Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: MMP or not MMP

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It's a little rushed, but I wanted my idea out there quickly, so feel free to ask questions about any of the detail (or big picture) I've missed =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Aside from commentators and political parties has there been any obvious attempts at organising yet, either for or against? Something along the lines of the Yes and No campaigns for the last referendum

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 885 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    There's the Campaign for MMP.

    I don't believe there's yet any formal grouping behind any of the options, or against MMP.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Thank you for that Graeme, it looks good although I really feel the second question has some flavour of a red fish/herring

    I do like the thought that anybody can join in the advertising war but we (the voters) will know who is trying to screw the scrum

    That certainly didn't work last time

    We live in intersting times

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • John Marshall,

    referendum advertisement means an advertisement in any medium that— …

    That's a whole lot better than the EFA text, to be sure, but what exactly is "an advertisement"? Presumably it's defined elsewhere, but I didn't see it in e.g. this bill or the 1993 Act.

    I was trying to see whether personal topiary hedges were clearly not covered (if indeed that is the desire), and thought 30(2)(f) was going to be salvation, but it would have to be an electronic hedge.

    Cambridge, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    That's a whole lot better than the EFA text, to be sure, but what exactly is "an advertisement"? Presumably it's defined elsewhere, but I didn't see it in e.g. this bill or the 1993 Act.

    It's not. It carries its ordinary meaning.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    it also instructs the Chief Electoral Officer to determine the actual order of the options in Part B by lot

    Shouldn't they be randomised?

    I don't believe there's yet any formal grouping behind any of the options, or against MMP.

    I suppose these usual suspects don't really count (yet), but the referendum they were advocating counts as campaigning against MMP in my book.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1095 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Shouldn't they be randomised?

    Wouldn't a lot put them in random order? Or do you mean a different random order on each ballot?

    I suppose these usual suspects don't really count

    From that link:

    Peter Shirtcliffe said it made sense to allow voters to rank possible replacements for MMP preferentially.

    Wait. Peter Shirtcliffe is arguing for a preferential system? Did he get confused some time in the last 17 years?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Yeah, randomised ballots rather than all in one, random, order. Or to put it another way, having ballots by the 24 with a different order on each; which I wouldn't have thought would increase costs overly.

    There are real biases, I don't know how big they'd be with four options.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1095 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So voting to just reform MMP with tweaks doesn't come under any of this? Or does that arise from the required review, in the case the country chooses to retain MMP?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I tend to think the random ordering of each ballot paper would be better than one overall random ordering, in terms of removing the bias. It would be really interesting to note the correlation afterward in terms of how much people really did just go for the first option presented.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Shouldn't they be randomised?

    No. They're counted by hand. That would just be mean.

    Yeah, randomised ballots rather than all in one, random, order.

    The last local government election in Wellington saw three different methods used our Regional Council votes (FPP) were in alphabetical order by surname, our DHB votes (STV at large) were in random order, and our City Council votes (STV by ward) were in random random order (in a different random order on each ballot). But our votes (STV at least) were counted with computer assistance.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    So voting to just reform MMP with tweaks doesn't come under any of this? Or does that arise from the required review, in the case the country chooses to retain MMP?

    It arises from the required review.

    It would be really interesting to note the correlation afterward in terms of how much people really did just go for the first option presented.

    I suspect the bias is much stronger in block vote or STV elections. Or elections where you don't have much information (local council wards (but less so mayor), DHBs, students' association executive etc.)

    If you get to rank everyone, you'd possibly be more likely to give the number 1 spot to your favoured candidate, the bottom spots to your least favoured candidates, and fill in the gaps from the top to the bottom. I don't see that happening to any great extent with a small set of options, like the four in Part B, or in something like the Party Vote which you get one choice and presumably care about it. But, potentially, given that many people might be voting in this referendum not because they care, but because the paper is handed to them when they go to vote in the actual election, you might get some top-box effect.

    Random random ballots are probably better (except for the poeple counting them), and they've been done in New Zealand before, so feel free to add that to your select committee submission!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Random random ballots are probably better (except for the poeple counting them), and they've been done in New Zealand before, so feel free to add that to your select committee submission!

    The fact that the first option is FPP has me motivated.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The fact that the first option is FPP has me motivated.

    The first option is FPP because they're currently listed in alphabetical order, they won't necessarily be on the actual ballots.

    7 Referendum on day of general election

    (1) On the day appointed for the polling to take place for the general election, a referendum of electors must be held on each of the questions about the voting system set out in Parts A and B of the referendum voting paper in Schedule 1.

