Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Referendum Fact Check #5: How Hard Is It? (updated)

46 Responses

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And comments opened. Sorry guys.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    The voting public is not smart enough to know what is good for them, and must be led to the correct answer by their intellectual and wealthy betters.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    What does the Electoral Commission think about this?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Steen,

    Are there no rules against deliberately misleading people about the way voting works? There should be. As you say, they could easily make their point without being misleading.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Copywriter fail. Why are we even having this referendum again, MMP is not demonstrably badly skewed, is it? I would have liked to see the 4 year term referendum instead.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Sacha,

    What does the Electoral Commission think about this?

    I didn't seek comment from it, so I don't know. It's possibly more of an advertising standards things, however.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Brendon Steen,

    As you say, they could easily make their point without being misleading.

    Lesson learned, then?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    It is definitely an Advertising Standards Commission thing, without question it is misleading advertising.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Brendon Steen,

    Are there no rules against deliberately misleading people about the way voting works? There should be. As you say, they could easily make their point without being misleading.

    Maybe.

    The Electoral Referendum Act 2010 states that the Electoral Act 1993 applies, with any necessary modifications, to the referendum.

    Section 199A of the Electoral Act states:

    199A Publishing false statements to influence voters

    Every person is guilty of a corrupt practice who, with the intention of influencing the vote of any elector, at any time on polling day before the close of the poll, or at any time on any of the 2 days immediately preceding polling day, publishes, distributes, broadcasts, or exhibits, or causes to be published, distributed, broadcast, or exhibited, in or in view of any public place a statement of fact that the person knows is false in a material particular.

    As you will note, this doesn't apply yet (only in the last 48 hours and on polling day. And I'm not sure the ad is explicit enough in it misleadingness to count as "a statement of fact that the person knows is false in a material particular".

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I could make a very strong case to have that ad pulled on the basis that there is no arrow leading from the MMP tickbox suggesting your selection terminates there.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to merc,

    I could make a very strong case to have that ad pulled on the basis that there is no arrow leading from the MMP tickbox suggesting your selection terminates there.

    Feel free. I believe the ASA tries to make decisions very quickly during election campaigns, and I imagine they'd apply the same urgency to Referendum.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I retired as a copywriter many many years ago when I learned that...I am not interested in another's guilt because I cannot change it, I am however interested in mine, because I can.
    The whole MMP thing is a sideshow, we got it arguably by stealth in my view and because of the nutters that are pushing to change it why don't we simply leave it to bed in, because in my view it's just starting to work, against them (the nabobs) and for us, the plebs.
    Update, not when they game the system like this though,
    Act is not standing in several marginal electorates - including West Coast Tasman, Waimakariri and New Plymouth - under a quiet deal with National.

    Mr Key has said National was campaigning for the party vote only in Epsom - which is Act's lifeline to Parliament as it struggles in the polls.

    However he is yet to give a stronger indication to National voters to vote for Mr Banks, saying it "depends if I'm thirsty" on whether he would have a cup of tea with Banks.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10764381

    BTW, another very unusual article in the Herald though wouldn't you say?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Oh dear I just read under the STV points the words, "Very complicated", AFAIK you must substantiate this kind of claim.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Hans Versluys,

    And again, no indication of the increase in number of Maori seats under all MMP alternatives. Something that could attract Maori voters to their cause (or rednecks to vote MMP). Missed opportunity.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    I thought exactly the same thing when I first saw the ad and was just waiting for your blog post to point it out. Never disappointed.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Is there anything around SOEs making policy announcements during an election period. Sounds a bit complicit to me..

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    I support MMP.
    If I just vote in favour of MMP and not tick an alternative, does that make MMP stronger, weaker, the same?
    If I did give a second tick to say PV, would that help to undermine say SM?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    199A Publishing false statements to influence voters

    So, 2 days before the election National must take down its hoardings promising a "A Brighter Future"?. The luminance of the Sun will be influenced by National, a statement of fact that the person knows is false in a material particular.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Ian MacKay,

    I support MMP.
    If I just vote in favour of MMP and not tick an alternative, does that make MMP stronger, weaker, the same?
    If I did give a second tick to say PV, would that help to undermine say SM?

    1. The same.
    2. Yes. It would make it ever so slightly more likely that PV would be the alternative and not SM, should we have a second referendum.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Pritchard, in reply to Ian MacKay,

    If I just vote in favour of MMP and not tick an alternative, does that make MMP stronger, weaker, the same?
    If I did give a second tick to say PV, would that help to undermine say SM?

    Casting a vote on the second question does not affect MMP's chances of winning on the first question.

    But: if MMP doesn't win this time, its chances of surviving long-term may depend very much on which of the other 4 systems it goes up against in 2014.

    So yes, if you want to "undermine SM" (for strategic reasons, or just because you don't like it), you should give a second tick to one of the other three alternative systems.

    In most respects, the alternative that is closest to MMP is STV. So that might be a reasonable choice for those who are voting in favour of MMP on the first question.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Adam Maynard,

    Why does MMP require 120 MPs?

    Palmerston North • Since Jul 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Adam Maynard,

    Why does MMP require 120 MPs?

    Because, if it has fewer MPs , then either:

    1. Electorates will have to be too large, or
    2. There will not be enough list MPs to ensure proportionality.

    That said, I dispute that FPP can work with 99 MPs (or 120 for that matter). A major advantage claimed for FPP over MMP is that it means that local MPs are responsive to local voters, instead of to party dictates. In New Zealand, this hasn't been the case for a long time. With only a couple of one-off type exceptions, MPs have not really crossed the floor against their party in a very long time in New Zealand. If one supports FPP because it means local MPs will vote with their constituents and against their parties, you need a lot more MPs (so that cabinet and the executive have much less power over Parliamentary Parties).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    MPs have not really crossed the floor against their party in a very long time in New Zealand.

    This is something I would like to see more of, you know, a proper Parliament instead of a blatant abuse of power.

    At the end of every debate that is not supported by the opposition, regardless of being Labour or National, a vote is called for. This is now merely a formality.
    The party Whip's are not even necessary it appears, nobody seems to be bothered by the lack of members in the house, in fact a one man party can still get to have his vote counted without ever having heard the arguments or even attending the debate, the fact that urgency can be used at all under these circumstances dumbfounds me.
    Then there's this

    Official party whips are almost exclusively found in legislatures based on first-past-the-post electoral systems, as FPTP discourages the formation of small parties and therefore tends to create a few larger "big church" parties where the distance between members on the parties' right and left wings may be significant, which in turn can easily lead to internal rebellion against the official party platform when certain issues are voted on. In legislatures based on proportional representation elections such party officials are rarely found

    Do we need to change the rules of the House? and if so, how do we do that when we have no power against a house that is beholden to powerful interests and MPs fear losing their list position?.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Adam Maynard, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Thanks, I thought that might be the reason but was wondering if there was some legal requirement for the number of electorates or something.

    Palmerston North • Since Jul 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I'd recommend voting to keep MMP and make STV your backup choice. It's the only alternative on offer that is remotely proportional....despite the talk of only 3 to be elected for district....which would NOT be proportional. It's still better than one (a.k.a. "PV", which is really just a single-member version of STV)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

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