A commenter, MarkM, accused me, and the Left more broadly, yesterday of not wanting to engage in any intellectual debate on the merits of MMP vs the other systems on offer. Not true! It’s just we have been through this already and MMP won because it’s the best system.
The people behind the ‘Vote for Change’ campaign (Peter Shirtcliffe) don’t have an intellectual, principled objection to MMP. They just hate that it stops a small minority capturing one or both of the major parties and engaging in Blitzkrieg reforms like he and his cronies did in the 80s and 90s.
But if you’re looking for an intellectual argument for MMP. Here’s one, just one, of the many.
Principle: governments should only govern with the support of the people, which, in practice, means the support of the majority of the people.
In the inverse: it is immoral for a government to rule when most people oppose it.
Agreed? OK. Let’s test FPP vs MMP to that standard.
Definition: I counted terms of Parliament were the parties voting for the Government on confidence and supply votes had won more than 50% of the the vote, combined.
Times that the Government had the support of the majority of voters under FPP from formation of Reform (beginning on multi-party system) in 1911: 7 out of 27 (26%)
Times that the Government has had the support of the majority of voters under MMP: 4 out of 5 (80%)
All of the FPP examples were between 1928 and 1951. The exception to the rule for MMP was 1996 when National plus NZF equaled 47.2% of votes cast, but had a majority of seats due to the high (by MMP standards) wasted vote.
So, if you believe that democracy means governments should govern with the consent of the (majority of the) people, MMP is the system for you. If you believe in governments ruling with as little as 35% of the vote, a la National 1993, then you want FPP, or its bastard cousin SM.