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Lefties on The Standard: MMP

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, August 20th, 2017 - 116 comments
Categories: activism, election 2017, Left, Politics, The Standard - Tags: , ,

A few weeks ago we had a post dedicated to left-wing discussion. It went well so I thought we’d try another.

The rules are:

– To comment you have to be left wing.

– No personal attacks at all  (not even if they are hidden in comments with good political points)

– Be kind. If you can’t be kind at least don’t be mean.

– Bear in mind the part of the Policy about not using language or tone that excludes others.

If you’re not sure if you fit the criteria, there is always Open Mike.

We can talk about anything that’s relevant to the left or progressives but here’s a starting point for discussion, a couple of things of interest that challenge the dominant story about elections in NZ.

This from regular commenter Swordfish,

Sweden – Eg of Second Largest Party on 26% forming Coalition Govt

2006 General Election

Centre-Left Bloc

Social Democrats 35%(Largest Party)

Left Party 6% (Sixth)

Green 5% (Seventh)

Centre-Right Bloc

Moderate 26% (Second Largest Party)

Centre 8% (Third)

Liberal People’s Party 8% (Fourth)

Christian Democrats 7% (Fifth)

Moderates form Centre-Right Coalition Govt

And NZ voter patterns between the 2011 and 2014 elections,

116 comments on “Lefties on The Standard: MMP ”

  1. Tony Veitch (not etc) 1

    The old FPP mindset dies hard. Some of the most progressive governments in the world are coalitions and they work well.

    So, I feel it in my bones – a Labour/Green/NZ First landslide on 23rd September and poor Double Dipper barely making 25%

    A truly progressive government with the Green contingent dragging Labour further to the left as the political success of left policies is demonstrated. Winston for Foreign Affairs – and a move towards independence from USA arse-licking!

    Above all else, a huge feeling of euphoria at the prospect of better times, as has always followed the election of left-wing governments in my lifetime! (Not that those good feelings have always lasted – 1984!)

    Lets do this!

    • lurgee 1.1

      If National did fall from 45%-ish to 25%-ish, I’d actually be depressed. Because it would reveal how fickle and witless the electorate actually were. Labour’s current surge is largely ar the expense of the Greens; the idea that a large portion of the electorate might cheerfully support National for a decade and then change en masse because of a more likeable leader is horrid. It’ll mean National will return with another John Key, and politics will become even more of a vacuous popularity contest.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.1.1

        I agree with the need to move away from the focus on personality politics, and celebrity, or celebritised, politicians: and this is necessary for a politics that includes significant numbers of the least well-off at all levels of decision-making.

        And for the good of the many, there is a need to move away from electioneering as brand marketing. For a bottom-up, people-based movement, it requires the people to develop their/our own rallying cries, not some slick slogans thought up be PR and spin merchants.

      • Eco Maori 1.1.2

        That is the cycle that has being happening for years.
        We can change that cycle. If LAB NF GRN see the big pitcher By making our policy
        Benefit every one and every living thing in NZ .
        That is why I have said in other post don’t over tax business don’t regulate farmers and other organization to hard .
        We can have a economy were everyone is being treated with with respect .
        Make it so everyone wants to work in our economy ,
        If everyone is happy and treated fairly National wont gain votes
        Have policy that are researched to benefit every one fairly not nee girk reaction policy’s Labour and its coalition partners will need to take baby steps If they win this election or they will make mistakes and National will use these mistakes to attack there image
        By the way the benefit system that subsidizes business also discriminates against the young and old whom have no children

        • Draco T Bastard

          That is why I have said in other post don’t over tax business don’t regulate farmers and other organization to hard .

          Nobody wants to tax or regulate them too hard but we do need to adequately tax and regulate them – which we’re not doing ATM.

          Make it so everyone wants to work in our economy ,

          Have you ever considered that everyone already wants to work but that our present system purposefully prevents them so as to maximise profits for the bludging shareholders?

          If everyone is happy and treated fairly National wont gain votes

          Yes they will because there’s always some people who will think that treating everyone fairly costs them personally.

          Labour and its coalition partners will need to take baby steps If they win this election or they will make mistakes and National will use these mistakes to attack

          National will do that anyway and they’ll lie to do so.

          On top of that, we need major changes ASAP and get them embedded into society quickly so that National can’t easily change them later.

          By the way the benefit system that subsidizes business also discriminates against the young and old whom have no children

          The benefit system needs a major overhaul starting with a UBI.

          • Eco Maori

            + 100 D T B Labour need to use the main principles in the art of war to run Government a lot of successful organizations around the world use them
            They are more about running a strategic organization than war

            • crashcart

              I sometimes wonder if the people who quote “The Art of War” have read it. It very much is based around warfare. Movement of troops, selection of battle ground, collection of intelligence. In the 80’s there was a real push to treat business like a battle and so it was trendy.

              I can see how some of it can be transferred (picking your battles and collecting intelligence) I am always wary though of bringing the language of warfare into other arena’s. Especially when what we are talking about is wanting a left wing government based upon compassion.

              • left_forward

                Thank you for saying this crashcart – I entirely agree with you. Weka is seeking language and tone that does not exclude – the whole idea of war is a battle against the ‘other’ – the left needs to be distinguished by being inclusive and indeed compassionate.

      • Tony Veitch (not etc) 1.1.3

        Agreed – but we’ve had personality politics in this country for as long as I can remember. Think ‘Kiwi Keith’ Holyoake, the charisma of Norman ‘Big Norm’ Kirk, ‘Rob’s Mob, and Lange and Clarke.

        But we don’t elect presidents – there is still room for policy, and this time a real shift to the left, al la 1935!

        • Carolyn_nth

          personality politics have always been with us to some extent. But, when it has been incorporated with celebrity culture. this has become intensified. Now the celebrity focus has been done in a way that separates the politician much more from the party and its policies.

          Thus the image in the media can be used to distract from, or distort, the underlying values and related policies of a party.

