Rudman on MMP

September 9th, 2009 at 9:36 am by David Farrar

Brian Rudman writes:

Having lost the battle to skew the new Auckland council voting system to their advantage, the rich white business establishment is now turning its guns on , the proportional voting system, which since 1993, has made Parliament a true House of Representatives.

What nonsense. I just love it when people invent mythical conspiracies as part of what appears to be rampant paranoia.

It was the Labour appointed Royal Commission which proposed at large seats for the Auckland Council. Now I was one of those who did not support the at large seats, but to try and paint it as some cunning plan of rich white businessman is moronic. The motivations behind having at large seats were spelt out in detail by the Royal Commission.

Going along with it, seemingly with some reluctance, is Prime Minister John Key, saying he is honouring an election commitment made last year.

But given National has already broken its key election promise to hand out $4 billion in personal tax cuts over the next three years, it’s a bit late to start pleading principle.

And more stupidity. The global recession destroyed billions of dollars of wealth in New Zealand, and turned projected surpluses into a projected permanent deficit. Hence there was a rational and logical reason not to proceed with tax cuts as promised (and the majority of voters have accepted that).

But again it is pathetic and puerile to suggest that because economic conditions forced a change to fiscal policy, this means that every single promise made at the election should be jettisoned – even in non-economic areas such as electoral.

Rudman would no doubt be the loudest complainer if National did start breaking more promises.

Supporters of MMP (and I would today choose MMP over FPP) should concentrate their efforts on the merits of MMP, not weird conspiracy theories expressing surprise that there will be a referendum when one was promised.

Personally I would like to see a supporter of MMP honestly acknowledge that it is not perfect, and that the power it gave to Winston Peters (which was well beyond his share of the vote) wasn’t conducive to good Government.

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110 Responses to “Rudman on MMP”

  1. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    I’d like to point out that the electoral system didn’t give Winston Peters any power at all. Helen Clark gave Winston that power when she structured a coalition government that depended on him, and when she abandoned all principle and preferred to give him baubles instead of accepting she couldn’t form a government.

    The National party and the Labour party give minor parties enormous power through their unwillingness to ever work together on any issues. This means that instead of a coalition with Winston being the least bad option when compared to a grand coalition, it was the only option. The level of power a minor party has is directly correlated to the number of alternate options there are – John Key clearly understands that. The failing is not one of the system, it is one of the leaders.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Personally I would like to see a supporter of MMP honestly acknowledge that it is not perfect, and that the power it gave to Winston Peters (which was well beyond his share of the vote) wasn’t conducive to good Government.

    Was the power first past the post gave to Muldoon conducive to good government?

    When National announced its referendum policy I wrote:

    There are 7 Māori seats now. And 63 general seats. A 120 seat first past the post Parliament would see 12 Māori seats (and perilously close to 13). Even a 100 seat Parliament would see 10 Māori seats. And the Māori Party would stand a pretty good chance of getting nearly all of them nearly all the time (for the near future, anyway). Rather than a maximum of 7 seats in a 120 (or 121, or 123 seat Parliament), the Māori Party’s 3-4% of the vote could generate 10% of seats in Parliament, and in close-ish elections (most other than those like we look to be having now) they’d stand a good chance of holding the casting vote in Parliament: a near permanent hold on the balance of power.

    [insert cautionary cliché about weeks, time and politics here]

    I still hold to it. Whether you think it’s a good thing is something to debate when we have the discussion over the referendum.

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  3. homepaddock (408 comments) says:

    There are flaws with all electoral systems.

    The cause of some of the problems with MMP is that a party needs only 500 members to register. That allows a group with a grudge to become a party, get in to parliament and wield far more power than their level of support justifies.

    If you can’t get at least 2000 people to agree on your philosophy and pay a sub you’re not a political party you’re just a lobby group.

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  4. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..and that the power it gave to Winston Peters (which was well beyond his share of the vote) wasn’t conducive to good Government…”

    um..!..rodney hide..?..act..?

    (the coat-tail formula needs to be changed..

    and 5% lowered to 4%..)

    but fuck off with yr f.p.p..!

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  5. s.russell (1,640 comments) says:

    I am an MMP supporter and I am quite happy to acknowledge it has imperfections (though fairly minor ones).

    In particular I think the threshold bypass clause which allows parties with less than 5% to get list seats if they have won an electorate was a mistake. Members of the original Royal Commission on the Electoral System have admitted this.

    As to the power it gave Winston Peters, that is only partly right. I think voters also had something to do with it! And (as PaulL points out) other politicians. We should remember that voters did (eventually give Peters his cumuppance too).

    Incidentally, many supporters of the Supplementary Member system have failed to grasp its implications (which Graeme Edgeler points to). I seldom agree with Meteria Turei, but she is right to call it a virtual return to FPP… with one bizarre twist: it would smash the (actually quite limited) power of parties like the Greens and Act, but boost the power of the Maori Party.

    Consider a version of SM with 90 electorates and 30 list seats, and the same threshold system as MMP. Apply it to the 2008 result:

    Party /08 vote/ elect seats /scaled up /share of 30 /total

    N 44.9 41 53 15 68
    L 34 21 27 11 38
    G 6.7 0 0 2 2
    M 2.4 5 7 1 8
    Act 3.7 1 1 1 2
    UF 0.9 1 1 – 1
    P 0.9 1 1 – 1

    The bizarre result is that the MP with 2.4% get 8 seats, while the Greens, with 6.7% get 2. In everything except a landslide they would hold the balance of power – on the back of just a small fragment of the vote.

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  6. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Umm who really takes any notice of Rudman? I voted for MMP. I thought that it would keep politicians honest (ha). Muldoon was a tyrant and I (national voter) voted for Labour to get him out and it worked. But with MMP what have we got now? Politicians who are voted out by the voters returning by way of list seats. Minority parties with policies that have no public mandate (smacking) being voted in and the same policies being made law.

    No Im all for FPP I have realised that politicians will always be dishonest however when the majority of the voters vote someone out I do not want them coming back in through system that is fundimenatly flawed (list seats).

    As I said I voted to get Muldoon and his government out and it worked.

    In 2005 when most of us wanted Helen co out it didnt work as she was able to cobble together a disgusting group that kept her in power. The most blantant grab for political power I have ever seen.

    I was wrong to vote for MMP. Bring back FFP at least then when we vote a government out they are out.

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  7. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Quote:
    rich white business establishment

    Is Brian Rudman part black or what? Doesn’t he like being white? If he doesn’t, then I suggest he goes to Otara market on a Saturday morning and find a tatoo stall there and paint/tatoo himself black. This is a typical leftist attitude. When a society is rich (capitalism at its best), then that’s a bad thing since other underdeveloped countries are still poor as if advancement of civilization have to wait for the poor to catch up before rich nations can advance further. Imagine if western nations have to wait for the Pacific Islands, Ethiopia, Somalia and other poor countries to catchup economically before bringing in modern technologies as telecommunications and internet? The internet won’t arrive until year 2200. When a nation is too poor idiots from Greenpeace/Greens blame that the reason they’re being poor because of western exploitation. Typical leftist tautological argument, there is always a fault no matter what you do. If a nation is too rich, its bad for the environment (something evil) since more earth resources are being used up however if that nation is too poor, then it is the fault of capitalist societies since they exploited the poor.

    Brian Rudman should thank the rich white folks (Herald owner) who provide him with a regular income from his job at the NZ Herald. Yeah Brian Rudman, blame the whiteman and the richman (which just happens to be mostly white). It is not the color of the skin Brian Rudman, it is human nature that one has a strong desire to succeed in life. Everyone wants to succeed (except Brian Rudman I suppose).

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  8. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Minority parties with policies that have no public mandate (smacking) being voted in and the same policies being made law..”

    lucy…key/national voted for that …

    why don’t you take it up with him..?

    and how does him voting for that..make an anti-m.m.p. ‘case’..?

    phil(whoar.co.n)

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  9. Repton (769 comments) says:

    In MMP, a party’s voting power in parliament is directly proportional to its national support. If you support democracy, how can you possibly think this is a bad thing?

