The Referendum Toolkit

September 2nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The has launched an toolkit at www.referendum.org.nz.

It has an extensive range of fact sheets and videos on the five different . Very readable and simple. They have nifty features such as “Which voting system is right for me” which asks you questions on what you think is important, and how important, and then measures the systems against your preferences.

They also have a You Tube channel. One of the videos  I have embedded below. They are all quite short, so worth viewing all five of them.

By coincidence I was at Waikato University yesterday, speaking to the NZ Law Students Association Conference on the referendum. I was on a panel with Margaret Wilson and Tim Macindoe. For those interested, I’ve embedded my presentation below. Note this is my presentation, not from the Electoral Commission.

MMP Presentation DPF

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13 Responses to “The Referendum Toolkit”

  1. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Under FPP, NZ First & the Greens would have been gone from parliament some years ago.
    Tempting, eh?

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  2. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    The Australian federal variation of FPP has not delivered a stable government, and the government has not been able to deliver promises at all (in fact, the greens tail is wagging the dog).

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  3. dog_eat_dog (763 comments) says:

    DPF, can you expand on your slide about the ‘size of electorate’?

    [DPF: Under FPP and PV there would be 120 electorates and hence electorates would be geographically much smaller. This is useful in non urban areas especially as some existing electorates are huge and access to your MP more difficult.

    MMP has 70 electorates and SM 90 electorates so SM electorates slightly smaller.

    STV would have only 20 to 25 electorates, but each electorate would have multiple MPs]

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  4. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac – Don’t forget that they are lumbered with a Senate elected by a form f PR.

    btw congrats on reaching your millenium :)

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    Why does “sack a government” get FPP a big tick. The last 5 times voters tried to sack a government under FPP (1993, 1990, 1984, 1981, and 1978) it only worked in two of them. This is a pretty poor track record.

    In 1978, and 1981 voters tried to sack the Muldoon government by voting for the Labour Party. Even though more of them voted Labour than voted National, FPP saw that Muldoon was returned as Prime Minister.

    In 1993, the National Government got 35.05% of the vote. The opposition, comprising staunch government critics prior to (and subsequent), the election: Labour, New Zealand First, and the Alliance got 61.28% of the vote between them. If, under FPP, the Government can get 35% and the opposition can get 61%, and the government wins, then it doesn’t seem like a system that is particularly conducive to sacking governments.

    Of the last five times FPP-using New Zealand tried to sack a government, it only worked twice: in 1984 and 1990.

    Also, have you a reference for STV not providing a diverse Parliament. You may be right, but something to back it up would be appreciated. I suspect international comparisons might not be great, as it likely depends on the size of the electorates, something that hasn’t even been decided here.

    [DPF: Sack a Government is debatable. I may blog on that one later. I hope to blog on most of the attributes in greater detail.

    With STV and diversity, I judged that the absence of a party list where the party can ensure diversity, means STV unlikely to be as diverse.]

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  6. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    @DPF: I suggest reducing the number of words on slides 2-7 and 22 by a factor of 3 – way too much to read there. I’d also use a tornado plot for slides 8-21 rather than the symbols – way easier on the eyes.

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    With STV and diversity, I judged that the absence of a party list where the party can ensure diversity, means STV unlikely to be as diverse.

    That may be the case for some types of diversity, but I’m not sure it would be the case with, for example, ethnic diversity. If, for example, 20% of an electorate is Asian, then they are unlikely to be represented through single seat constituencies. In a five-MP electorate, that 20% is enough to count as one quota, and elect one MP. It might be that STV is likely to result in less diversity than MMP, or maybe SM, but I consider that it’s likely to result in more diversity than FPP or PV. I’d probably want to see stats on it, however.

    I note that in Australia, there was an Aboriginal senator (STV) long before there was Aboriginal representative (PV). 24% of the Australian House is female, but 38% of the Australian Senate; there have been almost as many female Australian Senators overall (80) as there have female MHRs (85), despite the House being much larger etc.

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  8. Viking2 (11,286 comments) says:

    I was on a panel with Margaret Wilson

    Sad for you.
    What the hell is that useless women libber doing back here?
    Useless MP. useless Speaker.
    And someone asks her opinion. FFS.

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  9. PaulL (5,986 comments) says:

    Interested in that referendum toolkit. It’s a worthy attempt, and well structured/designed. I like the way it gives the results as a range, rather than a tick list that you then pick your favourite system from.

    What was interesting to me was that the resulting scales always were in the same order – on all criteria MMP was always down one end, and FPP down the other. I’m not entirely certain this is accurate – I would have thought on some criteria MMP and even FPP might be middle of the road. The way this is presented might somewhat latch onto people’s tendency to pick the middle option in everything – so drive people towards one of the middle options.

    I would have been tempted to include “how do you feel about changing the electoral system” with items for “system that people know and understand” v’s “complex/difficult/new” systems. So probably you’d get MMP, then FPP, then the others on that particular continuum.

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  10. Positan (385 comments) says:

    @ Graeme Edgeler “In 1978, and 1981 voters tried to sack the Muldoon government by voting for the Labour Party. Even though more of them voted Labour than voted National, FPP saw that Muldoon was returned as Prime Minister.”

    True – but there were only 60-odd seats in those days and the Maori electorates, which then always endorsed Labour, had only 4 seats. The distortions of ’78 and ’81 lay in the Maori electorates’ huge majorities for Labour.

    MMP doubled the number of seats and the Maori electorates have also increased in number. Under a new system of FPP with say 100 seats, any future distortions as to seats/voting numbers would be almost eliminated – indeed, completely so, if Maori seats were scrapped as had been originally intended.

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  11. PaulL (5,986 comments) says:

    Interesting point Positan – I think you’re pointing out that under an FPP with the Maori seats remaining, we’d likely always have a three party parliament – Labour, National, Maori. Not sure most supporters of FPP want that.

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    True – but there were only 60-odd seats in those days and the Maori electorates, which then always endorsed Labour, had only 4 seats. The distortions of ’78 and ’81 lay in the Maori electorates’ huge majorities for Labour.

    If by 60-odd seats, you meant 92…

    I think you’re pointing out that under an FPP with the Maori seats remaining, we’d likely always have a three party parliament – Labour, National, Maori. Not sure most supporters of FPP want that.

    Under FPP (or STV, or PV) there would likely be 13 Maori seats.

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  13. PaulL (5,986 comments) says:

    Yes, interesting. If the Maori party held, say, 8 of those, then they’d hold the balance of power a lot of the time. An FPP in which you cannot vote out one of the parties of govt. Interesting. Perhaps a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle?

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