          • Tony Veitch (not etc)

            Carolyn, I don’t think personality politics as such is the problem – it’s more the type of personality. A lying, contriving, manipulating money-trader ego driven type of personality oozing superficial charm is obviously bad – as has been proven.

            But a charismatic, warm hearted, enveloping, inclusive personality with the good of the whole community at the centre instead of ego, might prove to be beneficial.

        • I do not think you could put Norman Kirk into the personality bracket at all.

          Kirk was just a very ordinary Kiwi, a large man with great Social Democratic beliefs.
          He most certainly grew into his roll as PM and that was when he became so well liked, because he watched over the less well off in our society.
          He genuinely cared.

          I would rate him as potentially one of our best ever Politicians for all sides, but sadly was cut down before his time..

          • swordfish

            Yep – Big Norm’s Pref PM ratings in run-up to 1972 Election (1969-72 Polls) similar to Goff’s & Little’s – ie mainly in single figures

            Muldoon & Key only ones very popular while still in Opposition

            Lange & Clark only become truly popular once PM

            But once PM – Clark & Key dominate Pref PM ratings as never before (only Lange at his apex comes in any way close)

        • Tracey

          I dont recall Clarkes personality being quite the focus, o. A positive way, in her early terms

      • riffer 1.1.4

        I’ve got a slightly different view. I believe that a “likeable” leader makes the electorate more likely to look closer at a party, and the closer people look at left wing parties, the more they like what they see.

        Couple that with the “everybody is doing it and I like to back a winner” mentality and it creates a somewhat unstoppable momentum.

        If it takes an engage-able leader to bring people to the policies, then so be it.

        Like it or not, a popularity contest is what it is. But you can’t keep the people without good policies and plans. Unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of money of marketing.

        • Carolyn_nth

          What does “likeability” by the “public” mean? As a media and politics watcher, I’ve noticed that the mainstream media has a lot of influence over who is considered likeable. It seems to me that politicians who are liked by the liberal middle classes, and several mainstream journos, get a lot of favourable coverage. And that coverage can obscure what is happening behind the scenes with respect to policies and values.

          Helen Clark was not considered likeable by the media when she became Labour leader. She worked hard to eventually get some positive media coverage. But many MSM journos were quick to turn on her in response to the rise of dirty politics by Nat-aligned bloggers.

          John key got favourable media coverage, and we were told how likeable he was, from before he became Nat leader. And that was pretty much sustained through out his time as leader. Some of us never saw him as likeable from the beginning of his time in politics.

          I have always like Metiria Turei ever since she became an MP – smart and direct, and clear on her political values. But she never got the favourable media coverage of her male co-leaders.

          And now, even though many journos were quick to get the boot in, many still support her – including, unexpected people like Sam Neil.

        • Tracey

          Really? Where would they get that info from? The media are chewing through pages and m8nutes discussing polls not sharing policy analysis. The closest I have seen is du Plessis Allens piece today which is a little bewildering to this reader.

          Labour had great and detailed policy in the last two elections. Marketing and branding is based on psychology. Nats have been able to buy heaps of psychology

        • Tracey

          ” But you can’t keep the people without good policies and plans. Unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of money of marketing. ”
          National in a nutshell. Key brought millions in direct and indirect backing with him. They spent a shitload on marketing. How many parties coukd afford daily polling????

        • I think you’re onto something but you haven’t got all the angles on it nailed down just yet.

          Likeability isn’t just what’s going on with Jacinda Ardern.

          People care about several things in a leader.

          Charisma is definitely on the list, and she’s certainly got it. Relatability, which is part of likeability, is also important, and I think a lot of people actually feel like they understand where Jacinda is coming from a lot more than they did with Little.

          There’s a certain authoritarian view some in the public have of how a leader should function- Ardern fits well into that, being pretty decent at keeping her party disciplined and appearing united, but I suspect she might actually manage this without actually being as authoritarian a leader as Clark was. (I’m not saying Clark’s policy was authoritarian, but that she did a very good job at concentrating power at the top of the party heirarchy and either converting or crushing her internal critics)

          But I think what the critiques of Jacinda as just a charming face at the top of the ticket miss is that she’s actually a very good communicator. She does well at giving policy emotion, at messaging, and at imagery. These aren’t ancillary skills for a politician, they are arguably more important than policy nous for senior MPs, and even more so for party leaders. The last time Labour had a good communicator as a leader was arguably Cunliffe, and probably uncontroversially with Clark. This is a huge part of the “Jacinda effect,” it’s not just that they like the messenger, it’s that they’re also actually hearing the message properly, and she’s very good at delivering it even in limited media time or hostile media environments, a quality necessary for a good left-wing leader.

          I would actually agree at least a little with criticisms that she doesn’t seem to be a policy heavyweight. In a way though, that’s actually not as big a deal as party leader as it is as deputy, as the deputy’s job, like the finance minister, is usually to keep track of many irksome details that require someone very high up the heirarchy but aren’t actually critically important. (it’s also sometimes to say “no” to people so the leader doesn’t have to, in both cases) The job of Party Leader and/or Prime Minister is more managerial in many ways and less technical. She will still need to be on top of the details on certain things the Prime Minister is expected to manage in detail themselves, but her issue has never particularly been that she can’t handle specifics, more that she’s focused more on communication first. Even in the realm of PM-specific responsibilities, Key has set a precedent for the Prime Minister handing some of those, like Intelligence, off to other cabinet members, so that would also play more to her strengths as a generalist.

