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Kiwis happy with MMP

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, January 14th, 2011 - 98 comments
Categories: electoral systems, referendum - Tags:

The Right hates MMP. Back in the good old FPP days, about 20% of voters backed leftwing parties like Values, the Alliance, and Social Credit but got nearly no representation. National could govern alone with just 35% of the vote or fewer votes than the other major party. The Right was happy with that.

Now, far fewer voters are disenfranchised, there is a geniune range of parties to choose from, and a government won’t be able to stand without the support of parties that have won the votes of a majority (or near majority) of voters. It makes the competition much fairer and has brought far more diversity to Parliament. The Right hates it.

So, they’ll be pissed that their attempt to scuttle MMP is failing with 51% of voters wanting to retain MMP according to a new Herald poll to 40% against, which is a huge increase in support since the last poll on the topic.

Don’t think they’ll give up easy. Peter Shirtcliffe and the other big money men won’t be able to spend $1.5 million smearing MMP like they did in 1993, thanks to the spending limit that Labour and the Greens got Simon Power to put into the referendum law. But they’ll try their damnest.

A vote to get rid of MMP and replace it with FPP-lite (also known as Supplementary Member) would put them back in full control and allow them to control their agenda of selling of public assets and slashing public services so they can give themselves tax cuts unfettered by pesky public opinion.

The elite regard democracy as a pain the arse and would get rid of it entirely if they could. So, They badly want to win this referendum, and a fair few in the media will be trying to help them. We can’t rest on our laurels yet.

98 comments on “Kiwis happy with MMP ”

  1. lprent 1

    Nothing tells you as much about the herald on-line audience as the online poll on the same page. It is running 40% pro-MMP compared to 60% anti-MMP with close to 11,000 votes. The difference to the more rigorous digi poll of 51% pro to 40% against

    Of course it isn’t exactly hard to spoof online polls and to do it in a highly undetectable fashion. I’ve helped others with the various techniques a couple of times (and no – it isn’t illegal). I’m sure that the obsessive and talented contribute to the skewness of online polls.

    But is just hard to take any online poll that doesn’t require logins seriously. You’d have to wonder why the Herald bothers.

    • Blighty 1.1

      yes, gives you a rule of thumb for adjusting future Herald online polls to get an idea of the general pop’s view. – take about 20% off the rightwing position.

    • Rich 1.2

      It would be cool to have a systematic campaign of spoofing against online polls, maybe using some kind of distributed tool that people could download and run.

      If the results became sufficiently broken and impossible to fix, the media would have to stop using them, right (or just fake the results completely).

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Yes MMP and democracy in general is a pain the ass to the rich.

    They would far prefer a plutocracy and an economy which is structured as a plutonomy And today, in countries like USA, Canada, UK, that is what the rich already have. (Refer Citibank memo to private clients).

    Real democracy, as opposed to the appearance and trappings of democracy, is a real irritant to them.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/6674234/Citigroup-Oct-16-2005-Plutonomy-Report-Part-1

    • ZeeBop 2.1

      I disagree, democracy helps actually expands the number of rich people. MMP is not a perfect system, its actually serves the NZ rich very well given the inequality in income and basic trend for exporting young people along with bulk goods. MMP needs about 400 MPs to be workable. When the backbenches of the largest parties are able, capable and eager to unseat their government frontbenches a lot less crap will get into law. The rich are not the enemy, the fawning rich are, the gatekeeper positions that tell rich people how great they are and take fees for their dutiful servitude. They are the enablers all regimes have whether democratic or dictatorships, and how we choose them gives us the kind of rulers we deserve. So please its about poor rich people who need a soft wet bed to easier their troubles that’s the problem. If the rich want respect they would be making it hard work for themselves, and so win real kudos when they are successful. But what has happened due to cheap oil and cheap debt is we made very many many wealthy people very very easierly and they really have done nothing but exploit, destroy climate, pollute, shift risk onto the poor, etc, etc. There were very few rich people In Saddams Iraq, or Kims N.Korea. There are many rich people in S.Korea because it is a democracy. There are fewer in NZ because its not as democratic as it could be.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        What.

        There are many rich people in S.Korea because it is a democracy. There are fewer in NZ because its not as democratic as it could be.

        Tell me the year South Korea transitioned away from being a dictatorship and had democratic elections.

        There are many rich people in S.Korea because it is a democracy.

        Nope. Samsung, LG, Hyundai, etc. did not thrive because of democracy. They thrived because of active government economic participation.

        Remember – Korea’s main export in the 1930’s and 1940’s was fish and vegetables.

        I disagree, democracy helps actually expands the number of rich people.

        It does not do that. And it is the wrong goal.

        NZ does not need an extra 1000 millionaires.