    [yes, I know this can be distorted by overhangs, but that is a separate issue, and a minor one IMO]

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  10. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    Whilst LUCY’s ramblings above demonstrate that if you can indeed come to the wrong conclusion if you start with the wrong reasons, she illustrates an important aspect of this debate that will get little airtime. MMP is merely a political mechanism – a process – designed to deliver a democratic outcome. All the different electoral systems in the world won’t change a thing if the fundamentals of society and democratic engagement don’t change. Don’t blame MMP if you don’t like aspects of our democracy. Any electoral system just reflects those who built it, run it and work with it.

    MMP as an electoral mechanism has delivered a more representative parliament, one representative of all the colours and genders in this country. No one can argue that that isn’t a major achievement. MMP has delivered on policy as well. Not only has significant new policies been delivered, but because they were policies brokered across party boundaries they have a lot more “stickability”. New Zealand now has a stable policy environment, one in which business can plan ahead in with some confidence. People can plan with some certainty that Kiwisaver will still be around in forty years. People know they can rely on their WFF payments are stable and will not being swept away suddenly by a government controlled by a cabal of nine cabinet ministers. If National and Labour can agree on the ETS then that will be locked in regardless of who is in power as well.

    Shirtcliffe, Hunt, O’Sullivan and the rest of big business argue that they need certainty and stability and so we should ditch MMP for the “strong government” of FPP/SM. On the other hand, they bitterly complain MMP won’t let them carry out their preferred radical privatisation agenda. Their position is built on sophistry and is at heart a self-serving lie. They can’t have it both ways – what DO the anti-MMP people want? It seems to me they are people who think that we need change, but only change THEY believe in.

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  11. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Why stop at Winston DPF, I would suggest that the “power” it gives to the Greens is more damaging to the fabric of our society than anything Winston has done.

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  12. andrei (2,639 comments) says:

    The problem with MMP is that MPs are beholen to the party hierarchy not the electors for their seats – which is why we have so many deadshits in Parliament.

    We need to go back to FFP and use local primaries to select the candidates, then we will get true representatives rather than the “beltway” elites we have now.

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  13. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Repton – on the other hand FPP means that every single member of parliament is actually elected, rather than simply appointed to a guaranteed position by a small group of people.

    If you support democracy, how can you possibly think this is a bad thing?

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  14. rimu (48 comments) says:

    andrei, under FPP the party decides who stands in each electorate, so your criticism applies to the old system as well. Further, voters will decide which candidate to vote for based on their party affiliation more than the personal qualities of the candidate.

    So FPP offers little more than MMP in that regard. Party politics is a feature of our political landscape (for better or worse…), and MMP reflects that

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  15. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Andrei, aren’t you being a bit too optimistic that the party heirarchies will hand over control of the pre-selection process to the voters? How would up and coming party political professionals get their start?

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  16. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Repton – on the other hand FPP means that every single member of parliament is actually elected, rather than simply appointed to a guaranteed position by a small group of people.

    If you support democracy, how can you possibly think this is a bad thing?

    In FPP, most people (I think) voted for whichever candidate their preferred party stood in the electorate. When Helen Clark retired, Labour stood an unknown in Mt Albert, and won resoundingly. If John Key wasn’t around, do you think Helensville would have voted for a Labour candidate? I doubt it. The major party candidates are still picked by a small group of people.

    Fixed electorates allow gerrymandering. They mean that a party like the Greens could have hundreds of thousands of supporters spread around the country [150,000 last election] but fail to win any seats. They mean that a party with minority support could win a majority of seats. None of these outcomes seem democratic to me.

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  17. BlackMoss (61 comments) says:

    MMP is a sound logical idea, although does give rise to some strange bedfellows. The biggest reason why I would want to keep MMP is that politicians seem to want to return to first past the post — why would they want to do that?

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  18. rimu (48 comments) says:

    The article that DPF quotes has a few slightly foamy/conspiracy aspects to it, but makes good points about the kinds of governments we had under FPP. Such as this:

    “We’d lost confidence in the old two-party system. In both 1978 and 1981, Labour won more of the total vote, but National won a majority of seats and reigned supreme.

    In 1981, protest against the system gained Social Credit 21 per cent of the total vote, but only two seats. In 1984, Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party scored 12 per cent, but no seats. Then came the Rogernomics upheavals.

    No wonder in the 1992 referendum, 85 per cent voted for a change to the electoral system and 70 per cent favoured MMP. As promised, it has made Parliament more representative.

    Just as importantly, for those with a memory, it provided a way of controlling the unbridled power that went to the heads of people like Sir Robert Muldoon and Sir Roger Douglas.

    As for swapping MMP for National’s off-course substitute, Supplementary Vote (SV), that system is little better than straight FPTP. After the 1997 British election, a group of academics funded by the Economic and Social Research Council “replayed” the voting to compare what would have happened under competing electoral systems.

    They then calculated how disproportional each system was, giving each a “deviation from proportionality” score. The lower the figure, the more proportional it was. MMP scored best on 2 per cent. FPTP, the system still used in Britain, had a DV score of 21 and SV, which some in National see as a compromise, was worse on 23.5 per cent.”

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  19. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Being an arduent supporter of MMP I think it a vastly superior system to FPP, as for STV on a national level I think it wouldnt really work. It is really a system better suited to an upper house (which we dont have in NZ) or local councils.

    MMP has put in power the party which has recieved the greatest portion of votes every time since we have had it. Yes two of the governments have been on the edge of that (the Labour / Winston / UF coalition and the National / defected NZ First coalition way back in its early days). However in both cases the party who got the most votes was in power. Also in Labours coalition with the Greens they still had a centre left majority, they just choose Winston as I would say the majority of publc prefered that to a Greens etc coaltion.

    Yes there has been some contestable pieces of legislation (EFA – being number 1) put through under MMP. However it effectively was the nail in the coffin for Labour, so you could say it still works. On the contrary under FPP we had some terrible governments, Muldoon, the closest we have had to a dictator, fucked this country beyond belief. Whilst there are many reasons we are where we are in the OECD he is definitely one of them, a big one of them. Further he just won the swing seats.

    LUCY says that voting against Muldoon worked. Well in its final go yes, but in 1978 and 1981 when he got significantly less votes than Labour (http://www.elections.org.nz/record/resultsdata/fpp-seats-won.html) did it work. Umm no. Because FPP is not representational and only swing votes mattered. Hence spending was distorted and so many other negative factors.

    Fix MMP, its a good system fundamentally with a couple of things which could be improved.

    You know the one I love, in 1981 59.7% of voters voted for a left government, a landslide these days. They got 45 seats. National / Muldoon got 38.8% but yet got 47 seats 51%. and you support this system…

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  20. Sam (501 comments) says:

    –Repton Says: In MMP, a party’s voting power in parliament is directly proportional to its national support. If you support democracy, how can you possibly think this is a bad thing?–

    New Zealand First Party 4.07% of the national vote = 0 seats
    ACT New Zealand 3.65% of the national vote = 5 seats
    Mäori Party 2.39% of the national vote = 5 seats
    Progressive 0.91 of the national vote = 1 seat
    United Future 0.87 of the national vote = 1 seat

    Your comparison between MMP and democracy is unwarranted it seems…

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  21. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Andrei, aren’t you being a bit too optimistic that the party heirarchies will hand over control of the pre-selection process to the voters? How would up and coming party political professionals get their start?

    Perhaps anyone should be allowed to stand under any banner. Require all candidates to do their own fundraising, and specify the party they will support if elected. Multiple candidates per party for each electorate — as many as are interested. And, of course, they’ll be listed by name only (not party) on the voting form. That way, electors will pick the strongest candidate, instead of just blindly voting for a party.

    That way, you guarantee getting the best man (or woman), and it’s true democracy by the people.

    …right?

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  22. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    How can anybody who says they love democracy be a supporter of MMP?

    One of the foundations of democracy is the ability to select your own representatives and to boot the bastards out when you feel they stray from the will of their constituents.