          • Pat

            Critical factor for enduring success will be the selection of a capable/compatible finance minister….i.e. Clark/Cullen as opposed Lange/Douglas

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Well it’s really Robertson or bust for Labour, and they’ve (possibly rather stupidly if Robertson doesn’t work out well) ruled out Shaw being the lead in that portfolio. (although I expect they’d probably offer him associate if the Greens are third largest party)

              Remember, what Labour has now is a leadership triad, (much like we have with English, Bennett, and Joyce in government atm) not a duo, as Kelvin isn’t finance spokesperson, and finance is de facto part of the leadership, as they essentially have the ability to veto any troublesome policy by pretending not to have money for it, or, you know, actually not having money for it. Robertson essentially stood aside as potential deputy to entrench his position in finance while setting himself up as a party elder, and to build party unity, a show that, at least under Ardern, he plans to be a team player. Clark’s genius in picking Cullen wasn’t just his competence in his portfolio: it was also that it immediately unified caucus by bringing her biggest critic into the fold. Robertson may have essentially done the same thing in reverse by standing aside for Davis, we’ll just have to wait and see, and if Robertson does half as well as Cullen, I expect he’ll be judged kindly.

              • Pat

                perhaps…but not being convinced of Robertsons grasp of his portfolio I wonder if the possibility of an as yet previously unconsidered option may not present itself….after all who could have predicted how well Jacinda Adern would perform in the leadership role (this soon) a leader or two ago?…obviously not the Labour caucus.

          • Carolyn_nth

            I’m not one that sees Ardern just as a charming face. I do understand she has very good communication skills. And very good skills with grasping policy.

            However, what is not clear to me is how much of a manager she is. I think it’s highly likely that a lot of the management of the Ardern rise and transition to leadership is being managed by Robertson. And that is of concern as I see him in the right wing of Labour.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              That seems like a fair call, too.

            • KJT

              Far too much of, who gets into Government, hinges on who the media decide to anoint, or assassinate.

              The fact, media funders have decided Adern is a “safe pair of hands” to continue the Neo-liberal transfer of wealth to the top, worries me.

              I hope she has the strength to resist that pressure. Helen Clark, tough as she seemed, got caught in it. But as we know, anyone who upsets the current paradigm, will be witch hunted by media.

      • Tracey 1.1.5

        Lurge the same fickleness tgat saw Nats win in 208. It happens.

      • McFlock 1.1.6

        The final vote is chaotic, but not necessarily fickle.

        2.5million people, all voting for slightly different combinations of reasons, all affecting each other and being affected by different things.

        Big swings happen. Like stockmarket crashes.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    1984 was Labour’s reaction to Muldoon, France and dreadful finances.

    The group who ran with those ideas were as off track as Muldoon with his “Think Big” before them. Rogernomics led to asset stripping and currency trading.

    MMP is meant to even out electoral extremes. Another reaction to the unfairness of First past the post.

    The constant re election of a party with contrived partners, under our form of mmp , over the last 9 years, has led to extreme dogma within the system with few checks and balances.

    This has led to many questionable laws being passed under urgency, which have taken freedoms away and developed poor social situations.

    In all cases successes are claimed by the private sector and failures are paid out of the public tax purse.

    All our really poor outcomes stem from moneyed individuals rorting our system
    propping up ideas few take the time to think about except on a superficial level’

    Civics and basic tenants of democracy, promoted as policy by Labour this election cycle, should have a solid place in our education system, so people understand and willingly participate in government.

    We should have more forums for debating ideas, rather than the “talking heads” we have now on radio and tv, pushing one view only.

    Participation is everything. Feeling involved & having a role to play. Our vote is vital.

    Just some early morning thoughts.

    • The constant re election of a party with contrived partners, under our form of mmp , over the last 9 years, has led to extreme dogma within the system with few checks and balances.

      Actually, our system of government has very few checks and balances and the ones in place can be over-ridden by a sitting government quite easily.

      How do we get those checks and balances in place considering that our governments hold to the view that they shouldn’t be limited at all?

      • Eco Maori 2.1.1

        We need have Constitutional rights using the Treaty as a guide to establish these laws and a bill of rights at the moment we lack any strong laws to protect our rights.
        Hence John key flying in and signing away our privacy rights.
        Read Tops policy on this and one would needs 70% of Parliament to amend them.

      • KJT 2.1.2

        Swiss style binding referenda, and recall referenda of individual politicians.

        And a public service media.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Nice observation. Peter Dunne voted against equal pay for women. That has been missed by many. Hopefully not in Ohariu

  3. Ad 3

    With the Labour vote on all polls now heading to overtake National’s – and still 5 weeks to go – the idea of a minority government forming is now less an issue for Labour and more an issue for National.

  4. Carolyn_nth 4

    Clearly, a strong Green Party presence in a governing coalition would be necessary for left policies that counter inequality, poverty, and a supportive, inclusive society where the social security system is reformed: a system where beneficiaries are not bashed, and where representation in politics is diverse.

    And, Jack McDonald in the House would be a major plus!

    Thanks, marty mars for the link.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    I think the outgoing administration has highlighted the role of the speaker in preventing ministers being held to account and generally propping up a flaccid non-performing government like the sticks in a Dali painting.

    This is not true to the same extent of the UK, even though the GMS (goldfish memory syndrome) deployed Key and more recently by English originated with Cameron. I really think the role needs greater definition – though of course the Westminster descended government model depends on a notion of ‘gentlemanly behaviour’ which is notably lacking in contemporary NZ politics.

    What sanctions can be imposed to prevent suppurating masses of corruption like Carter from suborning our democratic processes? If this matter is not dealt with no legislation or government program, however successful, can be safe from asset stripping kleptocrats.

    As regards urgency legislation, an automatic review or cancellation period would reduce its convenience for dishonest administrations.

    • Carolyn_nth 5.1

      Agree. There definitely needs to be a neutral ref in the House. Maybe also the rules that guide the Speakers behaviour should be strengthened. The Speaker relies on rules for conduct in the House, often decided by referral to previous speaker precedents. Cater twisted them this way and that.

    • Graeme 5.2

      Having the Speaker elected by parliament as a whole would be a good start, with 75% vote required for election. And probably the ability for 25.1% of members to carry a no confidence motion.

      That would make the position as close to non-partisan as we could get.

      Another option would be an outside appointment under the same rules, probably a retired parliamentarian.