        It needs an extra $1000 p.a. in the back pockets of every New Zealander.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Well, maybe not every NZer. I’m pretty sure that JK and Blinglish don’t need an extra $1k per annum.

  3. Brett 3

    Mmp would be ok, if they raised the threshold to 10%.
    It’s all these wanky small extremist parties that are turning people off mmp.

    • Mise 3.1

      Have a problem with your idea that there a lot of small parties “all”.

      Increasing the threshold as you suggest would not replace the, Maori, ACT party, United Future, of Jims Progressive Party that’s 4 out of the 5 small parties in Parliament. These parties are in because they have won an electorate seat.

      Since the 50’s an increasing percentage of voters (around 20%) turned against the two major parties. That is one of the reasons why the-first-past-the-post system became so rotten and undemocratic – when governments who got less than 40% of the popular vote could run the country.

      I agree with you about MMP it is the fairest of the options we’ve got.

    • QoT 3.2

      I disagree, but do want to clarify that you want a 10% threshold and to get rid of people coming in on electorates – otherwise the only “small extremist party” you’ll get rid of will be the Greens, as everyone else is still in on electorate seats.

    • Blighty 3.3

      why would a 10% threshold be more democratic?

      • Colonial Viper 3.3.1

        Well, any electoral change which increases National’s influence is clearly more democratic.

      • Brett 3.3.2

        The 10% threshold should apply to list seats.
        If the greens can muster 10% of the vote, they deserve to be in parliament.

        • Blighty 3.3.2.1

          “If the greens can muster 10% of the vote, they deserve to be in parliament.”

          Why do they deserve to be in Parliament if they get 10% but not if they get 5%, or 9.5% … or 4.5%, for that matter?

          I guess what I’m looking for is an argument about why 10% is good, not just an assertion that it is.

          • Brett 3.3.2.1.1

            From my observations smaller parties tend to have a very narrow way of thinking, it’s either my way or nothing else(Greens, Alliance,Act) or they tend to be more about the glory of the leader(Jim Anderton party, Peter Dunne party).
            Once you get up around 10% you would expect to get a bit more diversity in the mix, which would curtail the more nuttier elements within a party making for more cohesive partnerships between parties.

            • Blighty 3.3.2.1.1.1

              But why shouldn’t a party be allowed in Parliament if it has a ‘narrow’ agenda? If a small percentage of voters say that a certain ‘narrow’ agenda best matches their views, why shouldn’t there be a correspondingly small number of seats for that Party? The alternative you’re proposing means that if your political views don’t conform to those of a large party then you get no voice in Parliament. How is that democratic?

              (personally I don’t know how you could describe the Green’s, the Alliance, or ACT as having narrow agendas – they all want to make radical change)

              the orginal justification for the threshold when MMP was introduced in post-War Germany was to stop Neo-Nazi parties getting a foothold. Their 4% threshold has been more than sufficient to stop that threat, which isn’t an issue here anyway.

              • Brett

                personally I don’t know how you could describe the Green’s, the Alliance, or ACT as having narrow agendas – they all want to make radical change

                Greens- The greens are a religion, and like other religions there’s no half measures, it’s either the whole hog, as nothing else is acceptable.
                Alliance – I get the feeling nothing short of 1950’s style soviet Russia is acceptable for these guys. Heaps of ideas, but they all fall within the state owns everything mindset.
                Act – Total opposite to the Alliance, would not come as a surprise if the Act party died of boneitis

                • McFlock

                  “Alliance – I get the feeling nothing short of 1950′s style soviet Russia is acceptable for these guys. Heaps of ideas, but they all fall within the state owns everything mindset.”

                  No, just a realisation that “each working in their own self interest” doesn’t always make for a decent or sustainable community. Especially when 5% of people working in their own self interest are considerably more powerful than everybody else.

                  To twist a cliche: when money talks, democracy walks.

                • Marty G

                  you’re avoiding the issue, Brett.

                  why shouldn’t a green voter get a voice in Parliament just because they make up less than 10% of the population but a Labour voter should?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Greens- The greens are a religion, and like other religions there’s no half measures, it’s either the whole hog, as nothing else is acceptable.

                  If this is so, then right wing Chicago school free market neoliberalism is a *cult*.

                • Ari

                  Stop playing the person and start playing the ball, Brett. What systematic problems with New Zealand democracy demand any threshold at all, let alone a 10% one?

                  If people want to be represented by vain personality parties, that’s still their choice, and you really haven’t presented any evidence that letting them have that choice is dangerous to our democracy. It’s not enough for you to disagree with their views, they have to be a severely destabilising factor, which no small party has even come close to.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      The reality is that some parties have a threshold of ~1% as they get in on electorate seats (The Maori Party, Peter Dunne Party, ACT etc). Every other party has a threshold of 5%. Why the discrepancy? In fact, I’d say that discrepancy is undemocratic and that the threshold needs to be set at 1%.

