Hehir on MMP bill

November 19th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Liam Hehir writes in the Manawatu Standard:

Mr Lees-Galloway says these changes would implement the recommendations of an Electoral Commission review of . That is not quite correct, however. The bill does not include recommendations that Labour opposed – such as banishing the “overhang” effect that allows a party to win more seats (through winning electorates) than the party vote entitles it to.

That the bill is self-serving is underscored by its timing. Mr Lees-Galloway has announced that the “current regime has been a disaster for democracy. It has delivered us Rodney Hide, John Banks, Peter Dunne and now Colin Craig . . . People are sick of these cosy political deals designed to circumvent our democratic system.”

In other words, it is a bill designed to get rid of MPs Lees-Galloway doesn’t like.

You might ask why Mr Lees-Galloway did not make reference to Jim Anderton, the former Member of Parliament for Wigram. For many years, Mr Anderton was ostensibly the leader of the Progressive Party – despite being so integrated into the Labour Party that he was actually its agriculture spokesman at one point.

This is true!

There was no handwringing in the media about coat-tailing then. It wasn’t until Anderton retired in 2011 that Labour announced it intended to abolish the practice.

Indeed not.

In the days of the Roman Republic, a young patrician named Tiberius Gracchus became angry at the pillaging ways of his own class. He was elected a tribune of the people and sought significant economic reforms. He knew he would meet resistance from the Senate, however, so he decided to pass his legislation directly through the popular assembly.

There was nothing illegal about this. However, the procedure flew in the face of the tradition – part of the unwritten Roman constitution – that the Senate be consulted on all major items of legislation. Naturally, the Senate was not above using its own powers to retaliate against and prevent implementation of the Gracchan reform. It very quickly becomes a sad story, as those who know what became of the Roman Republic are aware.

Our constitution is similar to that of the Romans in that its body is held together by custom, convention and tradition. Central to such a system is a measure of good faith and trust between the factions.

Would the passage of Mr Lees-Galloway’s bill without consensus doom democratic politics in New Zealand? Of course not. It would, however, be an act of bad faith corrosive to the democratic spirit. It would make constitutional matters more partisan. Look to America if you want to know where that leads.

Indeed, the bill is a bad faith thing to do.

Ultimately, there is a simple test of principle. Imagine if the Government had a bare majority to raise the threshold to 15 per cent. That would signal the death knell for NZ First and probably the Greens. How likely is it that Mr Lees-Galloway would say: “There’s no need for consensus here.”

Would only take 61 votes to do so. You really do not want political parties using bare majorities to change the threshold for other parties to get into Parliament.

My rule of thumb is that any significant change should be supported by around 75% of more of parties in Parliament, and representing at least 75% of the MPs.

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36 Responses to “Hehir on MMP bill”

  1. SW (249 comments) says:

    http://pundit.co.nz/content/the-status-quo-is-not-a-neutral-position

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  2. wikiriwhis business (4,209 comments) says:

    ‘Naturally, the Senate was not above using its own powers to retaliate against and prevent implementation of the Gracchan reform. It very quickly becomes a sad story, as those who know what became of the Roman Republic are aware.’

    A good lesson for conspiracy deniers
    though I would submit the loudest deniers would be the conspirists them selves

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  3. Archer (222 comments) says:

    Self-serving legislation intended to put the Labour Party in to power, and keep it there. They’ve learnt nothing from the Electoral Finance Act, except now how to try and do it from the opposition benches. For shame!

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  4. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    And maintaining the status quo is not self-serving to National? Yeah, right.

    Well, what’s stopping National introducing a bill with all the recommendations of the Electoral Commission then?
    I agree, Labour should have introduced a bill with all the recommendations, so here’s a chance by National to take the initiative.
    Why don’t they? Why this faux outrage?

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  5. chris (647 comments) says:

    It has delivered us Rodney Hide, John Banks, Peter Dunne and now Colin Craig

    Aside from the obvious ignoring of Jim Anderton bringing another MP in on his coattails, Peter Dunne being in Parliament has also suited Labour in the past. But of course it’s OK when Labour do it, and not when others do. And it’s not OK at the moment because Labour has no one who can do it.

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  6. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    DPF posts that his “rule of thumb is that any significant change should be supported by around 75% of more of parties in Parliament, and representing at least 75% of the MP’s.”