    MMP means that there is no way the people can rid themselves of MP’s they dislike, tell me one electorate who would elect Bradford, Delahunty, Locke, and the rest of the Greens?

    We witnessed Democracy in action at the last Aussie general election, the bloody PM got the boot from their parliament, that just could not happen in NZ.

    FPP or some other constituency based system is the only way to go, the will of the people is something these bastards cannot be allowed to ignore.

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  23. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Your comparison between MMP and democracy is unwarranted it seems…

    Actually, despite not liking their polices, I think NZ First should be in parliament now. I would support lowering the MMP threshold.

    As for the Māori Party overhang, this could be solved by increasing the number of list seats. Or we could just put up with it, as a sign that no system is perfect.

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  24. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    I think that candidates should not be allowed to be an electorate and list candidate at the same time. One or the other. The list should only be used to make the proportions work, not guarantee someone booted out of their electorate a seat.

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  25. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Tom Semmens wrote:

    MMP as an electoral mechanism has delivered a more representative parliament, one representative of all the colours and genders in this country.

    Proportionality is the problem. Half the population are below average. Do we want to be proportionally represented by them?

    Proportionality is a mirage. Ultimately a majority government is formed at which point proportionality is out the window. Government is fundamentally a non-proportional thing.

    MMP is a con. People think they’re getting proportional government but really they’re getting FPP with an injection of over-stuffed kingmakers and extremists.

    cheers

    Malcolm

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  26. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Repton (your 10.49) – I think what you’re advocating here is a system of open primaries, which in conjunction with FPP I’m persuaded would be a good thing (I’ve been following the UK arguments reasonably closely via Dan Hannan).

    I also think we need a serious look at reducing the number of MPs and using the freed up seats to have an upper house. Having the two houses elected via different systems (I’m thinking outloud here) could be a way to gain the benefits and balance the drawbacks…FPP lower house and MMP upper?

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  27. Repton (769 comments) says:

    How can anybody who says they love democracy be a supporter of MMP?

    To me, the most important aspect of democracy is that everyone’s vote should count.

    Under FPP, if I don’t support one of the top two candidates [read: parties] for my electorate, my vote doesn’t count.
    If I live in a safe seat, my vote barely counts.
    If I live in a marginal seat, my vote practically counts double. The politicians will lavish attention on my area because I’m one of the keys to winning.

    You say you want to be able to vote out the Green MPs. Well, unless they stood in your electorate, you wouldn’t be able to do that anyway. But under MMP, you can place a vote for a different party, to strengthen their position in parliament against the Green party. And you can still do this, even if you live in Mt Albert or Wellington Central or some other left-wing enclave.

    The system is not failing just because it gives a voice to people whom you disagree with.

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  28. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Let’s hope that this time in the referendum, the Business Roundtable keeps its nose out of it. In the last referendum on the voting system, Shirtclifffe’s campaigning round the country stimulated a bugger-you vote by many people against FPP, which the Roundtable wanted to keep.

    NZ has special needs with no federal system, no upper house, and only a figurehead with no exercisable power placed above Parliament in the Governor-General.

    However, if NZers want proportional voting let it not be MMP. Every MP, in IMHO, should ultimately be directly accountable to voters. This is especially important with the increasing occurrence of conscience issues, eg child smacking. At present, list MPs answer to no-one when it comes to free conscience votes. That is a real weakness of MMP.

    Another is the unfair power it gives to small minorities, like the Melon Greens.

    As for Rudman, what else do you expect from the NZ Hooerald?

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  29. andrei (2,639 comments) says:

    MMP Democratic my arse

    Ōhariu

    Kelly Buchanan Alliance
    Charles Chauvel Labour Party
    Colin du Plessis ACT
    Dunne United Future
    Gareth Hughes Green Party
    Shanks National Party
    Joel Sison Kiwi Party candates 2008
    Danyl Strype Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

    Clutha-Southland candates 2008
    Bill English National Party Incumbent, current National Party deputy leader, winner
    Tim Gow Green Party
    Roly Henderson ACT
    Marvin Hubbard Alliance
    Don Pryde Labour Party
    Paul Tankard Family Party

    So Ōhariu a Wellington Electorate gets 3 local mps whilst Clutha-Southland gets none since as we all know Bill English is to all intents and purposes a Wellingtonian

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  30. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    >>Having lost the battle to skew the new Auckland council voting system to their advantage, the rich white business establishment is now turning its guns on MMP, the proportional voting system

    That is some really strange logic from Rudman
    The at-large seats on the Auckland Council were basically the equivalent of list seats in Parliament
    So because of the lefts squawking we go a fully FPP (ward based) system instead of a semi-proportional one
    Now they are whinging we might move back towards a semi proportional system in national elections from a proportional system

    So in local elections more proportional is bad and in national elections less proportional is bad
    And either way it is all the rich white mans fault

    All I can assume is that he is a racist sexist class warrior

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  31. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    One of the process problems with MMP is there is an implicit bias that while all MP’s are equal, electorate MP’s are more equal than others. One of the results of that bias is the threshold combined with the ability of a party winning one electorate seat bringing in a slew of MP’s in proportion to its vote can produce some distortions in representation. Now, these distortions are minor compared with the outrageous dictatorship by plurality such as we saw under Muldoon, but should be addressed. I support the threshold, because I don’t think having Larry Baldock, Brian Tamaki, Bill and Ben and two stoned representatives of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in parliament would add much to the sum total of democracy. But I think 5% is to high and we need to talk about the level we set the threshold at (3%? 4%?) and whether or not an electorate MP should bring anymore MP’s into the house until his/her party achieves the threshold.

    It is a pity Key didn’t commit to a proper REVIEW of MMP that would iron out some of the issues around the system that have been thrown up over the last decade or so, rather than this silly referendum, which will default to a battle between MMP supporters and non-MMP supporters with no one having any idea of the alternatives.

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  32. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Proportionality is a mirage. Ultimately a majority government is formed at which point proportionality is out the window. Government is fundamentally a non-proportional thing.

    This is true, and is no doubt why Labour and the previous National government were willing to bend over backwards to do a deal with NZ First –- because being in government is so much better than being in opposition. Graeme Edgelar proposed a partial solution to this: http://publicaddress.net/default,5471.sm#post5471

    Government pretty much has to go 100% to the winner, but it’s never seemed right that Parliament does. A close second in a hard-fought election campaign just seems like it should have more reward than a slightly lower differential on the votes the Government has the courage to place before Parliament.

    You’ll lose every vote, but it really seems like you should get to decide what some of them are.
    [...]
    If we allowed as many MPs as wanted, to have same bill the opposition could seize the opportunity to push some real policy, to choose an issue where they think the Government is vulnerable.

    Basically, the problem is that the opposition parties are at the mercy of the ballot for being able to propose bills. Graeme’s proposal is that parties should be able to use their number of MPs to add “weight” to a bill, to significantly increase the chances of it being pulled. This would (apparently) be an easy change.

    (possibly you could also increase the number of ballots, or give opposition parties guaranteed slots based on their numbers, but I don’t know how possible that would be)

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  33. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Robinson wrote:

    When I see the crowd telling us to get rid of MMP, they are generally, white, male, and rich…

    Your best bet is to think for yourself. Dividing people into imaginary groups and taking a head count? Not so much.

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  34. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    People seem focused on ability to vote out representatives they don’t like. We have that power under MMP. If you don’t vote for a party, they get no representatives. If you don’t like their list, don’t vote for them. Just like under FPP, if you didn’t like their local candidate, you didn’t have to vote for them.

    The reality is that in both situations people hold their nose and go with the greater good. Under MMP they vote for a party that has a couple of people they don’t like on the list. Under FPP they voted for local candidates they didn’t like so as to get the party they liked. Same same.

    The downside of FPP is that nobody wants to stand in a marginal seat or a safe opposition seat. So those electorates get drongos as candidates, which then distorts the overall vote for the party. MMP lets strong candidates campaign in marginal or unsafe seats, with a fallback that they can get in via the list if they don’t win the seat. That is, in my opinion, a better result.