      • Stuart Munro 5.2.1

        That seems promising – I like the no confidence vote option.

        • Graeme

          I wouldn’t have the foggiest how it would work constitutionally.

          It would also require a lot of good faith by all parties of we’d make ourselves un-governable.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            That is the risk of the supermajority method, for sure. I think you’d probably need to set things up so that if the House can’t elect a speaker within a reasonable timeframe (say, within the next sitting day after having voted no confidence in the previous one) there has to be a new general election, so that you have that in-built safeguard of the public Getting Tired Of That Nonsense. In practice, governments (who would presumably retain the ability to nominate the Speaker) would end up canvassing their choices with the opposition ahead of time to find someone palatable to everyone if they knew it was their necks on the line if they didn’t.

            The other option is to directly elect the Speaker with some safeguards, like them not being an active member of a political party, however that runs the risk of simply having people elect a friendly or unfriendly speaker depending on how they feel about government in general. I can, for instance, imagine people electing Winston Peters or someone similar as speaker just to keep Labour and National on their toes, lol.

      • OncewasTim 5.2.2

        Incidentally……which is probably how senior public servant appointments (CEOs etc) should be made.
        They are becoming increasingly like a-likkers and partisan … subject to ministerial whispers

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    Fairfax have their own story to sell, whereby a Labour/NZ1st government will need the Greens.

    It got me thinking: in the event that a Labour/Green government has the numbers, should NZ1st be invited into coalition?

    • JanM 6.1

      What on earth for?

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        In principle any substantial bloc with decent policies should be included – the tendency toward horse race politics has tended to ignore the idea of policies competing to produce the best public outcome. Winston might well prove an active constructive influence, though the internal strife occasioned in other parties making way to admit him would probably not be pleasant.

        • lurgee

          Winston would want more baubles than would be available in a three way split.

          • Stuart Munro

            He might – but he might prove serious about some policies and be constructive. In OAB’s scenario he would be obliged to ‘play nice’. In the more likely kingmaker scenario he would be tempted to grandstand for public effect – though this is likely to be his final term and he would probably like it to be his finest.

            The idea is maybe better illustrated by TOP – they have a few good ideas – certainly more than the Gnats. These ideas should be part of the policy debate that is parliament’s job. MMP governments should be accustomed to accommodating a variety of policy views from which they can select or adapt the best outcomes – instead of hammering several parties into the rough shape of an FPP monolith.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              These ideas should be part of the policy debate that is parliament’s job.

              Well put.

              The more I think about it the less I trust the players to play nice, but hey, dreams are free.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.2

        1. Any legislative changes made by such a government would be harder to repeal.
        2. In the event that the three could work constructively together, it would shut National out of power for a decade at least.
        3. The value of practical demonstrations of cooperation.

        As Stuart says, I’d certainly be looking for confidence and supply.

        Yes, I know the whole idea bristles with fish-hooks. No, I’m not at all sure I support it.

        Just a thought.

    • in the event that a Labour/Green government has the numbers, should NZ1st be invited into coalition?

      No. Labour has more than enough conservatives in it already – including NZF in a coalition would make the coalition less progressive. Apart from which, Peters’ hostility to the Greens would make life difficult for all involved. Not that Labour/Green are likely to have the numbers, mind you.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2.1

        I’m not a Winnie fan, but he is not conservative in the same sense as Nactional. He has spoken against neoliberalism and the fact the country is not being governed in the interests of the majority. So in some ways he could fit with a lab/green coalition. In some areas he is perhaps left of some in Labour.

        I like the idea of a broad coalition, if it could be made to work (a huge if)

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Not the biggest ‘if’ ever, but it’s certainly up there 🙂

        • Neoliberalism is largely an economic policy, remember. You can be against it while still being a social conservative, like Winston is, but usually the key difference between neoliberalism and fiscal conservatism is simply conceding lost battles to social liberals while pushing the economic agenda to the right. Even a right-wing conservative can agree to that if they believe in keeping their powder dry, and oh look Bill English is Prime Minister now. 😉

          Winston is the odd one out in a centre-left coalition. Policy-wise, the Māori Party is more compatible with the Greens and Labour than he is, and they’ve actually said they’ll work with Labour first, it’s largely a matter of healing historical wrongs, and as we saw with Bolger and Peters, a good Prime Minister can make that work. I think it helps that almost all of Clark’s crew are gone now, and it would just be Mallard left, and he’d be safely moved out of the policy arena by becoming Speaker. If it’s a choice between the two of them as a third partner, I say take the Māori Party every time, whether it’s as an extra support partner or an actual coalition member. I would love to say edge Peters out entirely even if he’s flexible about playing well with others, but sadly I think we will have to wait until he retires from politics before his party will be gone for good as a kingmaker, (even then it’s possible they might stay on, but I don’t think either Mark or Martin has the chops to keep them alive tbh) and I can’t in good conscience say that we can sacrifice the good of keeping National out of economic policy just to gamble with keeping Peters out of social policy altogether. Instead, let him weed out easy objections from social conservatives to reduce criticism of the new government, (it would probably improve some of the liberal ideas to do this anyway, so it’s just good governance anyway) and give him some wins on economic nationalism (like, say, by reworking his idea of a skills debt for students, or giving up on an 11-party TPPA, which they would need National’s support to pass anyway, and giving him some wins for Regional NZ to weaken support for National) so we can keep him away from immigration where he’s most harmful.

          Plus, the one thing I will say for Peters is that he probably deserves some of the credit for the astoundingly low rates of elder poverty in New Zealand, so there’s that, and if he has affordable ideas to keep going in that arena, we should absolutely implement them.

          • Carolyn_nth

            You forget Shane Jones.

            • Stuart Munro

              Whangarei might forget him too.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              It’s too early to tell how big a splash he’ll make in NZF and whether they’ll make him senior enough to potentially take over from Winston. 🙂

              He’s probably their best hope, neither Mark nor Martin are bombastic enough to bring the real “Peters effect.” With a little work Shane Jones could do it.