    Well said, but we didn’t need 75 per cent of voter support to axe biggest-party favouring FPP and replace it with minority-dictatorship MMP, the system under which the Nazis were first elected to power (and amended in Germany after World War 2 with the 5 per cent party vote rule in a bid to reduce some of the chaos under MMP before the war).

    At the binding referendum in 1993 on MMP only 53.86% of the vote was for MMP compared with 46.14% for First Past the Post.

    Palmer’s Electoral Commission in 1984 started the slide to MMP. Apparently, in 1978 and 1981 National had won more seats even though Labour had won more votes when totalled across the country.

    IMHO, the MMP voting system ranks with other Palmer innovations such as the slew of often Marxist-led commissions that add clutter, bias, and sinecures to the generally reasonable political system we have.

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  7. Chuck Bird (4,913 comments) says:

    I share the fear of many on this blog of the damage a Labour led government with the Greens in a strong position would cause to the economy. However, just because the left want these changes because it will benefit them does not mean they should be rejected so National manipulate the system in a way that was not anticipated when MMP was introduced.

    I would like to see MMP combined with STV. This would greatly increase voter participation as people would not feel a vote for a minor party would not be wasted. If someone voted for the Conservatives for example and they did not reach the threshold there vote would go to their second choice.

    If the threshold was reduced to 4% there would be less excuse for continuing with separate Maori electorates.

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  8. emmess (1,398 comments) says:

    And it’s not OK at the moment because Labour has no one who can do it.

    Possibly Hone or Flavell, but they won’t mention that because these proposed changes won’t affect the Maori seats so much as they are gerrymandered to make it easier for racist parties to win seats and not to result in coat tailing.

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  9. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    I said in my 10.55 post that MMP was the system under which the Nazis were first elected.

    The Nazis were I think the second biggest party, but the coalition manoeuvres that MMP fosters were the road to the democratic side of the Nazis’ rise, and a deal on the Presidency.

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  10. chris (647 comments) says:

    Well said, but we didn’t need 75 per cent of voter support to axe biggest-party favouring FPP and replace it with minority-dictatorship MMP, the system under which the Nazis were first elected to power (and amended in Germany after World War 2 with the 5 per cent party vote rule in a bid to reduce some of the chaos under MMP before the war).

    Incorrect. The Weimar Republic used a purely proportional system between 1919 and 1933, 1933 being the last true, free election. MMP began in Germany in 1949.

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  11. chris (647 comments) says:

    The Nazis were I think the second biggest party, but the coalition manoeuvres that MMP fosters

    The Nazis were the largest party after the 1933 election, but still required a coalition to govern. They were NOT elected under MMP, but under a purely proportional system.

    Your arguments apply to proportional systems, not exclusively MMP.

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Jack5 – I’ll start from the beginning:

    Well said, but we didn’t need 75 per cent of voter support to axe biggest-party favouring FPP

    The Electoral Act 1993 passed unanimously by Parliament, every single MP who was present voted for it.

    biggest-party favouring FPP and replace it with minority-dictatorship MMP

    As you note, FPP didn’t so much favour the biggest party, as favour the party with had the best spread of their support across marginal electorates, whether or not they were the biggest party.

    Also, speaking of minority dictatatorship, it’s difficult to go past one election you don’t mention – 1993. In 1993 National got 35% of the vote and the opposition got more than 60% of the vote. I’m not sure if minority-dictatorship has real meaning, but if it does, I’m pretty sure it describes that!

    MMP, the system under which the Nazis were first elected to power (and amended in Germany after World War 2 with the 5 per cent party vote rule in a bid to reduce some of the chaos under MMP before the war).

    The Nazis were not elected under MMP. The electoral system in Germany at the time did not have electorates. MMP does. That’s what makes it mixed member-proportional.

    Palmer’s Electoral Commission in 1984 started the slide to MMP.

    The Electoral Commission was created by the Electoral Act 1993. Palmer was not a member of Parliament at the time.

    IMHO, the MMP voting system ranks with other Palmer innovations such as the slew of often Marxist-led commissions that add clutter, bias, and sinecures to the generally reasonable political system we have.

    The government of which Palmer was a member chose not to adopt the Royal Commission’s recommendations on MMP. That was left up to Jim Bolger, who made a promise to hold a binding referendum on it, and who lead the government that passed the Electoral Act 1993.

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  13. tas (655 comments) says:

    The status quo was supported by both parties and a referendum in 1993/1992. Changing it should require comparable support.