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  35. Repton (769 comments) says:

    So Ōhariu a Wellington Electorate gets 3 local mps whilst Clutha-Southland gets none since as we all know Bill English is to all intents and purposes a Wellingtonian

    Why did Southland vote for English if he’s not acting as a local MP for them? This would seem to be the optimum occasion to split your vote: party vote to National (since I presume National has wide support in Southland) and electorate vote to someone with time to spend on local concerns.

    Do you think they would have voted for someone else under FPP?

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  36. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    rimu wrote:

    In 1981, protest against the system gained Social Credit 21 per cent of the total vote, but only two seats.

    Can that really be considered a black mark against FPP?

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  37. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    andrei, if the good people of Clutha-Southland wish to return an absentee MP, that is between them and Mr. English. THAT is democracy. And the fact that most people on party lists live in cities is a reflection of demographic reality, not of a problem with MMP.

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  38. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Andrei FPP is better in this regards how?

    (Hint it isnt).

    At least under MMP the party gets their total number of seats based on total number of votes.

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  39. Chthoniid (2,044 comments) says:

    I think it is important to remember that the goal for any political party is to get elected into Government. Whatever voting system is used, parties have to use it to maximise the odds that they can be in government.

    This makes it misleading to compare the lower popular vote of National under Muldoon. FPP doesn’t mean you form the government by getting the most votes. You win by getting the most seats. That meant by and large, parties didn’t bother campaigning heavily in opposition safe seats. They campaigned heavily in marginal seats. And the reality is that Muldoon did it better than Labour. If forming a government meant having to win the popular vote, Muldoon would have changed his electoral strategy. Votes in safe Labour seats would have mattered more and there would be an effort to drum these up. We don’t know that National would have failed to secure the popular vote in these elections, simply because the counter-factual is unknown.

    If we are drawing on National’s failure to win the popular vote as a reason to change from FPP, we are in effect, trying to reward Labour for making dumb choices with their election strategies in the late 70s and early 80s. There are other options to restraining the likes of Muldoon- e.g. increased constitutional safeguards as opposed to changing the electoral system.

    I think where MMP is on stronger ground, is the increase in diversity and representation in Parliament. Where it has the conspicuous weaknesses is the time it takes to form a government (increased lag), that a coalition government is practically mandated under this system, and that all policies are up for negotiation afterward. So it is much harder to select a party that will actually have the ability to enact the policies you might want to vote for.

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  40. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    “Can that really be considered a black mark against FPP?” That a party got 20% of the votes but 2 seats, out of 92. What is your standards for a black mark? The winning party not to actually get a vote at all?

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  41. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “But I think 5% is to high and we need to talk about the level we set the threshold at (3%? 4%?)”

    I think this is the right move – it allows more representation – and if there are more small parties with seats it should give the major coalition party more options to get votes, so it is less likely one small party will hold the balance of power.

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  42. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Tom Semmens at 10.29 wrote: “…MMP as an electoral mechanism has delivered a more representative parliament, one representative of all the colours and genders in this country..”

    You could configure FPP to be representative on a colour and gender line if you wished: seats instead of geographic could be based on race and gender. Is that what you and the liberal elite want, Tom?

    Everyone focuses on the representative aspect of elections, but don’t we want people to choose what they think will give them the best government, not necessarily the most representative government? If you are going to go down the most representative line, representative of what: age groups, race, religion, position on the left-right spectrum, degree of Green mania, physical health, IQ? And when it comes to the “genders” you mention, how many do you think there are Tom? Two, three, four, ten?

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  43. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    “I also think we need a serious look at reducing the number of MPs and using the freed up seats to have an upper house. Having the two houses elected via different systems (I’m thinking outloud here) could be a way to gain the benefits and balance the drawbacks…FPP lower house and MMP upper?”

    Not really in favour of NZ having an upper house. The primary purpose of an upper house is to slow legislation down. This has some merits but over all the cost I do not think is worth it.

    If we were to would be more in favour of having it the other way round, with the lower house proportional (MMP) and the upperhouse, which generally just have the write to veto, being a STV system.

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  44. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    Mr Rudman is correct. There has been a clear business agenda for a Supercity through numerous business connections (for example, Competitive Auckland, AucklandPlus and other configurations). These agencies have been strong advocates of ‘getting politics out of local governance’, which is a way of saying that regional economic development needs a strong, centralised regional governmment structure that removes petty (that is, ‘little peoples”) interventions and lets the right sort of people direct Auckland’s future. If you haven’t understood that, then you haven’t understood the complex politics around Auckland regional development over the past seven years or so. It is not a conspiracy. It has been perfectly open as an agenda.

    The Shirtcliffe attack on MMP was similar. FPP allows governments to do things that are not in manifestos. 1984 and 1990 showed us that all too clearly. Business like that option (as Fran O’Sullivan showed in the Herald recently) for it provides a way for the mass of ‘little voices’ which may be heard via, for example, MMP, to be marginalised in favour of the greater (business) good. FPP may be, as post 2WW US theories of democracy argued, a choice between elites, who then may, if they choose, implememt polciies different from those announced or promoted, for their elite status gives them the power and legitimacy so to do. The only problem with FPP for business is that the Left might win (in which case business will play dirty, as it did with its threatened strike of capital in the early 2000s). Mr Key, however, is riding high at the moment, and business is wiating for its full share of benefits from that success. Again, no conspiracy needed.

    Mr Rudman is quite correct.

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  45. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    You can accuse me of rambling but you cant ignore what I say. The fact is that MMP has delivered people and parties that we (the majority) didnt want and allowed them them to pass laws and policies we didnt vote for. Right or wrong we did not vote for
    -A high court instead of the right to go to the privy council
    -NZ honours – instead of knighthoods etc
    -The smacking law
    -The electoral finance act

    -Resorce management act (yes I know that National bought it in but Labour ‘enhanced it”) that is extremely prohibitive for private enterprise.

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  46. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Jeff83 wrote:

    “Can that really be considered a black mark against FPP?” That a party got 20% of the votes but 2 seats, out of 92. What is your standards for a black mark? The winning party not to actually get a vote at all?

    My comment was unnecessarily snippy. I meant, was it really a bad thing that Social Credit and their bizzarre economic ideas didn’t get any power?

    Of course we have to put their funny ideas into perspective. At that time the leader of NZ’s right-most party thought you could control inflation by mandating a price freeze.. We’ve come a long way, I suppose.

    cheers

    Malcolm

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  47. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Sorry. The page went mad.
    And so many more. The only people who want MMP are those that the public will not entertain with thier weird ideas. I will be voting for ACT next time. Not a ‘large party’ and one that under FPP will not feature but I would rather that than another green (communist) Labour (socialist) National (labour Lite) coalition that is so ineffectional that it assists us in our rapid desent to third world status.

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  48. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Once in a blue moon Rudman writes something sensible. This was not one of those rare events.

    Leave the electoral system alone, make referenda binding and give our children and future voters a better education.

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  49. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    It’s a very odd conspiracy that links the Royal Commission recommended At large seats and the referendum on MMP to the “rich white business establishment” since in the campaign for one Auckland council (which Labour responded to with the Royal Commission when Local Government failed to reform themselves) the organs of the “rich white business establishment” argued for 20 individual wards (based on Parliamentary boundaries). Thus the position of the “rich white business establishment” was very close to that of the Labour Party.

    One would have to troll very hard through the submissions to the Royal Commission on Auckland to find any mention of At Large Seats or support for them.

    However one can be too hard on Rudman; he is after all a story teller.

    I am not sure offering Winston as evidence a failing of MMP is a smart move. Winston was Winston prior to MMP. Winston was entirely a creation of FPTP; a son of our most successful FPTP Party: National. It was the close death embrace by Labour (when he should have engineered his own martyrdom) and the final rejection by National (who created him) that led voters to finish him. The Winston First phenomenon was simply the external embodiment was what had occurred with FPTP broad church parties pre MMP.