    • Brendan 6.3

      I’d prefer confidence and supply, but Winston only looks out for one person: Winston. So offering a ministerial position might be enough to keep him onside. Perhaps Deputy PM, Foreign Affairs, or Finance. That might appease some of the anti-Green faction on the left.

      Besides, as a Green supporter myself, I’m more interested in the party’s policies implemented through the legislative process than handing out ministerial positions to them like prizes. When Ardern took over, I was prepared for the Greens to lose a few MPs for the sake of change and presenting voters with a stronger and seemingly more popular Labour party. If ACT can sneak in charter schools on its wafer-thin mandate I’m sure the Greens with 8 – 10 MPs can implement some of its desperately needed progressive policies—particularly around climate change and the environment.

      • Eco Maori 6.3.1

        Now lets not be to hard on the old General Winston Peters,
        Everyone should no that when one goes into a deal and you are the smaller entity
        the smaller entity gets shafted by the big entity examples are everywhere.

        I believe that Winston has our country best interest at heart.
        Look at the wine box inquire that let us see Fay Richwhite true colours .
        If Winston did not pursue this Fay could have carried on stealing our assets.

        Now the Maori seats Winston can see the big picture in this debate and so does Gareth . He just has problems getting the right message out with our MSM being so bias and all.

        Now the big picture is that if all the Maori votes were cast in the General election
        I predict that 10 seats would swing to to the left not just 5 and Maori would have more say in our governments, John Key and his adviser new this and would not give the idea any traction, And Billy Boys MSM just used the topic to attack Winston.

        You no the old trick we will you five Maori seats but in reality we will be prevent you from having ten seats
        Our poll man could work this out if he wants

        • Eco Maori

          I am sure Apirana Ngata opposed the Maori seats come on people cant you see this

        • The thing is under MMP ten seats swinging to the left for, say, Labour, is actually worse than, say, one seat gained for Mana in a Māori electorate, or a Māori Party winning electorates that supports left-wing governments.

          Also, if you’re not a fan of them, there’s actually a way to get rid of them without changing the law, and that’s simply to persuade people to register on the general roll instead. It’ll presumably happen if people feel the Māori roll has little to offer.

        • KJT

          My personal opinion is that Māori seats are well past their “use by date”.

          I think more people of Māori descent now vote on the general roll.
          Not like there is a shortage of Māori on the party lists. Or the general roll.

          However. It should be up to Māori to decide.

          • weka

            “I think more people of Māori descent now vote on the general roll.”

            I’m not sure that is true.

            “Not like there is a shortage of Māori on the party lists.”

            Without the Māori seats there would be no kaupapa Māori parties. Can’t see how that would serve Māori.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Without the Māori seats there would be no kaupapa Māori parties.

              The Māori make up ~15% of the population. So, theoretically, if a Māori party got about half of them to party vote for them then they’d get over the threshold and such a party would have representation in parliament.

              Now, as it stands it shows two problems:

              1. The fact that the Māori Party isn’t getting half of the Māori vote would indicate that they don’t actually represent the wishes of Māori. no single people are what we could could call ubiquitous.
              2. The threshold is so high that it’s possible to say that it goes against Ti Tiriti by preventing Māori representation in parliament.

              • weka

                Theoretically. But in reality we know that under MMP with the threshold there would be no Māori Party or Mana without the Māori seats.

                I agree that threshold is a problem. I like the idea of dropping it to the equivalent needed for one seat.

                “The fact that the Māori Party isn’t getting half of the Māori vote would indicate that they don’t actually represent the wishes of Māori. no single people are what we could could call ubiquitous.”

                I don’t see single party representing the wishes of Māori, any more than I would see one representing Pākehā. So Māori (or Pākehā) having more representation via parties strikes me as a good thing.

                Whether dropping the threshold would be good for Māori to the extent that the seats aren’t needed is kind of a moot point for me, because I think it’s up to Māori to make that decision.

                • I don’t see single party representing the wishes of Māori, any more than I would see one representing Pākehā.

                  Neither do I but that calls into question the viability of Māori parties.

                  Parties that are guided by Māori principles should appeal to those who recognise those principles be they Māori or Pākehā.

                  Whether dropping the threshold would be good for Māori to the extent that the seats aren’t needed is kind of a moot point for me, because I think it’s up to Māori to make that decision.

                  It is up to Māori but we do need to ask and not shy away from doing so. Can’t have a hui if we refuse to speak.

                  • weka

                    “Neither do I but that calls into question the viability of Māori parties.”

                    How so? I think small parties are valuable.

                    “Parties that are guided by Māori principles should appeal to those who recognise those principles be they Māori or Pākehā.”

                    Sure, and anyone can give their party vote to the Mp or Mana.

                    “It is up to Māori but we do need to ask and not shy away from doing so. Can’t have a hui if we refuse to speak.”

                    I’m not sure that many Māori see the need for the discussion to happen at this time though.

                    • I think small parties are valuable.

                      Small parties are but I don’t see any value in a party that claims to only represent Māori because the chances are that they won’t. I.e, if the Māori Party actually represented all of Māori then they’d be a shoe in on the party vote with ~15%.

                      I’m not sure that many Māori see the need for the discussion to happen at this time though.

                      Then they can say that when we ask.

    • Labour will go for the broadest arrangement it can get, where it can sub out support parties if possible. That said, they’re clearly most aligned with the Greens, so I suspect that if those two can govern alone it’ll just be a “support agreement” with NZF.

      I would say there’s no need to lock them out entirely, just make sure they don’t get to dictate immigration policy at all.

    • Craig H 6.5

      Yes because it shows inclusiveness, although they may not be offered as much in that case. NZ First has some reasonable ministerial options, and it would beat being sniped at from outside.