    (2) Despite the form of the referendum voting paper in Schedule 1, the order of the options for the question in Part B of the referendum voting paper—
    (a) must be determined by the Chief Electoral Officer by lot; and
    (b) must not be listed in the order set out in the form in Schedule 1, unless that order is the result of the determination made under paragraph (a).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Ah true, good point. Now I'm unmotivated :(

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • anth,

    They're counted by hand. That would just be mean.

    How 24 batches each with a different order, but each ballot office only gets papers from one batch? The grouping may have to be at a higher level than the individual office to make logistics easier, eg supplying extras to an office which has run out, but this doesn't seem too hard.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Wait. Peter Shirtcliffe is arguing for a preferential system? Did he get confused some time in the last 17 years?

    No, he's just trying to strap the chicken. A preferential vote means a lower chance of MMP winning outright on the first ballot, which means another bite at the cherry of change.

    But more broadly, I understand that Shirtcliffe is now arguing in public meetings for PV or SM, because he thinks they can be sold to the public as "not as bad as FPP" while still being undemocratic enough for his tastes.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1640 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    A preferential vote means a lower chance of MMP winning outright on the first ballot, which means another bite at the cherry of change.

    A preferential vote on which system we should use would be better from a democratic perspective, however the idea that it could be completed quickly (which is something he at least had been arguing) is laughably absurd.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    A preferential vote - apart from being slightly more intimidating - would be fine, if you could put fully developed options up for each. It certainly wouldn't be the problem.

    Except Shirtcliffe was arguing one referendum: dumping MMP if that's what the first vote said and replacing it with what was suggested in the second question. To actually chose the most popular electoral system, you'd have to include MMP as an option in the second question. Unless you meant to rig the outcome.

    It's a bit sad to think the option Simon Power originally floated was very like Shirtcliffe's, but it was good to see when the current structure came out.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1095 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I've heard various Labour MPs voice their support for MMP, but does the party have an official position?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7358 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    A preferential vote - apart from being slightly more intimidating - would be fine, if you could put fully developed options up for each. It certainly wouldn't be the problem.

    You only need fully-developed options for each if the first referendum is binding. It would still be better (democratically ... it would still be more intimidating) to have the second question in the first round here preferential. FPP might get 26% of the vote to 74% split evenly between the rest, despite it being everyone else's least favourite option, etc.

    Shirtcliffe's one referendum idea was doomed to fail. Indeed, given how the entrenching provisions (and the associated standing order) are written, I'm not 100% sure the Clerk would actually let Parliament pass a law which tried to do it the way he intended.

    It's a bit sad to think the option Simon Power originally floated was very like Shirtcliffe's, but it was good to see when the current structure came out.

    I'm not sure that's true. I don't think there was ever a solid proposal, just the idea that we might do it some other way, and not wanting to rule something out that you haven't fully considered.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I've heard various Labour MPs voice their support for MMP, but does the party have an official position?

    The Labour Party supports holding a referendum on MMP at the 2011 election, Labour’s electoral reform spokesperson David Parker says.

    “MMP has now been in place for nearly 15 years and it is appropriate that the people of New Zealand be given a chance to decide whether or not it has been successful,” David Parker said.

    “However, it is important that the questions asked are easy to understand and the education campaign prior to the referendum is thorough and easily accessible.

    ref: scoop

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    In the context of capitalist liberal "democracy", MMP is a good system. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it's way better than all the practical alternatives.

    I don't see why we need a referendum. It hasn't come from public pressure, but from a wish in the National Party (and, I suspect, from some in Labour) to rule absolutely.

    If we are to alter our arrangements, we should also look at an entrenched Bill Of Rights that forms supreme law. At the moment, parliament could pass a law killing all firstborn children, after ignoring a report from the Attorney General that it breaches almost every clause in the BORA. Personally, I'd go further and add social rights and the Treaty into the basic principles than no parliament would be able to ignore.

    At the same time, we should entrench those provisions against partisan fiddling - a 70% majority in parliament and country ought to be needed to make any change.

    That would be my idea of a constitutional reform, not dropping the threshold to 3% so Winston can sneak back.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4447 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    That would be my idea of a constitutional reform, not dropping the threshold to 3% so Winston can sneak back.

    The argument for dropping the threshold isn't about ensuring particular people are in Parliament, but about ensuring that people are represented in Parliament: including the 95,000 people who voted for New Zealand First.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

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