    The serious argument from some on the right (Hooton) is that MMP stops transformational government. Pre MMP New Zealand has only ever had one Party offering transformational government: Labour (1st and 4th Labour Governments). National was an anti Labour Party and from 1941 a status quo party – that is its history (a history that John Key is in the mould). The biggest expansion of the welfare state occurred under National for example. National took state control to the limit with Muldoon but Labour had been price freezing just prior to 1975 – the dominant paradigm was big government – National took it to the logical extreme. National did have a brief flirt with radicalism in 1990 – 1993 again as a reaction to Labour (but for a split on the left, National would have lost the 1993 election). Its current leading lights (other than Key) were so traumatised by how close they came to a one term National Government, that National has returned to type; non transformational, status quo, don’t startle the horses.

    What MMP has actually done is convert Labour from a change, radicalism and reform type party that is seldom in power to a small ‘c’ conservative status quo party too. Labour has replicated National’s major strategic approach. That combined with good political management resulted in a three term Labour Government. National had to wait until New Zealanders simply tired of Clark/Labour much like Labour used to have to wait for New Zealanders to tire of National governments.

    I cannot see why a return to less proportional electoral system will offer transformational government from the centre-right since we never got it from National its not really in their DNA.

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  50. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Lucy, no electoral system will deliver all the people and policies that “we the majority” voted for. “We the majority” is not “me so everyone else must think the same all the time”.

    There seems to be a growing movement towards people wanting, expecting, their team to win all the time and also for the game to played and to make all the selections they want. It is often thought that many politicians are too far removed and cannot empathise with the realities of ordinary living. I think there are a lot of ordinary people who have no appreciation of the realities of real politics and real governing.

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  51. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Chthoniid and Chris Diack – excellent posts

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  52. Repton (769 comments) says:

    The fact is that MMP has delivered people and parties that we (the majority) didnt want and allowed them them to pass laws and policies we didnt vote for. Right or wrong we did not vote for: [...]

    You didn’t vote for an Auckland supercity either. But again, nothing here would change under FPP. Governments will always do what they think they should in the current situation, regardless of what they promised before. And I don’t think that’s really a bad thing.

    Do you really think a government should be restricted to implementing only and exactly the policy it campaigned on?

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  53. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Robert Winter offers up the ultimate conspiracy: that the supercity is all about a conspiracy by the economic development agencies of the Councils who by extension must be in league with Mr Rudmans “rich white business establishment.”

    Heavens what would local government know about economic development? If their people did, they would be out creating wealth not working for Councils.

    Government both central and local by its nature doesn’t create wealth – it destroys it – the only question is always about the quantum of this destruction.

    The smartest thing the new super Council could do is dump most of the economic development activities and focus on basic infrastructure and a simpler clearer district plan and keeping its own monopoly costs down.

    The best think Councils can do for economic development is get out of the way for those that actually create wealth.

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  54. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Repton

    “To me, the most important aspect of democracy is that everyone’s vote should count”

    Every vote does count, you want the best of both worlds, we should be electing LOCAL representatives, they would stay in the house for as long as they had the support of their constiuents.

    “Under FPP, if I don’t support one of the top two candidates [read: parties] for my electorate, my vote doesn’t count”

    Wrong again, your vote does count, the reason your candidate did not make it into the house is because most people did not want them to be their elected representative, what you are suggesting is not democratic.

    “If I live in a safe seat, my vote barely counts”

    Tell that to Judith Tizard.

    “If I live in a marginal seat, my vote practically counts double. The politicians will lavish attention on my area because I’m one of the keys to winning.”

    It would only remain a marginal seat if the local MP was not doing his job the way the constituaents wanted.

    “You say you want to be able to vote out the Green MPs. Well, unless they stood in your electorate, you wouldn’t be able to do that anyway. But under MMP, you can place a vote for a different party, to strengthen their position in parliament against the Green party. And you can still do this, even if you live in Mt Albert or Wellington Central or some other left-wing enclave.”

    All well and good Repton, however the fact remains that not one single Green MP has been directly elected to the house, the people (the mugs who pay their wages) have NO SAY in who sits in the house, that is NOT democratic.

    “The system is not failing just because it gives a voice to people whom you disagree with.”

    The system is abysmal, I repeat, any system that means the people cannot have a say in who represents them is not only wrong , it is also evil.

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  55. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – I can accept most of those arguments (I may not agree they win over other arguments, but they are good arguments), but it requires at least one proviso.

    You state that “.. the reason your candidate did not make it into the house is because most people did not want them to be their elected representative… ” That’s usually also true of the person who actually wins an electorate race. First past the post allowed situations where people could be chose as representative even where they didn’t get a majority in the electorate. 35% of voters (or less!) might vote for the winner, with the other 65% split between the other candidates.

    The person elected could be chosen despite 65% of people (possibly) not wanting them. If your analysis took this into account (by proposing preferential voting, for example) your arguments would have far greater weight.

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  56. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Big Bruv your post is completely opposed by statistics. Certain seats never changed hands because of their social economic demographic, or were rural. Essentially each election was decided by about ‘9’ swing seats where your vote actually counted. People couldn’t really kick out their local MP if they wanted that party to be in power, and as seeing as a party has allot more to do with how a parliament affects an individual than a single representative the whole idea of representation was false.

    Further FPP meant spending was lavished on swing seats, like Hamilton East, but completely ignored on ‘safe seats’. This is in part why Auckland as a whole lagged in infrastructure spending when compared to the rest of the country for about 20 years, and why our roads are so fucked.

    Finally FPP encouraged divisive governance as best shown by Muldoon, who knew the areas he had to win and fuck the rest of the country.

    IF you really believe in democracy then votes actually have to matter. Under FPP a hell of allot didn’t, and people had by the end of its life become completely disillusioned with it.

    Some here (LUCY especially) basically don’t like MMP because National winless. Choosing to oppose representation on the grounds that you don’t agree with what the majority want is not a sound argument.

    HOWEVER there is one area that MMP has failed and needs to rectified, and that’s the conscience issue votes. Effectively it is the accountability of representative MPs that needs to be addressed, and have back entry via list done away with.

    A way this could be enhanced is on conscience issues representative MPs vote could be worth more or something like that.

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  57. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    DPF:

    “Supporters of MMP (and I would today choose MMP over FPP) should concentrate their efforts on the merits of MMP, not weird conspiracy theories expressing surprise that there will be a referendum when one was promised.”

    Fair point. But why exactly was that original promise made? I’m not suggesting conspiracy theories or anything … but what exactly is the “problem” that this referendum (and the promise made to hold it) is supposed to be fixing? And if it was a pretty silly promise to make in the first place, is there really any honour or value in keeping to it?

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  58. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Actually, having the numbers in parliament can be a curse if not properly managed, just ask John Howard. After the 2005 election when he unexpectedly gained control of the Australian Senate, the expectation for changes from his supporters rose markedly. This also created tensions between the coalition parties (Barnaby Joyce took advantage of this and bargained for everything even though he was a member of the coalition).

    He was able to get his workchoices industrial legislation passed but this proved an electoral loser as it wasn’t culturally or socially acceptable given the history of industrial relations in Australia.

    Compare that to the GST legislation in 1998 which has heavily modified from the original bill through a deal done with The Democrats and actually helped him electorally.

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  59. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    Mr Diack misrepresents me. I did not argue “that the supercity is all about a conspiracy by the economic development agencies of the Councils who by extension must be in league with Mr Rudmans “rich white business establishment”.

    What I wrote was “There has been a clear business agenda for a Supercity through numerous business connections (for example, Competitive Auckland, AucklandPlus and other configurations). These agencies have been strong advocates of ‘getting politics out of local governance’, which is a way of saying that regional economic development needs a strong, centralised regional governmment structure that removes petty (that is, ‘little peoples”) interventions and lets the right sort of people direct Auckland’s future”.

