Glaister on MMP review

I’ve embedded below the submission from on the review. Stephen argues well against some of the other submissions (including my own) on various issues, so I thought it was worth highlighting his arguments. First he argues against lowering the 5% threshold too low:

But the micro-parties that have flourished under the 5% threshold in NZ (principally because of the one electorate seat waiver) have tended to be simpatico with at least one major party. The sorts of micro-parties that no (or minimal) thresholds would grant representation would be much more selfstanding, and we’d predict, much more fractious and problematic as partners than the sorts of tame micro-parties that have flourished under a waiver-encrusted 5% threshold have been.

A good point. He argues to retain the one electorate threshold saying :

(it) creates incentives for micro-parties to do proportionality-enhancing deals with (interested, politically compatible) larger parties rather than pure overhang, antiproportional deals

He also states:

The threshold expresses a phobia of micro-parties in parliament. But since MMP is a mixed electoral system, parties can get members into parliament anyway if they win electorates. But if a party is going to have a parliamentary delegation anyway (notwithstanding the threshold) then our phobia of micro-parties recommends allowing it to have as many MPs as possible compatibly with proportionality. Additional proportionality itself is valuable, of course, but so is non-trivial team-hood for parliamentary delegations.

This is the best argument for the one electorate threshold. I still don’t like it though because it encourages tactical voting, rather than people voting for the best candidate in an electorate. Stephen also deals with the argument that it is unfair:

A threshold+waiver regime is logically just a disjunction of two boundary rules. Standard, tempting, childish mewling about what are always, partially arbitrary boundaries [24a, 24b] is then sent into overdrive by the target-rich environment of a more complicated, disjunctive boundary.

I especially liked his use of “wah wah” in the submission. As I said I obviously don’t agree with Stephen on everything, but his submission is the best defence of the status quo I have seen.


Comments (9)

Login to comment or vote