    Just because the status quo is advantageous to one side or another at this particular point in time, doesn’t mean it should be changed flippantly. National could make an equally disingenuous argument that the threshold should be raised to 15% without consensus as the status quo favours the Left. Imagine if some sports teams agreed to the rules for a tournament and then one team tries to change them halfway through to advantage themselves.

    Labour are big on referenda when it comes to details of the govt’s investment portfolio, but don’t want to give the public a say on major constitutional changes. There should be no major constitutional changes without cross-party support and a referendum.

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  14. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    You seem to have missed a paragraph from the original article in your cut-and-paste account:

    Of course, neither party has a perfect record here. In recent history, one recalls the way Labour’s authoritarian Electoral Finance Act passed on a party-line vote. Its retrospective validation of illegal campaign spending in the 2005 election is another example. It was also not very long ago that National had a policy of unilaterally abolishing the Maori seats.

    Are we all now agreed that this last item was a bad policy, as it didn’t rely on a 75% of parties representing 75% of MPs for its ?

    We also might remember National’s disenfranchisement of prisoners on a straight National-ACT party line vote – a few thousand New Zealand citizens denied the right to vote because a bare majority of MPs thought it a good idea to do so. And as only passing changes to electoral law on a 75% of parties representing 75% of MPs is the base requirement, it seems very odd to respond this way when the law actually is reformed on this basis: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/11/return_of_the_efa.html.

    But that’s all water under the bridge. The important point is this one:

    Ultimately, there is a simple test of principle. Imagine if the Government had a bare majority to raise the threshold to 15 per cent. That would signal the death knell for NZ First and probably the Greens. How likely is it that Mr Lees-Galloway would say: “There’s no need for consensus here.”

    I have no idea how Lees-Galloway would answer this (well, actually, I do … but he’s a politician). But the way I’d answer this would depend on where the proposal came from. Is it just something the National Party dreamed up on the fly, with the aim of crippling its opponents? Or, is it a proposal that has been made by the Electoral Commission after extensive consultation with the public, which revealed strong public support for this amendment to how their electoral system should work? In which case, is it not incumbent on the Government to respond to that public will (because, after all, isn’t it the public’s voting system, not the political parties)? And if the Government doesn’t do so, shouldn’t that attract a little more critical attention that this:http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/05/no_changes_to_mmp.html?

    Point being – Labour is proceeding on a (less than ideal) party-line basis here because National already has decided (on a less than ideal party line basis) that the Electoral Commission’s proposals (reflecting strong public sentiment) will not be acted on. Is National’s choice any better than Labour’s?

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  15. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    tas (392) Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:20 am
    The status quo was supported by both parties and a referendum in 1993/1992. Changing it should require comparable support.

    ……

    Labour are big on referenda when it comes to details of the govt’s investment portfolio, but don’t want to give the public a say on major constitutional changes. There should be no major constitutional changes without cross-party support and a referendum.

    It was put a referdum last time. The option retain MMP came with the provisio that it would be reviewed.

    National, i.e. Judith Collins, quickly shelved the recommendations.

    I agree though, any change should have broad, cross-party support but to achieve that you you need to bring the discussion into the public sphere

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  16. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    Re Chris (11.08) and Graeme Edgeler at 11.11:

    You are correct, the Weimar electoral system under which the Nazis rose to power did not include electorates, it was in effect MMP without electorates, though “MMP” of course designates a mixed system of electorates and party votes.

    So the Weimar system was even worse, and without a 5 per cent threshold, voters were faced with the choice of up to 30 parties on the ballot paper.

    However, under New Zealand’s MMP, the party vote looks to be the tail swinging the cat. It brings in no-hopers such as the tail of NZ First, oddballs like Aaron what’s his name of National, and various lesbians, gays, and election-targeted members of every sort of minority except dwarfs, spiritualists, and the left-handed.

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  17. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    AG’s 11.26 post brings in the bleeding hearts. I hope he is not just trying to divert attention from the drawbacks of the Germany electoral system we adopted.

    AG posted:

    We also might remember National’s disenfranchisement of prisoners on a straight National-ACT party line vote – a few thousand New Zealand citizens denied the right to vote because a bare majority of MPs thought it a good idea to do so

    Well good on National and ACT. When you go to prison you are supposed to be undergoing punishment, and loss of civil privilege should be part of this. NZ looks after convicts well enough now, with legal aid for appeal after appeal, a planned prison with better accommodation than our soldiers have, and an army of psychologists helping prisoners prepare for life outside.