    Have a look at the boards of Competitive Auckland and AucklandPlus, and, if you have any knowledge of these people, you will know well that many might, in general, line up with a strong, business-driven Supercity, and a strong, business-driven central government model. This is not a conspiracy – this is classic NZ sectional politics, hoping the National will offer them a) the Supercity and b) an end to MMP. One could argue further that business, disempowered somewhat, but not wholly, b etween 1999 and 2008, is seeking a return to the status it gained post-1984, believing in that position as of right. But, I expect, that wouold be yet another conspiracy…..

    Competitive Auckland
    Competitive Auckland was a not-for-profit charitable trust formed in March 2001 by a group of business leaders concerned about the loss of business and talent from the Auckland Region. They gathered support and pro-bono/voluntary resources from a broad cross section of Auckland business, the tertiary institutions and local government. During a five month process a well articulated strategy for the development of the Auckland region as an internationally competitive business location was developed, and out of the process an economic development agency for Auckland, the region, was created.

    Board

    Ron Carter
    Richard Didsbury
    Nick Main
    John Raine
    David McConnell
    David Tapper
    Earl Gray

    AucklandPlus

    Board

    Michael Barnett
    Greg Muir
    Diana Parry
    Ross Peat
    Helen Robinson
    Rodney Walshe
    Stephen Selwood

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  60. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    The problem was that people were saying that the original royal commission promised a referendum. And we didn’t get one. So if we have one, and it picks MMP, then all the nay sayers can shut up. And if we have one, and people pick something other than MMP, then the people will have spoken.

    Now is actually a great time to have a referendum – people are reasonably satisfied with the way MMP is working right now – we have a government that most people voted for and a stable coalition that is including parties it didn’t strictly have to. It is everything that is good about MMP. The two governments that included Winston were everything that was bad about MMP, but he is pretty much toast now.

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  61. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Tell that to Judith Tizard.

    I haven’t been following Auckland politics. Was that because people didn’t like her, or because people didn’t like Labour?

    All well and good Repton, however the fact remains that not one single Green MP has been directly elected to the house, the people (the mugs who pay their wages) have NO SAY in who sits in the house, that is NOT democratic.

    The Green MPs were elected because people voted for the Green party. The list was known up-front and sent round to every household. How is this not “directly elected”? People absolutely have a say in who sits in the house — what did you think you were doing in November? 150,000 people wanted Green MPs in the house, and so they got them. Over a million people wanted National MPs in the house, and so they got a lot more than the Green supporters. The Green MPs weren’t elected by you, but they were elected by their supporters. What’s wrong with that? Why don’t Green supporters deserve to be represented?

    If you want MPs to be elected solely to represent their electorate, then you should advocate getting rid of parties, and having all MPs be independent. But as long as we have political parties, those parties’ votes in the house should represent their support across the whole nation.

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  62. Repton (769 comments) says:

    First past the post allowed situations where people could be chose as representative even where they didn’t get a majority in the electorate. 35% of voters (or less!) might vote for the winner, with the other 65% split between the other candidates.

    Ohariu-Belmont last election: Peter Dunne won with 32.4%.

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  63. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Repton is right. Electoral candidates are no more validly elected than list candidates. Any problems of over-representation (aside from the Maori seats overhang) are the consequence of acquiescence by major parties.

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  64. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Jeff

    “Certain seats never changed hands because of their social economic demographic, or were rural”

    Certain seats did not change hands for the simple reason that the people who lived in those electorates were happy with their MP or the party they represented, however, at times we have seen “safe” seats change hand because the people did not like the direction of their party or the local MP.
    If you remember back to 87 Labour came extremely close to winning Remuera

    “People couldn’t really kick out their local MP if they wanted that party to be in power”

    Then they should join the local party and move to have that MP ousted from the seat, it is so “Kiwi” to moan about something without getting off our backsides to change things.

    “Finally FPP encouraged divisive governance as best shown by Muldoon, who knew the areas he had to win and fuck the rest of the country.”

    Come on now!, that statement cannot go unchallenged, the most divisive governance we have seen in living memory was under the last Labour led government, the EFA, the anti smacking legislation, RMA changes to name but a few.

    FPP is not perfect, but it does deliver stable government and arguably offers the voters a genuine choice, all MMP offers is corruption, back room deals and power to minor parties and their unelected members that far outweighs their mandate.

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  65. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    the most divisive governance we have seen in living memory was under the last Labour led government, the EFA, the anti smacking legislation . . .

    And they got voted out of power. Under FPP unpopular governments like Labour were able to rort the system and remain in power even though the majority of the electorate voted against them.

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  66. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    BB, does your “living memory” extend back to 1981? I don’t think so, or you would remember the closest NZ has been to civil war in my lifetime.

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  67. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Robert Winter

    Competitive Auckland was that fore-runner for the current Committee for Auckland. This is an example of civil society in action – it’s a sign of health in Auckland – good citizens stepping up to help their City. And not funded by ratepayers. There are countless such organisations albeit not with the profile that the Committee for Auckland has.

    I note that in the presentation of the Committee for Auckland to the Royal Commission they did not really support local boards. Mmmm what is happening with this conspiracy? Nor did they make any mention of At Large seats. It’s a long time since I read their submission but I suspect they probably called for a pattern of individual member wards. You are welcome to check this. Maybe they were conspiring with Labour?

    The At Large seats were entirely a Royal Commission idea. They coupled with a referendum on MMP are not good evidence of conspiracy of anything really.

    AucklandPlus is Auckland’s regional economic development agency .i.e. an ARC creation. It’s matched by other economic development bureaucrats in each of the TLA’s all doing the same thing. It’s probably largely a waste of money.

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  68. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “Come on now!, that statement cannot go unchallenged, the most divisive governance we have seen in living memory was under the last Labour led government, the EFA, the anti smacking legislation, RMA changes to name but a few.”

    RMA was started by the previous Labour government and enacted by the last National government in 1991, it has it’s flaws but it has hardly been a focus of divisiveness.

    EFA is supported by the two major parties.

    The “ant-smacking” legislation was supported by nearly all MPs. It has caused some controversy but it’s actual effect has been minimal and it has hardly been like the Springbok tour.

    Amongst the most controversial things I remember from the last Labour government were a painting that was supposed to be a gesture towards someone fundraising, and a speeding ticket. The main divisions seem to be on what is actually important and what is not.

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  69. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    big bruv

    You dont appear to know anything about either the way electoral systems operate or New Zealand history.

    What is unstable about the current John Key led National minority government.

    What was unstable about the former Helen Clark led Labour minority government.

    What was unstable about the Bolger/Shipley Government.

    Unstable Government has not been a feature of MMP here, each HoR seem happy to let governments largely run to their full term. National who faced a loss of parliamentary support from Winston First during the 1996 – 99 term quickly found it from elsewhere in the HoR. During 1996 – 99 Winston was behaving in a similar manner as he did between 1990 – 1993 under FPTP.

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  70. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    Ah cerium is now feigning short memory syndrome.

    If that is your very short list of controversial things around the last nest of vipers…ppppffffttttt

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  71. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Cerium: “EFA is supported by the two major parties.”

    That foul deserves at least a yellow card.

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  72. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    “Cerium: “EFA is supported by the two major parties.”
    That foul deserves at least a yellow card.”

    Actually, Alan, when you see National’s proposals for replacing the EFA, I think you’ll find Cerium is right in substance (even if s/he got there by accident)!

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  73. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    The EFA was repealed on 12 Feb 09 which was an election promise by National. You can argue about the replacement but you can’t argue that both parties supported Labour’s version.

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  74. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Both supporters of MMP and FPP have good points
    I am in no doubt we need a system, where a party getting roundabout the low 40’s or above will have a mandate to rule, below that they will need to form a coalition.
    A hybrid system like SM with say 50% electoral vote and 50% proportionality will achieve this
    Besides that is what a lot of people who voted for MMP thought they were voting for

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  75. James (1,338 comments) says:

    How about we take your ‘democracy” and shove it up your arse?

    Lets try a free society for a long over due change and render the pollies and the control freaks redundant.

