The Simon Power lovefest

April 22nd, 2010 at 5:52 pm by David Farrar

just started his speech on the S92A bill by saying he will join in the lovefest. And Grant is right, the House has been having a lovefest for the last four hours – a but a justified one.

The House unanimously passed the referenda bill, and speaker after speaker praised Simon for the process. While some advocated for spending restrictions on campaigners, the fact the bill was passed without dissent spoke for itself.

Then we had the S92A file sharing bill, and again every speaker said that the proposal developed by Simon was a huge improvement over the status quo, and was reasonably balanced.

Having been involved in this issue myself, I have to say that I agree – it is a very complex area, and the Government has done well to come up with a workable model. I still think the Internet suspension provision should go, but we’ll have that debate at select committee. Pleased to see the House unamiously pass the bill.

Fairly rare for a Minister to get two bills in a row passed unanimously, and to praise from all parties. Also good to have constructive speeches from all parties.

Back to the MMP , two questions for people.

  1. Should the voting at the first referendum for an electoral system to go up against MMP in the second referendum be a simple plurality option (tick one option, most ticks wins) or a ranked preferential option (ranks the four systems 1 to 4, and none get over 50%, drop off least popular option and redistribute preferences)?
  2. Should the second referendum be held at the 2014 election, or held before 2014 as advocated by this petition?

I generally regard a preferential voting system as superior, but it can make things a bit more complex and put people off. However if we are asking us to pick a preferred option out of four, then is it too much to think they should be able to rank them?

The timing of the 2nd referendum is finely balanced. One wants a very high turnout for a binding constitutional change. However I think as it is a binding vote on a binary choice, we would have a high turnout even if held outside a general election. The first referendum would suffer from a low turnout if done stand alone as it is not a final vote, but the second one less so.

It occurs to me that one would get a better debate on the second referendum, if it was not held at the same time as a general election. The contest for Government will dominate the media.

So I think there is merit in looking at whether the 2014 referendum (if there is one) can be held in late 2012 or early 2013.

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24 Responses to “The Simon Power lovefest”

  1. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    We really need a system like the Swiss have, but there is no way our politicians would proffer that system as a choice on a referendum because it takes too much power out of their hands.

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  2. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I see Kiwiblog staring on TV ones news tonight. It seems your good mate Simon Power does not regard Kiwiblog as an official information source. Bloody philistine. Simon’s love fest does not include Kiwiblog.

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  3. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    We really need a system like the Swiss have

    We have nothing like the Swiss Canton structure, it would be a major change setting up what they have, at risk of it not working for us.

    I think we are on the right track improving a reasonably well proven MMP system.

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  4. Sideoiler (73 comments) says:

    “We really need a system like the Swiss have”.
    What we rally need is a written constitution that enshrines the rights of all citizens equally.
    Referendums tend to be mob rule by ballot.

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  5. big bruv (13,198 comments) says:

    I have given this a lot of thought, any system that manages to keep the Greens out of the house is fine with me.

    Unless your party wins a constituency seat then you have no right to be a part of our parliament, the people are supposed to get a choice every three years, List MP’s do not offer the public any choice.

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  6. tvb (4,192 comments) says:

    The Government has some strong performing Ministers. They include the PM, Simon Power, Chris Finlayson, Paula Bennett, Stephen Joyce, Murray McCully, Tim Groser, Tony Ryall, Nick Smith, Bill English, and the others are not too bad either. These Ministers give the impression they are on top of their job – so the long period in opposition has not be wasted. Listening to an interview from any of these Ministers reveals someone who commands the issues. Take Stephen Joyce he just oozes common sense in everything he says. Tim Groser has a very detailed knowledge of his portfolio and gives us a great sense of confidence. The Labour Party by contrast simply cannot match all this talent. And there are some very capable people coming up – but they must learn the art of politics – something the Labour Party is very skilled at.

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  7. reid (15,904 comments) says:

    Definitely a ranked first referendum. With lots of govt-funded pre-education, but not from politicians, from impartial bystanders.

    I would frankly co-opt TVNZ to do in-depth and I mean in-depth docos on the history of MMP, STV and the other choices.

    And then more in-depth docos on how each system has played out over the decades in nations that have adopted each.

    Repeated on the main channels more than once, made available on You-Tube, blah blah blah. All free.

    Key point: no political bias allowed on either side and no glitz. The real shit. What’s worked, what hasn’t. Why. How.

    It won’t happen, of course. But that’s what’s needed for an informed decision because this is so important and so complex. And it has to be done with no commercial motive but rather, from a benevolent desire to inform.

    I’m not naive, I know even doing this, most reef-fish won’t listen, but governance is critical, you have to give it your best shot at getting the people into the right space, even though you know most of them will just cook their dinner, change the channel and watch the really important sport and celebrity gossip shows before stopping off at the polling station on the way to drop their kid at soccer to cast their wise vote at the referendum on voting day.

    Hopefully Benevolent Dictatorship is one of the options?

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  8. eszett (2,329 comments) says:

    Back to the MMP referendum, two questions for people.