  7. Dspare 7

    This from Macskasy is uplifting, there is a lot to be said for succeeding in small tasks in the physical world. Compared to trying to solve all the worlds problem in one online post (though both discourse and action do have their place):

    So on top of putting up a dozen billboards on frames and fences, Team #5 managed to engage in some inter-party co-operation; Green members re-erecting an ACT billboard, and a Labour MP coming to our rescue!

    If we want to change the government, we have to work for it. That means going out and campaigning for Labour, the Greens, or Mana Movement. It won’t happen by itself – only People Power can do it.


    I’m a bit burnt out on polls and party shares after the last few days. But that is a pretty 2011-14 voter intentions graph in the OP. I like the way that it demonstrates that parties do not own peoples votes, and that even a similar results comes from a very fluid cluster of decisions.

    • Brendan 7.1

      “Besides which, there was probably a clause in the Labour-Greens Memorandum of Understanding on this kind of scenario; “each Party will help each other out in the event of getting bogged down in mud“.”

      I feel like this is a metaphor that needs to be adhered to. Lask week the Greens were bogged down in the mud. Labour didn’t exactly throw them a life-line.

  8. lurgee 8

    Scandinavians are more grown up than New Zealanders.

    It’s like Germans and driving. German road rules work in Germany, because Germans. If we introduced them here in NZ, it would be carnage.

  9. Brendan 9

    If there is an incoming centre-left government I’d like to see electoral reform. Implement some of 2012 Electoral Commission recommendations. Particularly, reducing the threshold from 5% to 4%, removing the one seat threshold, and removing the provision for overhang.

    We’d have a more representative parliament, and MMP could not be manipulated through electorate deals.

    I’d all like to see the last remnant of FPP, the electoral vote, changed to a single transferable vote system. This would mean the representation in the electorate is closer to the constituents actual preferences rather than having the winner with less than a majority e.g. 40% (meaning 60% didn’t vote for the winning candidate). It would greatly diminish the spoiler effect.

    All of these proposals would eliminate the need for tactical voting and people could feel more confident they can vote for who they actually want. It would also mean the final vote would be more representative to the will of the electorate.

    • lurgee 9.1

      While I’d like a law change that would allow me to marry STV and have babies with it, I’m not sure people will go with the idea of a dozen different votes, when some people are still a bit sceptical of having two.

      • Brendan 9.1.1

        How hard is it to rank your candidates from most prefered to least prefered? People managed it with the flag referendum. And besides people don’t have to rank every candidate anyway. If you don’t want your vote transferred to a candidate you really don’t like don’t give them a rank. Easy.

        I’m pretty sure ballot instructions could go out in future elections and there could be a public education campaign.

        • Tricledrown

          Ranking in STV voting favours Tories.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            No it doesn’t. It actually advantages the left compared with FPP, as we tend to “split” more, and STV is mostly immune to that problem.

            Requiring people to rank every candidate in an IRV or STV election does advantage the right, (mainly because it makes it harder to vote and they tend to power through better than left-wing voters) but that’s not how we practice those election systems in New Zealand, it’s how they do it in Australia.

    • Craig H 9.2

      I’d drop the threshold to 2% since that’s a lot of votes, but any drop is better than 5%.

      • Tricledrown 9.2.1

        Get rid of the rule of electorate seat small parties dragging in a percentage with them .

    • You can’t “remove overhang seats” and still guarantee an electorate winner gets into Parliament, and that wasn’t a recommendation of the committee AFAIR. The only way to “remove overhang” seats while keeping electorate winners is to remove list seats instead, which is actually even worse for proportionality, and has the side-effect of making the people who win and lose from it less predictable as well. (adding an overhang seat just burns every List party equally more or less, while removing a list seat hurts whoever gets that 120th/etc… seat, usually either Labour or National. I actually think we should make Independent candidates work like overhang seats do now for consistency)

      I also think that rather than bothering to get rid of lifeboat provisions, we should lower the threshold below the committee’s recommendations after the MMP review. 4% is still a very high bar, and doesn’t allow for small parties to smoothly transition to medium parties. I would trial lowering the threshold to 2%, to be lowered to 0.8% if no problems are observed. (0.8% is an approximation of winning a list seat outright without being rounded up to getting one. ACT would not have met this threshold in 2014, but the Māori Party would likely meet it even this time around, as would TOP) I don’t anticipate any problems, but I think it’s more saleable to people who panic about smaller parties “destablising government,” when there’s no actual evidence that happens. Look at the government now, it has three tiny coalition partners thanks to electorate wins.

      I actually discussed the possibility of adding STV as the electorate half of a list hybrid system (you probably mean IRV in this case, like what we use for Wellington Mayor where only one person can win, rather than how we elect DHB candidates where there are multiple vacancies, but I discussed that too. We could absolutely implement either, although technically our system would then be something new and unnamed rather than MMP, which is officially only a hybrid between FPP and a closed list vote) in a recent post on my blog. I actually think it’s probably not the ideal option, and we should probably be looking at either range voting or re-weighted range voting. (rate each candidate you have an opinion on from, say, 1-9, or even 1-99. In the re-weighted variant, there can be multiple winners, and if one gets elected, your vote counts for less in electing the next candidate, depending on how strongly you supported them. Both versions have the nuance of distinguishing “I think this candidate is actually bad” from “I have no idea whether this candidate is good or not”)

      By the by, most systems have some type of tactical voting, they just differ in how it works. STV eliminates vote-splitting, (the technical term is that it is “immune to clones”, where it mostly doesn’t help or hurt to add a very similar candidate to the otherwise winner into the mix) but it’s still important to be tactical in who you rank first, and in the multi-winner variant it also privileges voters who make lists long enough that their vote continues transferring whenever a vacancy is filled until the very end over people who don’t rank enough candidates to fill all the vacancies. It also has its own weird side-effects, like that it’s possible to cause someone to lose by ranking them 1 when they might have won if you ranked them 2 in certain close races.