      There’s nothing wrong with small parties getting into parliament. In fact, them doing so would benefit our politics as then those small parties would get experience in actually running the country and we’d have better representation of the people. I also think that the number of list seats should equal the number of electorate seats – if we keep electorate seats.

      • Ari 3.4.1

        Totally agreed- I’ve long said the list threshold should be to win a seat outright via the party vote, which equates to winning about .87% of the total party vote. That’s easily achievable and lets people vote for who they genuinely want as an electorate MP rather than “strategically voting” to get the smaller parties into Parliament.

        Are you proposing putting a hard cap of 60 electorates on the EC? That might be an okay idea. I certainly don’t want too much growth in electorates as that might upset proportionality badly.

        And yes, I am aware that this probably helps out the likes of ACT and New Zealand First, but you don’t get to pick and choose who benefits with democratic reforms, you do them because it’s the right thing to do.

  4. Sam 4

    You can’t say the right hate MMP. Or at least not universally anyway. Yes, all surveys (Research NZ, Colmar Brunton, Digipoll, UMR, ShapeNZ) show National voters have a significantly lower preference to MMP than other voters. But there is still a sizeable amount of National party voters who back MMP – 37 per cent in the case of the December 2010 Colmar Brunton. And last year’s Shape NZ poll told us that while 45 per cent of the National voters they surveyed said MMP was worse than FPP, 30 per cent said it was better and 15 per cent about the same. So, while the evidence does back up a strong preference among National Party voters for not keeping MMP, there is enough of the National support base who back it. And if enough of them do back it, MMP will win at the end of this year.

    • Shazzadude 4.1

      Agreed Sam. A more accurate statement would be to say that the majority of right voters do not support MMP.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        I wonder what proportion of National MPs support MMP, personally.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          Probably the same proportion that got in via the list and not an electorate seat 😉

      • The Baron 4.1.2

        45% isn’t a majority, it is instead just the largest proportion.

        Sam you’re blowing sh*t uphill anyway. The first rule of propaganda is to demonise the enemy – exactly in the way that Marty starts a post like this.

        Lefty values shine on.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1

          The first rule of propaganda is to demonise the enemy –

          Interesting how the Right Wing always take their very own attitudes and playbook, and projects it on to their opponents.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      “And last year’s Shape NZ poll told us that while 45 per cent of the National voters they surveyed said MMP was worse than FPP, 30 per cent said it was better and 15 per cent about the same.”

      Is this ‘National voters at the 2008 election’? How many people voted for National in the first time in their lives in 2008?

      Obviously this isn’t going to account for all of the difference, but I would suggest that traditional leftists who voted National in 2008 for whatever reason would have significantly different political views to those who always vote National.

    • Ari 4.3

      Who said it was voters we were talking about when we said the Right hates MMP? The voters on the right tend to be annoyed that it’s made electorates have less impact a lot more than the ones on the left are, but there’s still a big chunk of them that support it.

      No, the real opposition to MMP is within the National Party caucus. (and to some extents the Labour Party caucus too, although even the ones that don’t quite like MMP as it is don’t want to upset proportionality quite as much as National does)

  5. happynz 5

    MMP hopefully stays. I like the two ticks.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      And if it stays we can get some work done on making it better and more responsive as a democratic tool.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        Two changes I would make:
        1. Lower the threshold to 3.5% for list representation
        2. Parties that get less than the threshold but win an electorate seat, should get at most 1 extra list member from the party vote.

        This way if a small party won 3 electorate seats and party vote equivalent of 5 seats in total (short of the currently required 6 from 5%), they would get 4 seats in parliament, not 5.

        If they won 1 electorate seat with party vote equivalent of 5 seats, they would get only 2 seats in parliament, not 5. This ensures that electorate seats are still important for small parties, instead of just spending all their resources for a single electorate and then a general party vote over the rest of the country.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          So you think that removing the proportionality of MMP is a good idea?

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            Not necessarily a good idea (and really Lanth’s suggestion is more like scaling the proprotionality), but the dynamics and power of the single electorate seat need to be completely rethought.

          • Lanthanide 5.1.1.1.2

            For every party that gets over the threshold, and in my suggestions that’s 3.5%, it is fully proportional. You win 15% of the vote and 1 electorate, you get 15% of the seats in parliament.

            It is only when you don’t breach the threshold that the proportionality is trimmed, and IMO that makes perfect sense. Act got 5 MPs into parliament and NZ First got 0. These suggestions would fix that.

            Either of my suggestions could work standalone and go some way to fixing MMP, but I think both, or at least versions of both, are necessary – I can imagine the threshold being lowered to 4% because that’s a nice round number, for example.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.2.1

              If they won 1 electorate seat with party vote equivalent of 5 seats, they would get only 2 seats in parliament, not 5.