    1. Should the voting at the first referendum for an electoral system to go up against MMP in the second referendum be a simple plurality option (tick one option, most ticks wins) or a ranked preferential option (ranks the four systems 1 to 4, and none get over 50%, drop off least popular option and redistribute preferences)?
    2. Should the second referendum be held at the 2014 election, or held before 2014 as advocated by this petition?

    On 1) a preferential vote would certainly be better and fairer.
    On 2) It should definitely stay with 2014. If it does come to a second round, the system that is going against MMP needs to be defined in far more detail before it goes to vote.
    The proponents of an earlier vote want to establish that system by the 2014 election.

    But a new system not only has to be thought through properly (I believe Graeme Edgeler hat a good comment on the various possibilities within each system) but then has to be implemented in time for the next election.

    And there is also the issue with the vote turnout. If you vote for a new system, you should tie it to an election to ensure a large vote turnout and thus a legitimation of the vote.

    But that aside, I just don’t think that MMP will be rejected in the first go.

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  9. big bruv (13,198 comments) says:

    MMP is here to stay.

    The gutless fuckwit who is our PM has obviously done a deal with the likes of the Greens and assured them (by way of a nod and a wink) that all will be fine.

    This one is not really worth getting wound up about, Neville Key has already proven that he is not interested in what the public have to say and he has publicly said that he likes MMP so that is what we will have.

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  10. eszett (2,329 comments) says:

    This one is not really worth getting wound up about, Neville Key has already proven that he is not interested in what the public have to say and he has publicly said that he likes MMP so that is what we will have.

    Isn’t the referendum going to reflect what the public wants?

    I agree that MMP is probably here to stay, but not because John Key wants it, but because the majority of NZ wants it.
    But, whatever the outcome, surely that would be reflected in the referendum

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  11. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    This is what I can’t imagine the public will ever want again.

    Hopefully the public of the UK will get rid of it in the next couple of years too:

    So it is timely to recall how much of a perverse affront to democracy the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system New Zealanders threw out in 1993 was.

    The United Kingdom still has an FPP electoral system, and is in the middle of an election campaign at the moment. One recent poll put the Liberal Democrats on 33% of the vote, the Conservatives on 32%, and Labour on 26%. But translate that poll result into seats in the UK Parliament and we get this absurdity:

    Party % Vote Seats % Seats
    Liberal Democrats 33 132 20.3
    Conservative 32 239 36.8
    Labour 26 247 38.0
    Others & NI 9 32 4.9

    The Liberal Democrats get only slightly more than half the seats Labour gets, despite being the highest polling party, and Labour gets the most seats despite trailing well behind in third place.

    The same undemocratic FPP system here saw the National Party winning a majority of seats and forming governments without the need for a coalition partner in both 1978 and 1981, despite receiving fewer votes than the Labour Party in each of those elections.
    Why on earth would anyone want to go back to that or to the similarly undemocratic Supplementary Member electoral system ?

    Sorry, the table will probably look sloppy, by table tags don’t seem to work in WordPress comments threads.

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  12. big bruv (13,198 comments) says:

    eszett

    “But, whatever the outcome, surely that would be reflected in the referendum”

    Not at all, the first vote will be (as I understand it) “do you want to keep MMP or change the way we elect our parliament”

    If as I suspect the majority say they want change then you would think that would be the end of MMP, but no, the bastards are then going to ask us what system we want and offer MMP as the alternative.

    It is clear that the system the fucking pollies want is MMP and they will do whatever is necessary to keep it.

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  13. PaulL (5,871 comments) says:

    I’d only do it earlier than the election if it were possible that any changed system could be implemented before the following election. If we’re going to vote in a new electoral system, and then not use it in the next election, that is a waste of time.

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

    Speaking of proportional representation, if the Limp Dicks in the UK manage to make 1st or 2nd (which I hope to God they don’t) and go into Coalition with Labour, you can guarantee that electoral reform with an STV system will be on the cards, and the already rooted against the Conservatives gerrymandered system goes the whole hog and Britain becomes a centre-left stronghold for the next fifty years.

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  15. eszett (2,329 comments) says:

    Not at all, the first vote will be (as I understand it) “do you want to keep MMP or change the way we elect our parliament”

    If as I suspect the majority say they want change then you would think that would be the end of MMP, but no, the bastards are then going to ask us what system we want and offer MMP as the alternative.

    It is clear that the system the fucking pollies want is MMP and they will do whatever is necessary to keep it.

    I disagree, big bruv, I actually don’t think the MMP will be voted off in the first round.

    But nevertheless, if it is, then wouldn’t you agree that there needs to be a robust discussion on what to replace it with?
    Depending on what the alternative is, people may opt to keep and change MMP.

    I would agree that if there is no preferential voting of the alternatives in the first round there is a slight bias towards MMP.

    But the questions is not whether to get rid of MMP or not. The question is what is a good, fair and reasonable voting system.

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  16. big bruv (13,198 comments) says:

    “The question is what is a good, fair and reasonable voting system.”