      Likewise, my preferred system, Range Voting, has tactical exaggeration, where you rate all candidates either 1 or 9, but ironically, this actually just simplifies it down to something mathematically like “approval voting” (think FPP with unlimited ticks) if everyone does it, which is also better than FPP, and simpler to vote than STV. It’s arguably only a problem if the number of people voting tactically is very unbalanced, ie. one side is willing to compromise and gives true opinions of even candidates they dislike, but the other largely exaggerates and gets their way disproportionately.

      Multi-winner constituencies, by the way, have the advantage of being proportional as well, at least within each constituency. So they would make electorate winners more likely to accurately resemble the opinions and demographics of the nation, and it would also make electorates more contestable for medium parties like the Greens and New Zealand First, because they might only need to come in a reasonably close third or fourth to win a seat in a large electorate. (multi-winner electorates would likely have between 3 and 7 winners each depending on how densely populated they are, probably 3 in all the regional ones and no more than 5 except in extraordinary circumstances)

      • KJT 9.3.1

        I would prefer actual Democracy. Like the Swiss.

        I don’t think our “winner takes all” rotating dictatorship, helps the quality of decision making, at all.

        61 people, who have won a popularity contest in the media, get into Government, and can do whatever they like, with no actual checks and balances, until the election. Where the choice is simply the lot, we didn’t like the last time.

        I don’t see Democracy happening any time soon. Both the main parties are comfortable with “taking their turn”.
        These days, it seems, politicians are chosen by the media, not us.

        • You mean direct democracy? There is arguably a place for that at say, the local level, although I’m not 100% sure we’re there yet and that it wouldn’t just devolve into electoral fatigue, as we’re not hugely motivated voters in New Zealand.

          Representative democracy (still democracy as long as there is citizen involvement and consultation, constitutional norms are largely followed, media is free of government interference or capture, etc…) is appropriate on a national level, and, done properly, it provides safeguards against human rights abuses and ignoring the views of experts. I agree there needs to be more care from the media not to turn politics into a game of scandals and to avoid picking winners themselves, which they are demonstrably not taking in the TV news/opinion business right now, but I don’t see any practical way to run the government on a direct democracy platform, either. Direct democracy is just as, if not more, vulnerable to popularity contests, media interference, and so on as representative demacracy, plus it greatly worsens the problem of voter fatigue.

  10. The did-note-vote element in the voter patterns graph is interesting. We tend to write about the “missing million” as though it were a concrete group of disaffected or apathetic eligible voters, but according to this graph only about half of them failed to vote in both 2011 and 2014 – membership of the “missing million” looks to be pretty fluid and not notably left-leaning.

    • weka 10.1

      I haven’t gone to the source of the chart but I think it’s still hard to tell. Of the 2011 non-vote that votes in 2014, it’s looks split between centre/left (L/NZF/G) and National. But that doesn’t mean the constant non-vote is or isn’t going to reflect that split.

  11. I know numbers are attractive, I like them too. I would like less emphasis on numbers – not just polling but the attitude that allows alot to be analysed via numbers. There are other ways to see stuff. I think the left has many opportunities to connect via heart, truth, authenticity and compassion. I want more of that and the numbers too and then more of that.

    • weka 11.1

      +1 marty.

      • Dspare 11.1.1

        marty mars
        Parliamentary politics is almost entirely a numbers game, especially in our unicameral system. 50%+1 seats in the house means the government gets to do what it wants and everyone else in the country has to suck it up with a big fat straw. Barring a coup, or rioting in the streets.

        Of course, some governments may want to get community participation in laws in order to make them more robust and appropriate. However, as the last nine years clearly demonstrate, they don’t have to and if there are enough MPs committed to a course then they can just ram it through under urgency and damn the consequences. Ignoring politics and just getting on with building communities connected by; “heart, truth, authenticity and compassion”, is an option. But if he government is actively working against you then results may be limited (eg say you start a fund to give an extra $20 a week to the poorest in the country, which WINZ then registers as income and subtracts from their benefits meaning that your generosity is essentially subsidising their penny pinching).

        • marty mars

          Sure it seems like that re with your first sentence but consider all the non numbery things that happened to be able to represent that with a number.

  12. Carolyn_nth 12

    I agree with most of this article by Giovanni Tiso: on the media’s role in driving Metiria Turei out of politics. It pretty much sums up a lot that is wrong with political coverage by our mainstream media.

    Speaking Power to the Truth: The Political Assassination of Metiria Turei

    I totally agree with the criticism of the lines about Turei “not controlling the narrative”.

    There is in fact nothing natural, inevitable or necessary about this narrow understanding of journalism which has no regard for social value. What good is it to anyone when a politician is brought down not because she didn’t tell the truth, but because she failed to control the narrative? And whose interests are being served, when the issue she had risked so much to raise was endemic poverty and the systems that ensure its perpetuation?

    Blaming Turei for “not controlling the narrative” is a managerialist style of politics, that distracts from all the deeper issues of beneficiary-bashing and a damaging social security system. And it puts those wanting to change the system into pretty much a no-win situation, especially with respect to the dominant values and MO of mainstream journalism today.

    • weka 12.1

      some really good points in there about Māori media vs MSM too.

      • Karen 12.1.1

        The different treatment from Māori media was stark.

        I always record The Hui and Marae as I find their coverage of current affairs is so much better that that offered by The Nation or Q & A. Have a look at last week’s programmes (they will be on line) and compare how they looked at the appalling way Metiria was treated. Interestingly, Maiki Sherman who works for the Project did try to defend the MSM treatment of Metiria but she was the only one..

        • I think there’s some overlap with the interests of money in media playing into that as well, as a lot of Māori media is sponsored specifically to be community-focused because that’s the only way to get listeners, whereas in Pakeha media it’s about securing advertisers so content begins to reflect the views of advertisers as much or more than those of viewers.

  13. Bill 13

    An editorial from The Canary about the use of the terms ‘alt-right’ and ‘alt-left’.

    I’ve previously argued against their use here on ts, but the linked editorial is far more articulate and informative than anything I was able to muster. Worth the read and some reflection imo.