              That’s directly cutting the proportionality.

              The problem you have is that the threshold is, ATM, so high that winning one seat and less than the threshold can still bring in a few extra seats to maintain proportionality while having another party, which didn’t win a seat but having a higher number of party votes but not enough to pass the threshold, doesn’t get a seat at all. There’s only one solution to that – drop the threshold so that it’s equivalent to an electorate (about 1.2% of the vote).

              • QoT

                I’ve always quite liked the notion of a 1.2% threshold, but I’ll happily admit that’s because it just seems like a neat, tidy way to work things out than anything else.

              • Lanthanide

                I believe the purpose of the threshold is to stop lots of 1-member parties getting into parliament and doing nothing (while getting paid handsomely) because they don’t really have any ideas or can’t work with any other parties constructively in parliament. These people can still get into parliament if they win an electorate (Dunne, Anderton), but to do this they must have strong support within that particular electorate. If the threshold were only 1.2% it’s easy to imagine that there could end up being 4-6 1-seat-wonder “parties” that did nothing but take up space in parliament.

                Basically you’re arguing against having a threshold at all, whereas my suggestions are for keeping the threshold but ameliorating the two worst side-effects from it: – single electorates become proportionally important with a threshold that is isn’t actually that easy to get over (see repeated doubts about the Greens chances and NZ First at the last election).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Basically you’re arguing against having a threshold at all,

                  Nope, I’m asking for the threshold to be the same for every party. Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton actually had enough support through out the country to get one seat each but they didn’t actually get in on that support. They got in with much less through the FPP of electorate voting which only requires a plurality and not a majority.

                  And having no threshold doesn’t actually work. You do need to have a minimum of enough to support 1 seat.

                  If the threshold were only 1.2% it’s easy to imagine that there could end up being 4-6 1-seat-wonder “parties” that did nothing but take up space in parliament.

                  Don’t agree with that either. I’m pretty sure that PD does actually do some work and probably has some value the same as JA had some in the last governmental term. And I don’t think those people who vote for those parties should be dis-empowered any more than they already are. They have a right to have their voices heard as well.

                  • Lanthanide

                    When I said “no threshold” I meant a threshold of 1.2%. Obviously a threshold of 1.1% or lower would be pointless because they wouldn’t win a full seat anyway.

                    When I was talking about one-seat-wonder parties, I wasn’t talking about PD or JA because they both won their electorate seats, and have been part of larger parties in the past and proven their worth. Can you say the same of a party like RAM or The Communist Party or Legalise Cannabis Aotearoa who might get enough votes to beat a 1.2% threshold?

                    • Marty G

                      actually, you could win a seat with as little as 0.5%. Imagine that there’s two parties and 100 seats, one party gets 99.5% of the vote and one gets 0.5%. The first 99 seats go to the first party but (assuming the second party got slightly more than 0.5%) the last one could go to the other party and that would be more proportional than all 100 going to the first party

                      The Sainte-Lague formula is a bit more complicated than that, but the point stands.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And that’s an excuse for people to lose their voice why exactly? And guess what? As they get voted in they get more experience and thus become better or the people stop voting for them.

                      BTW, if we went full proportional it’d be 0.8% (1/120) for a seat. 1.2% is approximately the full count of an electorate (actually, might be a little low).

                    • Lanthanide

                      Draco – because the point of a government is to govern and make decisions, not to be bogged down interminably with compromises and tooing-and-frooing so that nothing gets done. That’s why people argue in favour of FPP, and why I believe they didn’t go with a 100% proportional system to begin with. I support MMP as it currently stands, it’s evident that you don’t. Neither of us are going to change each other’s opinions on the matter.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      To an extent I’m with Lanth on this one. Why can’t we as a country just (for instance) decide on and settle what we are doing with our super/savings programmes and then move on to the next thing. And not revisit and wreck the schemes every few years.

                      Having said that FPP was never any good at making a decision around super stick.

                      Which means that the electoral system is not the only factor at play in our unproductive political culture.

                    • Ari

                      RAM is a serious political movement with a lot of framework behind it. We’d be lucky to get them in Parliament.

                      If enough people want a Communist or Legalise MP, then they deserve to have one. I’m not sure why being a small proportion of the population makes people think it’s okay to nullify their votes.

        • Rob 5.1.1.2

          No there probably should be a threshold of 2-2.5% so we don’t get the issue where a party that gets a smaller percentage than one which wins a seat ends up like the ACT party did at the last election

  6. Green Tea 6

    “Now, far fewer voters are disenfranchised, there is a geniune range of parties to choose from, and a government won’t be able to stand without the support of parties that have won the votes of a majority (or near majority) of voters. It makes the competition much fairer and has brought far more diversity to Parliament.”