    Why should murderers, drug dealers, paedophiles and other seriously bad criminals have a say in running our country?

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  18. chris (647 comments) says:

    It’s the other way around Jack5 – MMP is proportional representation with electorates ;) I’m pretty sure almost all of Europe uses purely proportional representation. I don’t know if or how much of a mess their Parliaments are, but I don’t disagree with you about our oddball group of parties.

    Unfortunately we are a small enough country where people like Winnie can create a personality cult around themselves and bring a whole bunch of other unknowns in with them. I think a lot of people got a shock after the last election… “But I voted for Winston, who are all these other people?”

    Like it or not, we are stuck with MMP. Hopefully in another couple of election cycles we have got rid of these minor, personality based parties and end up with something more akin to LabourGreen vs National without the need for the minor wag-the-tail type parties.

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  19. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    Why should murderers, drug dealers, paedophiles and other seriously bad criminals have a say in running our country?

    Because less than 75% of political parties representing at least 75% of MPs didn’t vote for them not to. Hey – I didn’t make the rule, I’m just sayin’ that if it applies, then it applies.

    As for the “drawbacks” of the German – GERMAN!!!!!! – electoral system we have in place at the moment, we sort of dealt with that issue at the 2011 referendum when 58% of voters chose to retain it (an increase of 4% over 1993). The question we’re presently addressing is, should the changes to MMP recommended by the Electoral Commission after widespread public consultation be adopted? National used its position in Government to say “no”, based on the most cursory letter sent to other parties asking their preliminary views of the matter.

    Is that a desirable state of affairs?

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Why should murderers, drug dealers, paedophiles and other seriously bad criminals have a say in running our country?

    The law change did not effect seriously bad criminals, who have pretty much always been banned from voting (under the old law, anyone sentenced to more than 3 years imprisonment couldn’t vote). The law change supported by National, and voted for by ACT (who actually opposed it) was about removing the vote from minor criminals: those whose short prison terms happen to coincide with an election.

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  21. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    Re Chris at 11.42:

    People thought we were stuck with MMP, too.

    The irony is that MMP was introduced by a First-Past-the-Post binding referendum. In the referendum of November 1993, 82.6 per cent of voters took part. Of these, 53.86 per cent voted for MMP and 46.14 per cent voted for first past the post.

    Also, Graeme Edgeler said in his post at 11.11 that Palmer was not an MMP in 1983. Edgeler said in his post:

    …The Electoral Commission was created by the Electoral Act 1993. Palmer was not a member of Parliament at the time. ..

    Palmer was the MP for Christchurch Central from 1979 to 1990. However, in 1985, Palmer, then as deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, established the Royal Commission on the Electoral System. The commission’s report in 1986 recommended the adoption of MMP.

    The rot began under Palmer.

    Re Edgeler’s 11.49 post: I didn’t raise the point about convicts’ voting rights, I was commenting on another poster’s view.

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  22. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    I would’ve thought that having held a referendum on the MMP system two years ago put this issue to bed. Electoral reforms used to all be bi-partisan in nature but the EFA and the prisoner ban (the former being far more egregious than the latter IMO) demonstrates that that convention has broken down somewhat.

    This Bill is purely political in nature and is designed to hobble National’s coalition options. Labour used the coattails provisions of MMP to get and stay in power on as many occasions as National has. Once the Alliance disintegrated and before the Greens stabilized their support above 5%, they managed to sneak into Parliament on the coattails of Jeanette Fitsimmons’ Coromandel seat. Likewise Jim Anderton brought in an additional Progressive MP on the back of his Sydenham seat. Labour were happy to have a coalition with NZ First when Winston winning Tauranga brought in more MPs and likewise Peter Dunne in Ohariu – in more than one election his seat anchored additional United MPs that were part of Labour’s coalition. Neither UF or ACT polled high enough in 2011 to have any coattails and I’m sure Mr Lees-Galloway would’ve welcomed Mana’s John Minto into Parliament on the back of Hone Harawira winning Te Tai Tokerau had Mana got a few thousand more party votes.

