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Right by accident?

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, October 24th, 2009 - 9 comments
Categories: Media, referendum - Tags:

We’ve been pretty hard, although justifiably so, on Colin Espiner recently and I’m loath to do it again. He does put himself out there more than other journos with his blog and that’s admirable. On the other hand, can we let comments like these in his post on the MMP referenda go?

We don’t yet even know what the alternatives are, although they are likely to include First Past the Post (the old system we dumped in 1993), Supplementary Member (which I don’t understand but I think it’s like MMP except with only one vote instead of two) and Single Transferable Vote.

Is MMP the best proportional system? I have to admit I don’t know enough about all the alternatives. But it’s a heck of a lot better than FPP.

OK, you really should know what SM and other voting systems are. First, you voted on them 17 years ago, when you were already a journo. Second, SM has been in the news for some time now (btw, there are two votes, just the Party Vote only determines the proportion of list seats parties get, not the total number of seats they recieve as in MMP). Third, we use STV, which is a proportional system, in DHB elections and some local bodies including Wellington, where you live. Fourth, Alternative Vote, the other proportional option offered in 1992, is what they use in Australian elections. Fifth, it’s kind of your job.

If you don’t know/remember something then here’s a tip: when I’m not sure on something, before stating my ignorance to those I purport to inform, I use the Internet. They keep pretty quiet about it but, if you know where to look, there’s lots of information about stuff hidden in the interwebs. Start with Wikipedia.

The irony is that Colin is actually in agreement with me on the issue – we should retain MMP. My concern, however, is that his opinion doesn’t seem to be based on much knowledge. He seems to blow in the breeze and land on the opinion that the spin directs him to.

Sure, this time he’s right but what’s to stop an expensive rightwing campaign changing his mind? And what does it say about how he comes to opinions on other issues, opinions that he then passes on to his readers?

9 comments on “Right by accident? ”

  1. First, you voted on them 17 years ago, when you were already a journo.

    Many political journos don’t vote.

  2. randal 2

    this is just more post modern crap from espiner.
    just giving people choices you know.
    life has become tick the boxes and take a punt.
    does espiner himself know what the choices are.
    can he present a full, comprehensive analysis of every voting system in the world that we the illustrious citizens of a small country far away from anyone else might in its wisdom consider.
    I doubt it.
    espiner is just another fruitcake who doesnt really know what he is doing and if he does then god help us all.

  3. BLiP 3

    Why am I not surprised C Espiner – a so-called political journalist – doesn’t understand a variety of political systems?

  4. Ari 4

    Single Transferable Vote is not a proportional system in the sense the word is usually understood. It has better proportionality than FPP, but that does not mean it is structured in such a way as to guarantee proportionality when split into electorates. STV only guarantees proportional results when every single candidate runs in the same multi-winner election. That is not how a nationwide election would work under an STV system- we would instead have a hundred or so single-winner contests.

    As a single-winner system, the only significant improvement of STV over FPP is that it guarantees a winner with some level of support from the majority of voters. It still doesn’t allow independent evaluation of candidates, and even worse, unlike FPP, ranking a candidate higher under STV can actually cause them to lose.

  5. ben 5

    Marty if you were less wrong on almost everything you post here then your advice to Colin might carry some weight.

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