    So when all the parliamentary parties are in agreement that the only way forward is more of the same neoliberal garbage, thats diversity? Yeah there’s diversity, but there’s hardly idelogical diversity.

  7. Rharn 7

    The threshold should remain at 5%. No extra seats for the electorate seat. Ya get two votes. One for the party one for the electorate. Why should the electorate seat deliver more MP’s than the single canidate that was voted for?

  8. A vote to get rid of MMP and replace it with FPP-lite (also known as Supplementary Member) would put them back in full control

    That’s true. Supplementary Member would be a disaster. But on what do you base the assertion that that’s what they’re aiming for?

    More importantly, why are you raising the spectre of SM as the alternative to MMP when there are superior systems (such as multi-member electorates using STV) or better yet we sit down and have a national discussion to create a system that suits New Zealand?

    Who says we have to pick an off-the-shelf electoral system designed for someplace else? We’ve led the way in democracy – womens’ votes, indigenous peoples’ votes etc – let’s do it again.

    Unless “the left”* like the idea of list seat lackeys whose primary job is to suck up to the party leadership, and a system that actually encourages our elected “representatives” to permit their vote to be decided, and cast on their behalf, by a small elite within the party?

    * I can pretend all “the left” all think like this because you’re able to pretend all “the right” are also all anti-democratic.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      the focus is on SM because that’s what Key has said he wants. Business is more pro-FPP.

      this referendum is about protecting what we have from regression. trying to have a leftwing debate about a better alternative to MMP at the same time would just risk splitting the anti-regression vote. MMP can be improved after the battle is won

      • I missed that, BR. Well given my propensity for sonspiracy theories, I almost suspect that’s what they don’t want. I had the same theory at the last referendum – if they’d really wanted to keep FPP would they have let the hated ex-Chair of Telecom front the campaign in favour? They might as well have signed up Charles Manson to front the 90 day law.

        MMP entrenches the power of small elites within the parties since there are no rules – other than the parties’ own ones, which NZF has proved can be a tissue of lies – about who ranks the list, how open that process is, and so on.

        The only party that follows a process that encapsulates the spirit of MMP is the Greens – the rest use it as another tool to enforce groupthink on their MPs.

        It’s not perfect I admit, but if we decide at the referendum that we don’t like MMP we at least then get to debate alternatives. If we decide we do like it, we’re stuck with it for another few decades. Because just who is going to throw it open for further debate “after the battle is won”?

        • Ari 8.1.1.1

          This is why I’d rather we get to pick an MP we like from any party’s list to vote on their position in the list. That’s far more representative than electorate candidates, although I think selling that idea to rural NZ might be hard given how much they miss being overrepresented in Parliament and having their own special constituencies. When the only control the parties have is whether or not to list a candidate, they’ll look a lot more draconian throwing someone with popular support under the bus by de-listing them.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      If you had any more irony Rex we could smelt you down and turn you into an oil tanker.

    • Lanthanide 8.3

      “More importantly, why are you raising the spectre of SM as the alternative to MMP when there are superior systems (such as multi-member electorates using STV) or better yet we sit down and have a national discussion to create a system that suits New Zealand?”

      If we go down that route it’ll be at least a decade before anything gets done – as it is it is going to be 6 years before we determine the exact outcome of the current proposed referenda. The established electoral systems have volumes of statistical and theoretical underpinnings behind them proving that they’re fair and achieve XYZ purpose. Creating our own system from scratch is risky if the research to back it up isn’t also done.

      Have a look at this page for an overview of the sorts of analysis done on voting systems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system The summary table at 3.4.1 is mind-bending.

      • Colonial Viper 8.3.1

        The established electoral systems have volumes of statistical and theoretical underpinnings behind them proving that they’re fair and achieve XYZ purpose.

        The extensive research on those systems also cover large numbers of suggestions and options for improvement. NZ could take a look at those.

      • Creating our own system from scratch is risky if the research to back it up isn’t also done.

        Agreed. After all, there’s only so many ways one can cast a vote…

        Sorry, I was somewhat imprecise about alternative processes because I didn’t want to imply I had the answers, but my preference would be to take those systems as a starting point and then look at how they could be altered to tailor them to suit NZ without destroying the basis on which they operate.

  9. iPredict: New Zealanders to vote to RETAIN the MMP system (This contract pays $1 if the official result of the first Referendum question in 2011 is to RETAIN the MMP voting system. Otherwise this contract pays $0.)

    Last trade price: 84.11c

  10. M@tt 10

    Where’s your evidence that the Right “hates” MMP systems? As a conservative I have no problem with it, it’s the left that get’s all worked up when parties right wing parties get in thanks to MMP.