    The modifications to the Electoral Act on the back of the repeal of the EFA were done on a largely bi-partisan basis and resulted in some of the better transparent donation rules staying so we are still capable of bi-partisan consensus even in the modern MMP environment. Ideally the Electoral Act ought to have any of its built in reviews be conducted by a separate small stand alone sole purpose Commission staffed by independent bureaucrats but with party representatives much like the Boundary Commission. The drawing of district boundaries in many countries (and in particular the US States) can be an incredibly politicized process – the redrawing of electorate boundaries in NZ is as non political as it gets. Surely reviews of the operation of elections and the makeup of Parliament can be conducted in similar fashion. But at the end of the day, if a revision is seen to clearly benefit one party over another then the disadvantaged party is always going to object. Revisions would need to be like the Boundaries Commission where there is a process of evening up of the affects of boundary changes to net out impacted parties in key communities by marginally advantaging them somewhere else. That said turkeys don’t vote for an early Christmas and the combined votes of National, ACT and United Future will see this Bill not pass its first reading.

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  23. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    AG in his 11.48 post, in his or her use of capitals seems to be suggesting, perhaps snidely, that I oppose MMP because if originates in Germany:

    As for the “drawbacks” of the German – GERMAN!!!!!! – electoral system …

    His/her implication is not true. MMP (without electorates, that is a more intense version of NZ’s MMP system), may have played a role in Nazis’ takeover of the best educated, hardest-working country in Europe, and perhaps the world.

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  24. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    This Bill is purely political in nature and is designed to hobble National’s coalition options.

    This may be true. But what, then, was National’s refusal to progress the recommendations from the Electoral Commission on which this bill is based? And if both sets of decisions a “purely political” and “designed to hobble/help National’s coalition options”, then where does that leave us.

    That said … there is no way that even if Labour can cobble together majority support for its bill (which actually is unlikely, given NZ First probably won’t support it) it will be in place for the 2014 election. It’s a members bill, so progress through each reading is slow. Plus a 6 month select committee hearing. Meaning it won’t pass any time before July 2014, which is far too late to implement for the election that year (the Electoral Commission would have kittens if they try).

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  25. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    AG – better still, the Nats coult filibuster the private member’s bill like Labour did with the voluntary student union bill.

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  26. Liam Hehir (149 comments) says:

    Hi Professor Geddis,

    Thanks for reading my column, and for your thoughtful comments too. The sponsor of the bill, normally a reaonably articulate fellow, said some of the same things – but in a less concise and organised way.

    New Zealand is neither a technocracy nor a popular democracy. It is a representative democracy that filters the opinions of the masses and the elites alike through the institution of Parliament. The Electoral Commission may well have done a commendable job of synthesising the submissions of academics and those citizens motivated and organised enough to give their views on the matter, but it is a decision for Parliament.

    For example, you would find very few on the left who would say that the recommendations of the Tax Working Group should be treated as the word of God just because they were prompted by the findings of a non-partisan expert panel. That goes doubly for constitutional issues. I realise this can be very frustrating for those who consider themselves to be experts in their field to bear.

    On the other hand, you would also find few on the left who would agree that Parliament should banish the Maori seats to history even if a majority of New Zealanders supported that. I am not a left winger, but I would also oppose such a move.

    At the same time, Members of Parliament must exercise restraint against their own temporary majorities. This is particularly important when you have an informal constitution and, indeed, I would say a spirit of restraint is what separates the idea of a New Zealand constituion from a random assortment of statutes. Again, I can understand that this can be frustrating when the change you want is being stymied by recalcitrant minorities. Sometimes, this temptation has proved too much. However, as I said in my column, it is no defence to your own dishonour to complain of the dishonour of others. If you are principled, you will not bite your tongue just because you happen to support the aims of the defaulting parties.

    We live in a country that observes peaceful transititions of power. History will tell you what a rare thing that is. However, I believe that is sustainable only to the extent that temporary majorities do not change the basic outlines of the system without agreement of the other major participants in the system. That is why I cannot understand the argument that an untested scheme with limited buy-in should be preferred to an imperfect status quo that was previously agreed by everyone (or near enough). That’s why, in a deadlock scenario, a wise chairperson almost always exercises his casting vote against contentious change.

    In the commercial world, contracts don’t work when one side can alter the terms of the bargain without the other side’s agreement. The exception is monopoly situations. I think the same goes for the social contract.

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  27. tas (655 comments) says:

    eszett (2,101) Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:32 am
    It was put a referdum last time. The option retain MMP came with the provisio that it would be reviewed.

    The public voted to retain MMP, they did not vote to give the review carte blanche. And again, Labour are only supporting the recommendations they like.

