The Simon Power lovefest

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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