    • Marty G 10.1

      the fact that the Right ran a $1.5 million anti-MMP campaign in 1993. That several leading Nats have said they oppose MMP, including Brash and Key (who wants FPP-lite/SM). The fact that Rodney Hide has repeatedly stated he opposes MMP.

      I don’t see anyone blaming MMP for Act.

  11. Jo 11

    ‘More importantly, why are you raising the spectre of SM as the alternative to MMP when there are superior systems (such as multi-member electorates using STV) or better yet we sit down and have a national discussion to create a system that suits New Zealand?’

    Rex, we did have a national conversation about what system would suit NZ. The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform conducted it in 1986 and decided, after that national conversation, that MMP was the system most suited to NZ, because it combined electoral seats that we were used to, with list seats that achieved proportionality.

    If we vote for MMP at the referendum there will be an independent review of the MMP system, to look at how it can be improved. I would far rather we had an opportunity to improve a proportional system that we already have and have got used to and that isn’t leading to really terrible abuses of power, than try to start all over again with some new system.

    STV is not the greatest thing since sliced bread for national level politics. STV encourages voters to vote for the personalities rather than for the politics or principles. We would end up with a lot more one-person individualists with high profiles being elected – more mavericks – rather than people who can work well with others. The ‘quiet achievers’ that lists can bring in, will be lost. STV is ok when you’re electing a mayor and a 12 seat council with limited power but not ok for running the country.

    • We had conversations about a lot of things 20 years ago, Jo. We’ve changed since then – at least most of us have. More to the point, we’ve had a chance to actually see what MMP brings, in 1986 we accepted it sight unseen.

      We would end up with a lot more one-person individualists with high profiles being elected – more mavericks – rather than people who can work well with others. The ‘quiet achievers’ that lists can bring in, will be lost.

      Oh, you’re just teasing me now, aren’t you?! You really want me to list the list MPs who’re so “quiet” no one would no who they are because they never ask a question (aside from the odd patsy), never promote a Bill, never issue a press release (aside from the odd one regurgitated from their respective leader’s office)…?

      I could start with the entire NZF caucus during the the previous National and last Labour governments, since they’re the ones I’m most familiar with.

      You say “maverick”, I say “someone who won’t automatically vote the way they’re told but will actually think about the issue and maybe even *gasp* consult their electorate“. That’s how Parliament was actually designed to work, you realise? Parties came along later and perverted the concept.

  12. Eddie 12

    The funniest thing I’ve seen all day is Slater comparing the Herald’s scientific MMP poll with the results of the online Herald poll, seeing that the online poll favours MMP much more than the scientific poll and, from that, concluding that the scientific poll is biased.

  13. Tanz 13

    Not true. It’s just the media spinning the odds, as usual. MMP is loathed by more than just the right, for both the list MPs (who get voted out but stay, anyway), and the stupid low threshold, that allows loony parties of the Left fo have far to much say (and yes, So, wait for the referendum (finally!, one that Labour never gave us), and then report on facts,not wishes, or spin! If MMP stays, the country will truly be screwed forever.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Threshold should probably be dropped to 2.5% to reduce the number of wasted votes and the electorate seat lifeboat clause re-examined.

      • prism 13.1.1

        CV I think that is far too low – 2.5% brings possibility of too many fractionated and fractious parties getting a toe in, possibly single focus pressure parties, when they have a more limited interest in the welfare of the country than the present incumbents.

    • Marty G 13.2

      “the stupid low threshold, that allows loony parties of the Left fo have far to much say”

      If 5% of voters support a party, shouldn’t that party have 5% of the seats? What could be fairer than that?

      • Tanz 13.2.1

        But one in twenty people vote for the small parties, or even less. Then they get to wag the tail of dog, and we get stuck with policy making that the majority certainly never wanted, or voted for, nor even knew about.

        Light bulbs, fire crackers, smacking, or not, Emmissions trading, EFA, bossing kids (and parents) about what they eat during school time. Honestly. If not for MMP, Rodney would not be there, Winston would never have chosen the government way back when and election results would be far more transparent and fair.

        MMP, what a drag it is.

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1

          MMP, what a drag it is.

          But you’d prefer a Government whom only 35-40% of people voted for – typical under FPP.

          Now that is something which truly sucks wind.

          • Tanz 13.2.1.1.1

            But at least there were no list MPs, who got rejected by the voters, but found a place in Parliament, anyway, along with all the perks and pleasures. That truly sucks the wind, in my view. What a farce.

            Also, small parties could not hold the big players to ransom, as they do now. National have to be really nice to their coalition partners, don’t they.

            Another point, if MMP is such a great system, why does hardly any other country have it? Even Canada rejected it, how very wise of them. They looked to our track record in it, and gave themselves the heebie jeebies. I wonder why?

