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Quick MMP review thoughts

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 am, February 15th, 2012 - 18 comments
Categories: democratic participation, MMP - Tags:

Lower the threshold and reduce wasted vote; leave it at 2-3% to make it less likely multiple one-man bands hold balance of power. Stop winning an electorate being a route to getting list seats; eliminate most dirty deals. Let List MPs run in by-elections and people stand both in seats and on lists; banning these would result in undesirable tactics from parties.

18 comments on “Quick MMP review thoughts ”

  1. Maui 1

    Make voting compulsory, in line with our australian cousins.

    I was appalled to be the only voter in a cavernous school hall, outnumbered by ten electoral staff with nothing to do during the last election.

    Otherwise we could give up on democracy, declare ourselves a colony of Hawai’i, and ask for
    a marine contingent from Okinawa to build Transmission Gully as they offered to do in WWII.

    Future Honorary Prime Minsters might appreciate the Hawai’ian climate as they communicate with tangata whenua through avatars from Mo’okini Heiau. I believe that John Key is working on a similar proposal.

    Alternatively, condominium with French Polynesia would allow us to introduce French inquisitorial procedures and scrap trial by jury, currently under consideration by the Law Commission. Really.

    Canberra might put on a show of indignation, but it cannot preach as Clause 132 of the Howard Government’s Northern Territory National Emergency Response Bill states that its provisions are classified as ‘special measures’ under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and therefore exempt from Part II of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975(“RDA”). It is still there. Really.

    Was democracy just a passing phase ?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It usually is. Once we let the dictators rule, which we have done, then getting rid of them usually takes a full blooded revolution as they keep changing the laws to protect themselves.

  2. Craig 2

    I would oppose lowering the five percent threshold. Do we really want the Conservative Party represented in Parliament? On the other hand, the Electoral Integrity Act should be reintroduced to prevent party hopping, requiring any dissident list MPs to leave Parliament altogether if they break away from the party under which they were elected. And Germany requires two constituency MPs within the Bundestag before sub-threshold parties can access list MPs- let’s introduce that here.

    • felix 2.1

      “I would oppose lowering the five percent threshold. Do we really want the Conservative Party represented in Parliament?”

      We can’t design an electoral system on the basis of who gets in and who doesn’t – that’s the function of elections.

      Much as I personally don’t want to see the conservatives in parliament, if they have a constituency then those voters deserve to be represented just as any other voter does.

      The goal should be to make the system as proportional as possible so that the wishes of voters are translated into seats with as much accuracy and as little waste as possible.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Not that I agree with much of what the Conservative party says…but if they had got 2.5% and got 3 MPs in, John Key’s asset sales plan would be history.

    • Tanz 2.2

      It would be cool to have the Conservative Party represented in Parliament, if that is what enough voters want. Democracy, I believe.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Wrong thread?

      • Maui 3.1.1

        Hi, Lanth .. I was supporting my statement, posted above

        “Alternatively, condominium with French Polynesia would allow us to introduce French inquisitorial procedures and scrap trial by jury, currently under consideration by the Law Commission.”

        RNZ has the background for any who may be interested.

  3. jaymam 4

    I’d rather vote for my party of choice and my electorate MP of choice, but I’ve been unable to do that because of the present rules. The 5% threshold has to go, down to 2 or 3%. The minor parties have been too close to 5% since MMP started, and that has affected voting a lot.. When the Greens were close to 5%, Labour supporters voted Green just to keep the Greens in. People voted NZ1 just to get Winston in. If a party can’t get 2 or 3% support, they don’t deserve to have any MPs.

    While I know people want to get rid of the Epsom rort (look at the miniscule ACT vote in Epsom), perhaps a lower threshold would stop the need for the huge tactical voting in Epsom.
    Unless we adopt STV for the electorate vote, I can’t see any minor party winning an electorate seat again, except in the Maori seats. Isn’t this a good time to abolish the Maori seats, now that we have MMP?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      A 3.33% threshold suggests that a party will get into parliament if one in every 30 voters support it. A 4% threshold for one in every 25 voters. I reckon both would work and would set a fair and very achievable bar for any aspiring new political party to accomplish.

