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Shirtcliffe can’t tell his electoral systems apart

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, May 14th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: democratic participation, MMP, Parliament, referendum, Supplementary Member - Tags: ,

A republished post from No Right Turn on the ignorance of the main campaigner wanting a change to our electoral system. You’d think that if you’re campaigning for something that you’d at least know what you are campaigning for. But apparently not. Published with permission.

In a press release last month, anti-MMP campaigner Peter Shirtcliffe called for New Zealand to adopt the non-proportional, undemocratic Supplementary Member system. In its support, he said this:

Shirtcliffe said SM, which operated successfully in the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, offered electoral stability by bringing to an end the power of small parties to frustrate the will of the people, such as over the anti-smacking debate.

(Emphasis added).

But Shirtcliffe needs to pay more attention to his electoral systems, because Scotland and Wales don’t use SM – they use MMP. It’s not the same form of MMP that we use – they proportionalise over regions, whereas we do it nationally, and in the case of Wales, the small size of the regions produces disproportionate results. But in both cases, the party vote within a region is used to calculate a party’s overall entitlement, and list seats are allocated to meet it and correct for the electorate result (in SM, the list seats are simply allocated according to the party vote, and there is no effort made to proportionalise the results).

This is a pretty basic mistake, and it shows that Shirtcliffe can’t distinguish between the system he is arguing for, and the system he is arguing against. Maybe he needs glasses?

13 comments on “Shirtcliffe can’t tell his electoral systems apart ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    The British FPP results have shown Shirtcliffe to have no rational arguments left.
    And as you quoted he mentioned the ‘anti smacking’ when of course it passed by a huge majority of parliament, unless of course hes referring to the Swiss System who having binding referendums , as well as MPP.
    Actually his campaign is an example of how big dollars can corrupt the political system, since he wouldnt get his views forward without all his big money backers

    • felix 1.1

      I think his anti-smacking reference is intended to convey the idea that if we hadn’t let those fucking Greens into OUR parliament in the first place we never would have had the issue raised at all.

      Which rather shows up his true motivations, dunnit?

      • Herodotus 1.1.1

        What that about 110 politicians can do what the vast majority of people are against? It also proves if the politicians all stand together like a herd it is difficult to pick out the individuals one by one for the carnivores to devour !!
        Vast is based on polling results from various media sources and the % makeup of the referendum, which the results display consistenancy of % makeup of roughly 80:20.

        • Pascal's bookie

          There were plenty of options for people to vote for people to reinstate ‘smacking’. On balance the overwhelming majority of people decided that it wasn’t the deciding factor.

          • Rich

            Quite. I believe there were at least three pro-child-abuse parties in the last election, none of which got more than a handful of votes. (Not even near enough for a seat if there wasn’t a threshold).

  2. Herodotus 2

    I am led to believe though that in GB the MP’s are like thos in the US in that they do not all follow absolute party lines. they hav the ability to have a greater indepenancy in their voting. Individual MP’s from both sides of the spectrum can follow their and their constituent desires. I feel sorry for MP’s who are forced to follow party lines when wipped when this is against personnel and local oponion.
    Also with the speed that laws can pass. For me if no other reason why we are required to have an upper house, it would also counter URGENCY.
    All systems have their evils yet we should find a system that has “managable evils”. A system maynot be perfect but lets get one that is less imperfect than the others. So MMP in its current form may or may not work (For me NOT). I think it is better to examine then act, this is already for me becomming a polarised arguement of FPP or MMP and extremely vested interest by the political parties and their associated not what the public deem.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      I suspect that any greater frequency of mp’s crossing the floor in GB is a function of a much larger parliament. With so many mp’s and essentially only two parties, gov’ts will tend to have majorities of >10. This means that small numbers of individual mps will be allowed to cross the floor for any given vote, as it won’t cause the bill to fail, which is all the whips really care about.

      Do you think it fair that if an mp votes against party policy, that the party be able to deny them party resources/selection for re-election? Because when it comes down to it, that’s all the parties have the power to do.

      If denial of this support is such a threat electorally (ie that the candidate won’t be able to compete as an independent against a party backed candidate) then a case can be easily made that they are not really representing their electorate with their crossing of the floor.

      It’s impossible to know why voters vote for whom they do. What we do know is that electorates are often safe for a given party, and that party plays a large role in how people choose to vote. One of the things I like about MMP and PR systems in general, is that they explicitly bring the parties into the system, whereas under fpp or electorate based systems the parties are somehow outside of the framework of the system, while still being the primary way that things, in fact, operate.

      • Herodotus 2.1.1

        I thought that under Lab rules that a MP had to follow coy rules as per the internal rule book I cannot think what the para was as I think when the Foreshore was being debated that one Lab Maori Mp was given a unique one off exemption to cross the floor. The other time I can recall was the Lab MP for Pamure in Piggys reign when M.Warning voted against Nat I think that was the LAb MP’s last term!!
        I agree it is diffficult and the US system both levels have an issue with “purchasing” votes to entice crossing the floor. Yet even with conscience votes there is sometimes a whip used. Unfortunately I think that we need a group of personnality devoid Political scientists to prepare a list with pros and cons of each system and pray that us the voters can and are able to make the least wrong decision. No adertising by any group, just here is the info now go to it and vote so we donot get a fair go best and worst campaign.

        • Pascal's bookie

          I’m not disputing that parties don’t like mps crossing the floor, but even when it’s in their rules, the only sanction they have is to kick them out of the party. I’m suggesting that that is fair enough.

          Mps get elected, in large measure, because of support from a political party. Voters, in large measure, vote for candidates based on what political party they are standing for. Given those facts, I think mps owe parties some measure of allegiance.

          Part of the deal they make when accepting selection by a party to be that party’s candidate, is that they will, in fact, be that party’s candidate. In return, the party helps to elect them, and more importantly, voters that support that party, and it’s platform vote for them.

          Now, having said that, I’m not saying that mps should never cross the floor. They are elected mps and should do what they want with their vote. But I am saying they shouldn’t expect to continue to receive support from a political party should they choose to do so.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Unfortunately I think that we need a group of personnality devoid Political scientists to prepare a list with pros and cons of each system and pray that us the voters can and are able to make the least wrong decision.

          They did. The recommendation was for MMP. This doesn’t mean that what we have couldn’t be made better but it does indicate that changing electoral systems on a whim (which is essentially what NACTs referendum is) isn’t a good idea as we haven’t fully explored what this one is capable of.

  3. Bored 3

    There will be similar tosspots making the same noise about democracy well after Shirtcliffe gets the message from his maker. Hes just plain wrong, its not about the democratic principle with him, its about non majority power. He talks about the minority parties having too much say….so does anybody who cant must 50% plus of the votes. When there are people like Shirtcliffe around remember the old maxim about democracy being something we have to fight to defend, and be eternally vigilent over.

  4. nzfp 4

    It is unimportant whether or not Shirtcliffe knows what he’s talking about or not. What is important is the headline and the first paragraph of print media. As long as an undemocratic corporate media is willing to perpetuate the lie by not examining the content of Shirtcliffes comments the general public who consume, only, the faux media will be none the wiser. Shirtcliffe and his lacky’s in the media would have achieved their objective – the shaping of the general publics opinion and the manufacture of our consent to revert to FPP.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      That is the biggest problem. People, not knowing any better (for whatever reasons) are believing what they read in the MSM and what is reported in the MSM is a load of bollix. We really need to do something about that.

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