            • Marty G 13.2.1.1.1.1

              “But at least there were no list MPs, who got rejected by the voters, but get a place in Parliament”

              ever heard of safe seats? Otherwise unelectable people were just given safe seats, from which they would never be evicted. In practice, it was the same as list seats.

              • Tanz

                Yep, point taken. Still, the list system should go. It’s not democratic, and leaves these MPs accountable only to their party bosses.

                • orange whip?

                  For someone so opposed to it you don’t seem to understand how MMP works at all.

                  That “other” vote you’ve heard people talking about on election day? That’s for the list MPs.

            • Marty G 13.2.1.1.1.2

              ‘hardly any other country has it’

              Germany has it, Scotland has it, Wales has it, Hungary has it.

              Other countries have other forms of proportional representation: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Latvia, Estonia, Mexico, South Africa, the EU, Israel, Bolivia, Brazil, Japan, Russia… I could go on.

              Oh and then there’s STV, which is kind of proportional and Aussie uses that among others

              Canada has not had an election for MMP. Ontario had a vote and it was rejected because the government refused to fund any kind of information campaign and most people didn’t even know there was a vote.

            • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1.1.3

              And because of a few dozen list MP’s, some of whom are outstanding, you still prefer a Government that only 35-40% of people voted for, and that still truly sucks wind.

        • Marty G 13.2.1.2

          “But one in twenty people vote for the small parties, or even less”

          One in twenty is 5%. Do you seriously think that less than 5% of people voted for the small parties last election? In 2008, 79% of people voted for either National or Labour. That means 21%, one in five, voted for the small parties. You want to disenfranchise one in five New Zealanders just because they don’t support one of the two major parties. You seem to think your vote matters because you support National and mine matters because I support Labour but another guy’s doesn’t because he supports ACT or the Greens or whomever. I don’t think that you and I deserve a voice in Parliament more than that other guy.

          You list a handful of small policies, some of which were not brought in by small parties (the EFA for example and the incandescent bulb standards). Do you really consider small parties getting a few small policies through is ‘wagging the dog’? Or is is just representatives of a portion of the population having a proportionate influence?

          “election results would be far more transparent and fair”

          Like in 1978 when the party with fewer votes won a majority of seats and governed alone?
          Or in 1981 when it happened again?
          Or in 1993 when a party with 35% of the votes (0.5% more than the second party) got a majority of seats and governed alone and a party with 18% of the vote and one with 8% of the vote each got 2% of the seats each?
          Or 1990 when 17% of people voted for parties that got 1% of seats between them?
          Or 1984 when 20% of people voted for parties that got 1% of seats between them?
          Or 1975 when 13% of people voted for parties that got no seats?
          Or 1966 when 15% of people voted for a party that got 1 seat?
          Or 1954 when 11% of the people voted for a party and got no seats?

          Yeah, that was really fair and transparent. Single parties could govern alone having won less votes than the other major party, or just over a third of the total votes, while up to 20% of the people were effectively denied representation in parliament.

        • orange whip? 13.2.1.3

          Tanz “But one in twenty people vote for the small parties, or even less.”

          Yeah one in twenty is 5 percent. Numbers are neat aren’t they?

          Again, If 5 percent of people vote for a party, why shouldn’t they have 5 percent of the seats?

          edit: I see Marty has already explained this at far more length and far more patiently than I could ever be bothered to. But I reckon you’ll probably skip his comment and read mine anyway.

          • Tanz 13.2.1.3.1

            I pointed that out to reiterate my earlier comment that the threshold is too low. The small parties get far too much say, given their low proportionality at the polls. You are splitting hairs, Orange Whip.

            • Marty G 13.2.1.3.1.1

              “I pointed that out to reiterate my earlier comment that the threshold is too low”

              you’ve asserted that the threshold is too low. You’ve failed to provide any sensible argument as to why that is the case. Your vague claim about ‘wagging the dog’ doesn’t stand up to analysis – minor parties’ influence on government policy reflects their size – they get some policies, yes, and help shape others, but they don’t control the government.

              • Pete

                I agree that the “wagging the dog” claim doesn’t seem to happen, it’s either a fear or a scare without any evidence.

                MMP works fairly well for us but it could possibly be improved a bit . The threshold definitely shouldn’t be raised. I’d prefer to see it tweaked down a bit, trying to move it too far might build too much opposition.

            • orange whip? 13.2.1.3.1.2

              Bollocks Tanz.

              Give an example. Show us where these minor parties are wielding influence disproportionately greater than their share of the vote.

              The truth is you want to see a less representative parliament and less proportionality. Come out and say it, chicken.

  14. vto 14

    vote them out

    it’s the only way.