    FPP..stable government and an end to the tail wagging the dog.

    FPP would also offer the voters a genuine choice, no longer would the political parties be able to hide behind the “well, its part of being in a coalition government” excuse, if the bastards promised tax cuts then they would have no option but to deliver those tax cuts.

    Real economic reform is impossible with MMP, the hard decisions that need to be made are left languishing because of the need to gain coalition support.

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  17. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Just get rid of list MP’s and I’ll be happy, there are only 4 million of us, why we need 126 wankers spending our money, I do not know

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  18. homepaddock (431 comments) says:

    Definitely preferential voting for the first referendum and preferably hold the second one by itself and in time for the 2014 election.

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  19. kiki (425 comments) says:

    get rid of all the mayors in their pokey little kingdoms that would save more money than 126 MP’s. All these tiny little councils that spend money on their favorite pet projects and voted in by the 20 people that care.

    So did Muldoon bring radical economic reform Big Bruv?

    FFP is easier to corrupt as fewer people at the top need to be bought out. Look at how NZ was screwed in the 80 years before MMP. So you have to share, at-least people would feel better if they see that there is some representation of their views.

    FFP ends up with 2 choices so 49% get no representation and only if you are in the right electorate. Wars have been fought for less.

    And remember if the dog doesn’t want to be wagged by the tail they can walk away they don’t have to do deals. They do deals because power is their only desire if they had principles they would follow these even if it mean’t giving up power.

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  20. Repton (769 comments) says:

    If as I suspect the majority say they want change then you would think that would be the end of MMP, but no, the bastards are then going to ask us what system we want and offer MMP as the alternative.

    If a majority want to change, and they all want to change to the same system, then yes, that should be enough.

    But if we don’t get a majority supporting one system, then we need to have a run-off — because the alternative that placed highest might not be the majority’s preference.

    e.g. imagine you tried to do it in one referendum only, and the result was that FPP gets 40%, MMP gets 30%, and STV gets 30%. But imagine also that all the STV voters prefer MMP to FPP. It would clearly be undemocratic to switch to FPP, since that is supported by only a minority of the population.

    You could possibly do it in one go with a ranked system. But it seems more straightforward to run off a single alternative against what we have now.

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  21. eszett (2,329 comments) says:

    # big bruv (5968) Says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    “The question is what is a good, fair and reasonable voting system.”

    FPP..stable government and an end to the tail wagging the dog.

    FPP would also offer the voters a genuine choice, no longer would the political parties be able to hide behind the “well, its part of being in a coalition government” excuse, if the bastards promised tax cuts then they would have no option but to deliver those tax cuts.

    Real economic reform is impossible with MMP, the hard decisions that need to be made are left languishing because of the need to gain coalition support.

    Actually, there hasn’t been much of tail wagging the dog as you claim. In fact, most small parties that went into government got obliterated in the next election.

    FPP does not offer much of a choice, as it would be back to only National or Labour. It reduces choice and political variety.

    The promised tax cuts were not undelivered because of a small party, but because National didn’t/couldn’t fulfill them. They surely ahd the votes of ACT.

    Have a look at the UK. There is no better example of how unfair, unrepresentative and unreasonable FPP is.

    FPP is the worst of all options.

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  22. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Change the system as many times as you like but it will still be rorted by politicians and their minders with little reference to the voter. Its all about power and power always corrupts especially politicians.
    The issue is more about the rules under which the system operates.
    There was the very good example of that Wednesday evening when 117 upright rational, intelligent human beings all had apparently the same informed decision to throw out the Bill concerning youth rates. While tribes can be made to vote in that manner no changes to any electoral system will change anything.
    Indeed one could argue that nothing needs to be changed in the electoral system at all in the way of voting systems.
    What does need changing is the rules by which Parliament works and especially whipping and vote by secret ballet. Antithesis of all the parties stand for.
    Secrecy is the problem here, secrecy and bullying with no reference to the wishes of the voter nor consideration of whats best for NZ, rather than what is best for any political grouping.

    NZ needs a written constitution that upholds the rights of its citizens and restricts the power of its politicians and Govt.
    A constitution with a modern issues voting system, (i.e. INTERNET based), based on the Swiss model and remove the whipping and secrecy of Govt. and Parliament and we will have something to be proud off.

    Not too hard at all except that the monkeys are in charge of the zoo and are unlikely to want to let the Lions out.

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  23. s.russell (1,558 comments) says:

    Totally with eszett on this.

    A preferential vote would be fairest for choosing the alternate option. I note with amusement that it was MMP supporters who argued this in 1992, now (because it is convenient) opponents suddenly find it a good idea too. They rightly fear that the single strongest option will be FPP – and that will then be the least likely to beat MMP in a second vote.

    The final vote needs to be at election time so that it gets maximum turnout and legitimacy. But I think the odds favour there only being one vote because MMP will win outright in 2011.

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  24. tarrant (35 comments) says:

    It’s a shame then that Mr Power is fanatical, unbalanced and reactionary in other areas.

    I expect he will be requiring an urgent knee op soon!

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