  14. RedLogix 14

    If you want a google moment, try “El Bagre Antioquia”. Working here about three weeks.

    Not a wealthy place, but remarkably cheerful, hard-working and socially connected people. My Espanol is about three phrases above zero, but it’s easy to get on. New Zealand feels depressed and dour by comparison. We’ve lost something vital.

    Passing through Medellin on the way here was really surprising; it’s a city of 4m in a huge valley that makes Wellington look flattish. The sight of high rises disappearing up the side of mountains into the mist was quite striking.

    • Brigid 14.1

      What sort of work are you doing?
      I love the electric monorail cars in Medellin.
      I wish we could have nice things.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        Hi … working with a new equipment install on some very interesting gold mining dredges down river. They were originally built in 1938 and are still working to this day. I don’t get a nice electric mono-rail; instead it’s a 60 min fast boat trip on the river.

        Medellin seems a mix of very modern and quite old, but certainly I’d love to spend a bit more time there on the way home if possible. I know there are always layers to any place, but the people I meet here are open, lively and engaging.

        NZ with it’s succession of lazy, incrementalist, do-little governments is slowly but surely slipping behind the world. All they can think of is more billions wasted on roads we won’t be needing so much in 20 years or less.

  15. Paul Campbell 15

    I’ve given big chunks of money to both Labour and the Greens this year (I don’t belong to either) because in MMP if we want a government of the left we need both.

    I’d like to encourage everyone to do the same, give what you can afford, and then a little bit more … Don’t wait until the last moment it’s hard for them to spend last minute money, they get more for it if they can plan ahead.

    (For the record the Greens sent me a hand written note and a thank you phone call, Labour sent me extra spam …. don’t worry about that it’s the result that counts)

  16. adam 16

    My problem with MMP is simple. It’s not democratic enough.

    Coupled with a super slack, and in Auckland at least, a disorganized electoral commission it’s just not working that well.

    It’s too simple for your vote not to count.

    And like FPP, the electors are stuck with many party hacks in their electorates.

    • Paul Campbell 16.1

      I don’t think it’s MMP’s purpose to pick party candidates, if you want a say in that you have to join the parties

      • eco Maori/kiwi 16.1.1

        Lets do the math Maori they say 15% i say 20% how many seats to be fair 18 to 25 not 5 WTF I am getting the data for this issue of mine
        Its not rocket science This is one of the main reasons that national have remained in Parliament
        Republicans did a simler thing in america

        • Paul Campbell

          If more Maori registered for the Maori seats there would be more Maori seats. It’s that simple. As it is some Maori choose to be on the general roll and vote there, it’s not some great conspiracy.

          (pre-MMP the number of Maori seats was fixed, that is no longer true)

    • AsleepWhileWalking 16.2

      I agree – it is too easy for votes not to count, the wcs being Green votes are lost although I don’t think that will happen.

      I worry what this country will become with 3 more years of rampant immigration with another National gov’t. Honestly the community cant take anymore 🙁

      • eco Maori/kiwi 16.2.1

        I think Bill will be retiring after the election but my reason to champion the Maori seat issue is if we change them the right will be kept out for longer

    • Sounds like you’d be an Open List supporter, where the election incorporates either a primary or a same-time list adjustment from voters, so that there’s public accountability for list placements. Compared to MMP, it also ditches the idea of electorates.

      Arguably we could achieve that in MMP if we tightened up the rules as what counts as a “democratic process” for selecting candidates (right now, execs can simply appoint delegates, they don’t need to have any support from members, so if they agree, they can simply engineer candidate selection by picking captive delegates, or just delegates that are known partisans for particular candidates, and this is essentially to some degree how it works outside the Greens, who are the only ones who actually hold any sort of primary within the membership)

      Selection for electorates is always going to have a degree of party hacks. The only way to do away with it is to do away with electorates, or to do away with parties in them.

      MMP has actually made votes count a lot more than FPP did, and it’s better at it than a purely STV system is, too, as that’s even more disproportional (in simpler terms: “distorts or overrides the opinion of voters”) than MMP is. The only way to be perfectly proportional is to have a pure List system with no threshold, and even I see the benefit of having that small distortion of a low threshold to make it a serious investment to start a new party and to make it possible for old ones to die off when their time is over, I just think it should be much smaller than the 5% one we inherited from Germany because they thought it would help avoid a resurgence of Nazism or other nationalist movements. (and yet we still have NZ First…)

  17. Craig H 17

    Here’s a potential happy thought: Labour – Greens might struggle to get a majority in their own right, but could well get enough to be able to lean on the Maori Party as well as NZ First, which would significantly diminish NZ First’s influence.

    • If what I can piece together from coverage of the UMR poll is right, Labour and the Greens need 3 seats between them to make this happen, assuming that both Dunne and Seymour don’t win. (if Parliament has 122 seats, you need a 62 vote majority instead of 61. Labour and the Greens have 56 in the UMR poll, (46L/10G) the Māori Party would presumably have 2 based on recent polling if nothing’s changed, so 3 makes up the difference. Harawira can’t make up any of that gap if he wins unless he’s the only overhang seat, ie. Seymour actually wins enough Party Vote to earn his own seat and Dunne loses in Ōhāriu)

      This just needs a 3% shift to Labour and the Greens to happen, which is doable in the remaining time and actually credible with current polling trends, so it is absolutely possible that there could be a Labour-Green minority government that can use either NZF or the Māori Party as a support partner for each particular law. It would also be the first time since the Alliance imploded that New Zealand First wasn’t needed for a Labour government, but it would require hard work from both Labour and the Greens, and that the UMR and Roy Morgan are more accurate than the Colmar Brunton poll, of course.

      • Craig H 17.1.1

        Exactly, it’s not a big shift required from here, particularly if 4-6% of the votes cast are for parties which fail to reach the threshold as in most previous MMP elections. Granted, that requires a party to come close to 5%, but I think TOP will be that party.

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