  15. Tanz 15

    Greens over Labour, Sue Bradford wielding the whip, for one. The obvious one. Someone who would never have been in Parliament without MMP. Dunne, the fence sitter, who swings to either side if it benefits him, or allows him to stay in the House. Orange Whip, I want to see a Parliament that reflects the majority of the vote, not the minority, and a Parliament where the faces are faces that the people actually voted for. Fairness, that’s all. Something the Left never care about. Chicken? Whatever.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      And yet you still back FPP, a system where a Government can rule when only 35-40% of the people voted for it, disenfranchising the other 60-65% of voters.

      (It does make me laugh when righties talk about ‘fairness’ when they really mean fairness for a few)

    • Marty G 15.2

      The Greens got a few minor policies through (including s59, which National voted for too, remember?). And why shouldn’t a party with 6% of the vote get a few policies through?

      I’m sorry, you just haven’t shown that the Greens exerted disproportionate influence over Labour. Indeed, most people agree that Labour treated the Greens poorly and gave them too little.

      “I want to see a Parliament that reflects the majority of the vote, not the minority”

      So, you think that only a party that gets over 50% should have seats?

      “a Parliament where the faces are faces that the people actually voted for”

      Someone who voted Green in 2005 *actually* voted for Sue Bradford, Fitzsimmons, etc. You knew that your party vote was going towards getting the people high on the Greens list into power. The voters knew which individuals they were supporting, as well as the party.

      “Fairness, that’s all”

      you’ve chickened out of addressing the fact that First Past the Post routinely delivered manifestly unfair results – as I outlined in my comment above.

      • Marty G 15.2.1

        another thing to consider about living with First Past the Post: say you lived in a safe seat for the opposite major party – like you’re a National supporter who lives in Mt Albert or a Labour supporter who lives in Clutha-Southland. Every time you vote it counts for nothing, nothing at all. You’re robbed of a vote merely because of where you live.

    • orange whip? 15.3

      Tanz,

      I want to see a Parliament that reflects the majority of the vote, not the minority

      Exactly. Your objection is to minor parties having any influence.

      You are fundamentally opposed to proportionality.

      • Tanz 15.3.1

        Rubbish, Orange Whip. I just think the threshhold is too low, and the small parties have too much influence. Don’t put words into my mouth, thanks. I would be happy to see FPP back, it’s a system the country actually thrived under. If sleeping dogs had been left to lie, then I bet we would be far more prosperous now, far more in line with the Australian economy. MMP has held this country back in many ways, it allows bickering, in-fighting and corruption to thrive. It always benefits the small parties of the Left, while the majority are left to suck wind.

        • Bright Red 15.3.1.1

          The gap with Australia opened up from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, under FPP.

          From 1998 to 2008, NZ experienced its largest post-War economic boom and the gap actually closed slightly, under MMP.

          You really haven’t bothered to check any facts eh?

          You haven’t shown that minor parties have disproportionate influence or a mechanism via which MMP supposedly hampers economic growth.

          And you haven’t explained why FPP is ‘fairer’ given all those unfair results listed above.

          The way you ignore Marty’s comments is pretty cowardly, too. It just shows you have no argument and are incapable of admitting you are wrong

          • Pascal's bookie 15.3.1.1.1

            “And you haven’t explained why FPP is ‘fairer’ given all those unfair results listed above.”

            MMP is unfair because it lets the bloody greens in,
            even though they are only about ten times as popular as the crazy christian clan,
            who don’t get in.

            That’s why.

            • Blighty 15.3.1.1.1.1

              the funny thing with the conservative mindset is that, if MMP had been the system in place when Tanz was growing up, he would now be arguing for it tooth and nail against this scary, new FPP and a return to good old MMP.

              The reason robust arguments and facts from Marty and others make no impact on Tanz is because there’s no logic in Tanz’s position. It doesn’t come from logic, so it can’t be affected by logic.

              • Tanz

                Tanz is a she, not a he, by the way. I never pined for MMP, never wanted it, and at least Key is giving NZ the chance to dump it, finally. Fingers crossed it ends up in the dustbin of history, forever and ever! I do not ignore Marty G’s comments, I just don’t agree with them. That is allowed, still?

                [lprent: Yes, of course – it is in the policy. However how much credence other people put in your disagreement is based on the quality of your comments stating why you disagree. To date in my opinion you’re not particularly good at that part of the dialogue – as most of the people disagreeing with you seem to be pointing out 😈 ]

                • orange whip?

                  You also failed to address them.

                  And you’ve still provided no examples of minor parties having more influence than their share of the vote.

                  And your reply to Blighty proves Blighty’s point (which you didn’t seem to grasp at all).

                  And Tanz, you did explicitly object to proportionality in your comment above when you said you did not want minority views represented.

                  It’s not anyone else’s fault if you don’t know what proportionality means, Tanz.

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