      • Luxated 4.1.1

        No threshold is the only way to go for me. If you look at the previous election there were 3,070,847 people enrolled on election night, for every percentage point you increase the threshold (above zero) you potentially disenfranchise around 31,000 people or approximately the same number of people who live in Blenheim. Factoring in the turnout it is still a town the size of Taupo, per percent per party under the threshold. What this means is that last year we ignored the votes of 75,000 people of whom 70,000 would be represented if we ditched the threshold (the remaining 5,000 cannot adequately be represented in a house smaller than around 900 seats, which is just impractical).

        Consider this, based on the last election turnout with no threshold the requirement to elect a single MP from the party list would have been almost 19,000 people. Take an electorate at random, apart from a handful of dyed in the wool seats you won’t find candidates with that many votes, Banks didn’t, Dunne didn’t nor did any of the Maori seats and yet this is deemed an acceptable way to enter parliament while the same total on the party vote isn’t?

        (Numbers, except previous electorate numbers, are approximate due to the way seats are allocated)

        Lower the threshold and reduce wasted vote; leave it at 2-3% to make it less likely multiple one-man bands hold balance of power.

        I’m curious Zetetic, have you looked at the results of the last two elections without the threshold being applied? If not here they are for your (and others) information.

        National: 55 (-3), Labour: 41 (-2), Green: 8 (-1), NZF: 5 (+5), Maori: 5 (NC), ACT: 4 (-1), Progressive: 1 (NC), UF: 1 (NC), Bill & Ben: 1 (+1), Kiwi Party: 1 (+1)

        National: 57 (-2), Labour: 33 (-1), Green: 13 (-1), NZF: 8 (NC), Conservative: 3 (+3), Maori: 3 (NC), Mana: 1 (NC), UF: 1 (NC), ACT: 1 (NC), ALCP: 1 (+1)

        So as a result of the last two elections we would have had four single seat parties, an increase of two in 2008 (Kiwi and Bill & Ben) and a single party in 2010 (ALCP). I don’t see that as ever resulting in ‘multiple one-man bands hold[ing] the balance of power’, and if the situation does come to pass then I suggest that parliament put up and shut up after all it is what people voted for. Besides if the Australians can manage it (by and large) then I fail to see how we couldn’t.

        • lprent

          The last election was 2011…

          However you are looking at elections where a threshold was in place, and where most “parties” of one were not on the ballot because there was no possibility of winning. If the threshold was put down to 0.8% (roughly a single seat), then I would expect the number of parties on the ballot to increase dramatically.

          Of course most of those parties would consist of completely inadequete representatives who had access to a soapbox. Some crazed bloggers and rabid radio jocks come to mind as being likely to get in.

          What benefit would NZ get from their representation? Their main characteristic is an inability to work with anyone.

          • Bafacu

            Of course most of those parties would consist of completely inadequete representatives who had access to a soapbox. Some crazed bloggers and rabid radio jocks come to mind as being likely to get in….. Their main characteristic is an inability to work with anyone.

            Really?? Is that a criteria we should use in future – perhaps so – then the crazed idiots that are NZ First and the lone wolf Mana would not be in our current parliament

  4. Craig 5

    “Asset sales would be history…” Yeah, but the Conservatives also support the Nats on welfare retrenchment (oops, I mean ‘reform’ (sic)), oppose the scientific reality of climate change and the ETS scheme and would hamstring core health, education and welfare spending by holding constant referenda if they took exception to any piece of legislation that offended against their militant fundamentalist agenda. Added to which, remember United Future? Under the guise of centrism, Peter Dunne imported a rabble of raving right nutbars into Parliament back in 2002. How can we be sure it won’t happen again?

    I repeat, we should keep the five percent threshold, reintroduce the Electoral Integrity Act and raise the subthreshold one-seat list additions to at least two constituency seats.

    • Bafacu 5.1

      “scientific reality of climate change and the ETS scheme”

      Seems that there is some considerable debate on the “science” that makes up the “reality” so maybe we shouldn’t jump first and wonder why were wrong just as we are about to hit the bottom of the cliff.

      • Craig 5.1.1

        Yes, primarily a debate between petrochemical funded denier ideologues* and their scientifically illiterate right-wing cronies and mainstream scientists over the reality of climate change. I have a daughter and nephew, thank you very much, and as far as I’m concerned, the welfare of our species and planet is more important than New Right corporate profiteering.

        *Some of whom also denied the reality of nuclear winter under Reagan, let it be added.

    • Tanz 5.2

      At least the Conservative Party truly are conservatives, rather than copy cat liberals.

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