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  28. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    AG
    Any electoral reform that obviously disadvantages one of the major parties over another is never going to see the legislative light of day. Naked self interest is utterly bi-partisan. Labour never saw fit to support such measures when the coattail mechanism of MMP was to their advantage. Now that they have a coalition partner well above the 5% threshold, they have the luxury of promoting this amendment.

    Jamie Lee Ross’ amendment to the Employment Relations Act failed because of Peter Dunne’s failure to support it resulting in a tied vote which means a new Bill cannot proceed. Mr. Dunne appears poised to run again in 2014 and probably fancies some miracle that would see UF poll sufficiently high to bring in another MP – remember the famous worm in 2002 that boosted United as a centrist party and brought in 8 MPs – he thinks that lightening will strike twice so he would never vote to kill the goose that once laid golden electoral eggs for him.

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  29. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    Any electoral reform that obviously disadvantages one of the major parties over another is never going to see the legislative light of day.

    Right – so National had its “reasons” not to advance the Electoral Commission’s recommendations (i.e. show them the legislative light of day). That then leaves the status quo in place – which National has decided obviously “advantages” it over Labour. Meaning Labour is now seeking to undo the status quo for its advantage, and National is seeking to retain it for its advantage. Neither position is presumptively any better than the other.

    The only complicating factor then is that Labour’s proposals for the threshold are the same as the Electoral Commission’s (which in turn reflects the bulk of public submissions it received on the issue). Shouldn’t that matter, insofar as the electoral system is a matter for the people and not the parties?

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  30. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The “Manawatu Standard” is Labour’s local spin merchant. Anything Lees-Galloway does, however futile, is reported and commented on with gusto by their editor and other lackeys. The paper, per se, is on its knees, advertisers walking away in droves, yet they continue with their socialist propaganda. Time Gina took this rag out of circulation.

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  31. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    AG
    “Neither position is presumptively any better than the other” – that’s politics and the politics of electoral process are more delicate and pronounced hence this stand off.

    If it is a matter for the people as you say then note that the status quo was put to the people 2 years ago and they indicated 58/42 in favour of it. If you feel consulting the people is so important then propose that the Electoral Commission’s proposals be put to a fresh referendum. If a majority vote in favour then so be it.

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  32. tvb (4,560 comments) says:

    The Labour Party are quite capable of messing around with constitutional issues providing they have enough votes to do it. The Electoral Finance Act is one, the Foreshore and Seabed Legislation is another. Abolishing Knighthoods another and setting up the Supreme Court is yet another. These are significant constitutional changes which the Labour Party think they can force through on bare majorities. Yet they think they can stop asset sales even though they made it an issue at the election and lost the election decisively.

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  33. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    If it is a matter for the people as you say then note that the status quo was put to the people 2 years ago and they indicated 58/42 in favour of it.

    The people indicated 58/42 they were in favour of MMP with the promise that the Electoral Commission would review it and recommend changes if necessary. That last bit matters … no?

    If you feel consulting the people is so important then propose that the Electoral Commission’s proposals be put to a fresh referendum. If a majority vote in favour then so be it.

    Sure. That would be OK with me.

    The Commission itself addressed the issue of what sort of process should be used to implement its recommendations, and concluded that a parliamentary vote would suffice. But if you think a referendum is necessary and are happy to spend another $10 million or so on holding one, I wouldn’t object.

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  34. Colville (2,318 comments) says:

    KIA @ 2.14.
    I am thinking that Dunne will be using the year ahead to try and position himself as a place for voters to go to keep the Nats honest. There will be a lot of voters out there that dont want the Lab/Gre/Mana/Winston hydra in power but also dont want Nats with absolute power. Winston was on the end of that fallout last time around and it was the only thing that kept him “alive” (other than scotch) Its going to be interestinmg, esp if Nats do try some deal with the Cons for a seat.

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  35. big bruv (14,224 comments) says:

    If ILG can have a bill debated before the house that is designed to favour the scum on the left then why do the Nat’s not introduce a bill that outlaws the Labour party and the Unions?

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  36. big bruv (14,224 comments) says:

    Colville

    If the CCCP do look like wining a seat and bringing a few others into the house with them then one can only hope that the first victim of that is Dunne.

    I would love the Nat’s to stand somebody with a pulse against him, if they did that then Dunne would get less than 500 votes and we could all tell him to fuck off and not let the door hit his stupid hairdo on the way out.

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