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  76. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Yeah, mixed my acronyms. But EFA, unpalatable as it was, was hardly a Vietnam War. We seem to bitch around then edges while generally things keep chugging away. Maybe there is a conspiracy – “they” keep us hissy fitting over trivia to distract us from the important things. But more likely we inflict it on ourselves, the biggest public uproars seem to occur when we lose rugby games, especially a quadrennial disaster.

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  77. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Duplicate deleted

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  78. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Alan

    My memory goes back further than you think.

    And please, civil war in 81?…what a lot of crap.

    Many of us who were against the tour were also appalled at the way the anti tour movement was hijacked by the commies and professional shit stirrers, indeed, history has shown up many of the so called “leaders” to be people who had absolutely no interest at all in the plight of Black south Africans, Minto’s recent comments confirm this.

    Muldoon did not get a lot right, but having made the choice to allow the tour he was totally correct to see it through to the end.

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  79. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Danyl

    # Danyl Mclauchlan (592) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    September 9th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    the most divisive governance we have seen in living memory was under the last Labour led government, the EFA, the anti smacking legislation . . .

    And they got voted out of power. Under FPP unpopular governments like Labour were able to rort the system and remain in power even though the majority of the electorate voted against them.”

    Did you miss the 2005 rort Danyl?, no system is perfect as the corrupt Clark govt proved.

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  80. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Chris Diack

    You appear to be talking out of your backside.

    If you think that the rorts, double deals and minor party agreements done by the last Labour govt to retain power were signs of good or stable government then you have rocks in your head.

    MMP means that by and large our politicians CANNOT be held to account on many of their election pledges, MMP allows them to say they had to back down on certain promises because their coalition partner wanted something else, it gives the bastards a way out that FPP did not.

    There is nothing unstable about the current govt given their short time in power, but you can guarantee that six months out from the election their will be a major rift engineered by the apartheid party that allow them to distance themselves from the Nat’s prior to the election.

    I cannot comment on the Shipley government as I did not live in NZ for the greater part of the 90’s.

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  81. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    bb, no, it wasn’t crap. By the time the tour reached the final Auckland test match the level of violence had escalated to the point of people being killed. By some miracle no-one was, but very serious injuries were sustained.

    And many families and relationships were badly affected.

    In my lifetime New Zealand has never been so deeply divided.

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  82. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Of course the country was divided, hell, my own family was divided over it.

    The point I was making is that not one of my family felt the need to riot nor did they support those who took the chance to vandalise other peoples property or simply have a crack at the police.

    At NO point did we come close to civil war.

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  83. Peter Cresswell (48 comments) says:

    David, you say, “it is pathetic and puerile to suggest that … economic conditions forced a change to fiscal policy

    In actual fact, it is pathetic and puerile to continue suggesting that the economic conditions that “forced” the change were unknown back when John and Bill were making them — that they came quite out of the blue — that they couldn’t see what was coming.

    That’s actually a flat out lie — for goodness’ sake, John Key’s former employer went to the wall in September of 2008, so unless your position is that Key is flat-out incompetent you can hardly say he wouldn’t have noticed the carnage in the world’s markets. Just look at the timeline of events, and when they made their promises, and you can see how cynically they made them.

    The fact is, they did notice, they made their promises, and they had a pretty fair idea when they made them they couldn’t deliver on them.

    That’s called lying. It’s called being dishonest.

    Personally, David, I would like to see you honestly acknowledge that.

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  84. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “At NO point did we come close to civil war.”

    At no time since (and for decades before) has anything come close to that amount of conflict and division here. It affected many people directly.

    In twenty/thirty years time how many will look back on EFA or S59 and remember them? I suspect most people would happily forget them now.

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  85. Robert Winter (100 comments) says:

    Mr Diack

    I have written several times above – there is no conspiracy. I don’t know if I can say this any more clearly. What there is is a group of businessmen (sorry, one male academic is included in the seven men), adopting a striking name (Committee for Auckland does suggest that somehow Auckland might have a view on who they are and what they do – and yes, I do know about the Committee for Melbourne, which has similar problems attached to it) who have, through a range of organisations (yes, I do know the history of both Competitive Auckland and the Committee for Auckland, and its links to AREDS and AucklandPlus and a great deal more) become associated with a clear view about what Auckland’s vision should be. That vision is, as you will know if you have read the Royal Commission submission, about strong leadership and decison-making, SOE-type delivery arms, efficiency, accountability, an outcomes orientation and transparency. The model is very 1980s New Zealand. Yes, as you will undoubtedly say, democracy is mentioned, but, for example, not in the checklist of outcomes to be achieved in the first two years. If you ask me, I think their hope lies ina strong exceutive mayor – a ‘leader’ – who will drive through measures (and the Select Committee seems to be delivering that).

    So, no conspiracy, but, I believe, a desire on the part of a significant and well-connected business pressure group for a governance structure that meets their sense of what is good governance, and that’s not to everyone’s taste.

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  86. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “When I see the crowd telling us to get rid of MMP, they are generally, white, male, and rich…”

    Ha – then you obvously have nothing at all to worry about then do you – this wont just have to pass 5% like MMP

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  87. life (1 comment) says:

    MMP is by no means ideal, but it is fairer than FPP. Proportional representation ties in better with a democracy.
    After all we live in a very beautiful free country where we can roam freely without the fear of being blown up or checked over by government officials on every corner.

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  88. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    BB,

    “If you think that the rorts, double deals and minor party agreements done by the last Labour govt to retain power were signs of good or stable government then you have rocks in your head.”

    But ALL politics is about deals, BB … you think under FPP the governing political party was one big, happy family where all MPs pulled in one common direction for love of party and country, without factions and splits that required policy trade-offs to keep everyone happy? In that case, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. MMP has made deal-making more open (and thus able to be criticised as “rorts” and “double deals” by people such as yourself). It didn’t create them.

    “MMP means that by and large our politicians CANNOT be held to account on many of their election pledges, MMP allows them to say they had to back down on certain promises because their coalition partner wanted something else, it gives the bastards a way out that FPP did not.”

    Perhaps you’d like to point to some quantitative research on the respective promise-keeping performance of governing parties under FPP and MMP to prove MMP has had this effect? Because I strongly suspect that if you were to compare the promise delivery of the Clark Government(s) and Key Government with that of the 4th Labour Government and first Bolger Government, the former would come out far, far in front.

    “There is nothing unstable about the current govt given their short time in power, but you can guarantee that six months out from the election their will be a major rift engineered by the apartheid party that allow them to distance themselves from the Nat’s prior to the election.”

    Yawn. So what? Then National will govern on with Act (which will also be positioning itself out of National’s shadow), appeal to the voters for a greater mandate so that it can resist such actions in the future, and then post-election will rebuild the bridges. You, my dear BB, appear to need a crash course in politics – it’s nothing to be scared of.

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  89. Repton (769 comments) says:

    @big bruv:

    FPP is not perfect, but it does deliver stable government and arguably offers the voters a genuine choice,

    Between Labour and Labour-Plus?

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  90. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Repton –
    If you want a say in how a local candidate for a party is chosen, you should join that party. Why should a Green supporter have a say in who the local candidate for ACT is? It does not encourage good candidates, as supporters who disagree with that party’s principles will just stand one of their own and choose the worst candidate.

    IMHO I think we should stick with MMP – we have made the commitment now, and it will just create more uncertainty if the electoral system is changed every 20 years.

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  91. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Repton

    Given the performance of the current National party your point is a fair one, however one would hope that FPP would see a return to more traditional roles for our two major parties.

    Others have made some valid points in their defence of MMP however I keep coming back to the fact that under MMP you still have politicians that are almost impossible to kick out of the house, no matter how you feel about our electoral system you cannot defend that.

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  92. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    bb, I think there is a reasonable defence to that. You are entitled to vote for candidates you like but so is everyone else and they are entitled to representation just as you are. So the only way to get rid of their candidates is to persuade them not to vote for that party.

    How is that unreasonable?

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  93. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    BB, disagree. Politicians can easily be kicked out of the house if they are clearly not performing. Your problem is the assessment of “not performing” is made by a combination of the people who vote for their party, and the people who select the list for that party.

