H. Perhaps you’d share the basis you’d like an upper house to be elected of appointed on. I can’t see how it would work in nz. Perhaps regionally. With 50% from Auckland province? Or ethnically appointed by iwi?

  7. Herodotus 7

    For a start the election cycle should be extended to 4 years, like US I am in favour of splitting the voting for the Senate to 50% for every 2 years. So the Upper House is still “connected” to the sway of the people. Note to sure how to split the country – I will throw this how about as per the Super 14 zones and a Maori team! It is about time the NZRU gave something back to kiwis !
    Lower House (Tribune) a mix of proportion & electorates.
    But I am willing to hear of how a 2 house government could work by better able people than myself.

  8. Fran O'Sullivan 8

    Goodness Eddie – surely you have enough on your plate organising the weekend’s events instead of getting lathered up over the fact that I put the MMP referendum into the public domain in my column last week.
    In fact – as I have written on Frog’s blog- Key did not leak the referendum to me, he simply answered a direct question from some business person at a business breakfast in Auckland. So I picked up on it.

    And yes I do support FPP – more of which later – with the proviso of introduction of an Upper House.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      See above.

    • lprent 8.2

      Actually Eddie is not one of the people I’d have picked as being a Labour supporter. But hey your sources in National seem to be pretty good.. Perhaps you have a high-placed mole in Labour as well? But it doesn’t look like it from your writing

      • Fran O'Sullivan 8.2.1

        Iprent – You should get out more.

        • lprent

          Keep thinking about it. But the 7 day weeks with 12 hour days writing C++ and python in the current contract tend to diminish my opportunities. It is going to be nice to have a long weekend off (well sort of).

  9. Fran O’Sullivan is so far to the right tha tshe makes Bush look like a plunket nurse. Unfortunatly Im afraid her views are shared by this present government . They are prepairing the country for wide scale privatization and unless we can get them out at the next election Aoteroa will be owned and ruled by overseas big business. The left must close rank and co-operate to make sure smilling Key and his hard right are not returned in1911.
    Brash Shirtcliffe ,and all the Roundtable and all the other ghastly far Right and slowly but surely takinging over. Only the political left can save NZ .
    The pink postman.

  10. Fran O’Sullivan is so far to the Right she makes W.Bush look like a plunket nurse. Unfortunatly she has the ear of Key and his far Right Government. Smilling Key and his business friends plan
    to privatize Aoteroa .They are in the process of doing this now and if they are returned in 1911 Aoteroa will be completely owned by overseas big business,Brash Shirtcliffe and the BRT will have at last achieved their wishes.The only way to stop this take over is for the political Left to close ranks and fully co-operate in defeating this Government in n1911. There is no doubt a united Left can do this .However Right-Wing reporters such as’Sullivan will do their utmost to divide the various factions of the Left.Its up to us to tell O’Sullivan and her ilk that we do not want her idea of Aoteroa.

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