    If the people who select the list believe those people aren’t performing, they give them a poor list ranking. If they aren’t doing that, then presumably they think they are performing. Perhaps they are using different criteria for performance than you are? If the selectors get it wrong, then their voters start deserting them – people won’t vote for a party with a bunch of wallies on the list. By the standards those individual voters use so as to decide “bunch of wallies” – that is to say, just because you think the Greens are a bunch of wallies doesn’t mean that Green voters agree.

    This is really free market at work. Someone puts an offering in the market, they select that offering so as to maximise their chances of election. Voters then decide whether they like that offering, and if they do then they vote for it. If you get your selection wrong, you lose votes. Same as any other product. If you’re still getting votes, then surely that is evidence that you have the product right – even if some grumpy old men disagree with it. Can’t argue with the consumer.

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  94. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    IMHO I think we should stick with MMP – we have made the commitment now, and it will just create more uncertainty if the electoral system is changed every 20 years.

    I’m not proposing a change from MMP. I’m proposing the holding of a vote on MMP at which I will support MMP. I would also dispute that “we” have made a commitment to MMP – not least for the reason that a good many of us didn’t get a say. I was 13 when MMP was voted in.

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  95. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    “The rich white business establishment is now turning its guns on MMP”

    Hmmmm.

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  96. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Rudman is a fucking idiot, as Banana Llama demonstrates. The fact the Huruld continues to give him noise space says a lot about that rag.

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  97. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “Politicians can easily be kicked out of the house if they are clearly not performing. ”

    That has already happened this year. No matter what electoral system we have, it all comes down to getting MPs and especially PMs who will usually do the right thing. Parties have had to learn to work with MMP, it seems to be getting better as time goes on. If we change drastically everyone (parties, politicians and voters) will just have to learn a new way of doing it. That will probably take time to get reasonably right.

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  98. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Graeme – I was 10 when MMP was voted in. I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss it. What does concern me is that people will vote for change and we New Zealand will end up with something far worse. Some people would vote for a parliament of 20 just so there are fewer MPs to pay.

    I do feel that now Winston is gone, I would suggest that most of the public’s opposition to MMP is also gone. John Key seems to be making MMP work for him, although he hasn’t really done anything (apart from ignore the public about smacking).

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  99. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “I do feel that now Winston is gone, I would suggest that most of the public’s opposition to MMP is also gone”

    Until the next Winston comes along –

    you must move in small circles to make a statement like that

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  100. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Ah so a justification for this referendum is that Graeme Edgeler didn’t get a vote the first time round and wants one now so that he can vote for the electoral system we have already.

    A bit python really.

    Holding the MMP referendum with the general will most likely guarantee that MMP survives; it will certainly incentivise a turnout from Labour voters who might be lukewarm on Labour still at that time. Goff should be very chipper – he may not be PM but Labour will probably do reasonably well.

    I suspect that voters will use the MMP referendum to register displeasure at the Government without actually changing it. And because the Nats don’t like (too much?) proportionality the voters will keep it.

    The only real danger that MMP’s faces is due to politicians (the Greens) fronting in support of it – that will give doubt in some voters minds.

    Russel Norman is the kiss of death for MMP as he is electorally unattractive and correctly perceived to be self interested.

    The Key (excuse the pun) difference between the first time round on electoral systems and this time, is that last time some pols and voters on the left were unsure of MMP some like Clark campaigned against it with Upton (she should have known FPTP would fail on that basis alone) – that will not be the case this time. Last time there were very few on the centre-right that supported MMP like Quigley. There will be more this time.

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  101. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Given the performance of the current National party your point is a fair one, however one would hope that FPP would see a return to more traditional roles for our two major parties.

    How much hope is there? FPP is likely to produce a two-party system. In a two-party system, the optimal behaviour is for parties to move towards the centre.

    Imagine two parties on the left-right political spectrum:

    ============= L ================================ N ==============

    And suppose people (scattered along this spectrum) will vote for whichever party is closest to them.

    “N” can increase their share by moving towards L:

    ============= L ============== N ================================

    And L must respond by moving towards N. You end up in a stable configuration with the two parties side-by-side. National maximise their vote by being just like Labour, but _slightly_ more right-wing. (and vice-versa for Labour)

    But if there are three or more parties regularly in parliament, the “two in the middle” configuration is not stable. National won the last election by, basically, being just like labour but different. The genuine right-wing folk (like many here) voted for them because they wanted to ensure a non-labour government. But if they stay in the Labour-Plus mold, that support will start to trickle away to Act, and this will pull National to the right, either in preserve their own vote, or because they form a coalition with Act and acquire some of its agenda.

    This would not be possible under FPP: Sure, Rodney might keep winning Epsom, but he’s just one vote. Act aren’t likely to win elsewhere, and to National can ignore the right wing (since they’re not likely to vote for Labour), and concentrate on the middle. Tax cuts at the top rate? That’ll only win votes amongst those who’ll vote National anyway.

    We need MMP so that Act and the Greens can keep National and Labour honest. If this blog is representative of how many people feel, then Act stands to gain vote share at the next election. Under MMP, that translates into seats. Under FPP, Act could pick up 10% in every electorate and still not get a seat (and, in fact, those 10% would come from the National candidate, so that would probably increase the number of Labour wins overall).

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  102. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Just like the New Zealand Party helped give New Zealand the fourth Labour Government under FPTP and the New Labour Party/Alliance helped National in 1990 and 93.

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  103. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Graeme – I was 10 when MMP was voted in. I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss it. What does concern me is that people will vote for change and we New Zealand will end up with something far worse. Some people would vote for a parliament of 20 just so there are fewer MPs to pay.

    Fear that one will lose a democratic contest isn’t a good reason to oppose having one.

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  104. campit (467 comments) says:

    The global recession destroyed billions of dollars of wealth in New Zealand, and turned projected surpluses into a projected permanent deficit. Hence there was a rational and logical reason not to proceed with tax cuts

    So what are you saying here? That the “rational and logical reason” was because National didn’t even see the recession coming, and didn’t consider there would be any impact on their election pledge. As late as November of last year? Yeah, right!

    The other rational and logical alternative would be that they campaigned on the promise of tax cuts, knowing full well they wouldn’t be able to deliver.

    I’m not sure which is worse.

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  105. lilman (958 comments) says:

    FIRST PAST THE POST, thats a democracy, not list MPS who were never voted for,being unable to be held accountable to their electorates, what load of political bullshit.
    Go to hell MMP supporters, you are the reason we have had and will continue to have poorly worded, constructed governments and policies.

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  106. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Yawn. A Trotter-like level of phoned-in lefty outrage-on-autopilot screed.

    Does Phil Goff know that rudman travelled through time to 1983 and stole his haircut, moustache and glasses ?

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  107. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    If ever a Kyle Chapman Party or a Muslim extremist party look like gaining votes over the MMP threshold, MMP will be voted on in a referendum and dumped pronto.

    The minor parties who have gained disproportional power under New Zealand MMP so far have been relatively benign.

    This list system hasn’t yet been tested by extremists, as the list electoral system that became MMP in Germany was tested by the rise of the Nazis.

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  108. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    and man never landed on the moon.

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  109. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “If ever a Kyle Chapman Party or a Muslim extremist party look like gaining votes over the MMP threshold”

    What are the chances of this? NZ First aside (4.07%) no party not getting seats came anywhere near close to the threshold. The next highest was a joke, Bill and Ben (0.56). Then the first extremist party, the Kiwi Party (0.54), then Aotearoa Legalise Marijuana Party (0.41), NZ Pacific Party (0.37) and that radical Family Party (0.35). There’s a good bet that quite a few of those votes were throwaway votes.

    If any party came close threatening the threshold most voters would get serious about whether it should get there or not. And even if a radical party did break the threshold barrier they would be impotent, the major coalition party wouldn’t be interested.

    Also notable – the only one looking like being possibly communist was the Workers Party on 0.04%. Redbaiter can stay safely under his bed.

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