Posts by Lucy Telfar Barnard

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 Older→ First

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    The one time I remember trying this, some time in my early teens, was in the payphone in Colville next to the Post Office, I couldn't quite get it to work, and then the person working in the Post Office next door came on the line and said "Are you having trouble connecting" or something like that, and I made some sheepish excuse and gave up. I guess Colville was so old-school that the phone box connection still went through the Post Office exchange or something and they could hear or see some evidence that something was up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: So NZ First gets another list…,

    Well, that would certainly be logical if you thought list MPs not standing in by-elections was a good idea. But as far as democracy goes, I don’t think it would be good.

    Let’s take the example of the Greens. They have no electorate MPs, but 14 list MPs. They’ve only ever had an electorate MP once (Jeanette Fitzsimmons in Coromandel in 1999). Running for an electorate is hard work, but does a lot to help raise the profile of the party, including for voters outside the electorate.

    If list candidates couldn’t run for electorates, the Greens would have to either run fewer electorate candidates, or have all their electorate candidates running solely for the purpose of profile raising, in the knowledge that they were highly unlikely to be able to represent anyone – even their local electorate – after the election; while the list candidates would breeze around the country doing, what, general vote-raising, without being grounded in any particular electorate?

    Now you could argue that that already happens for many of their electorate candidates, who campaign for the good of the party as a whole. But to disallow their strongest representatives, the ones who were top of their list, from running in an electorate, would be to make the system much more one of workers and queens, and I don’t think anyone would appreciate that much, voters included.

    Then there are gambles like the one ACT has lost the last two elections, where a party puts up lower-ranked candidates in electorates, assuming they’ll get their leader in via the list, only to get fewer votes than anticipated and thus not have any seats other than the electorate seat. If Jamie Whyte had run for Epsom instead of David Seymour, and (under your proposed rule) instead of on their list, and the party had made 4% but lost Epsom, the Party would have 5 MPs in parliament, but none of them the leader – which is probably not what people giving ACT their party vote would have been hoping for. Having David Seymour instead of, rather than as well as, Jamie Whyte, is probably not what they were hoping for either – but without the electorate they wouldn’t be in parliament at all, so having David rather than Jamie seems more reasonable than if they’d made the 4% threshold but couldn’t have their leader because he’d run for the electorate instead.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: So NZ First gets another list…,

    Moved from other thread, in which Phil Lyth originally wrote...

    My inner purist thinks the Electoral Act should be amended to prohibit an MP standing in a by-election; my inner pragmatist tells me this is unlikely to happen.

    Also, I think that would be wrong.
    There are a number of MPs who came in on the list, but had also ran unsuccessfully for an electorate seat. If a by-election was held in their electorate, it's entirely fair and reasonable that they should want to run again to represent that electorate. Also, for the local electorate committee to have to try to find some other candidate who is less known and possibly less suitable because, y'know, they weren't nominated at the last election, also seems unfair.

    The point of electorate seats is that each electorate gets to have someone in parliament who is in their corner, and that they get to choose who that person will be. To say "No, you can't have this person represent you because, well, because their party thinks they're useful" is perverse.

    The other side of the coin is that if a list MP associates themselves strongly with a particular electorate, as many do, but can't run for that electorate in a by-election, so someone else from their party gets the nod and wins it instead, that electorate gets to have not just two MPs (which is common enough), but two MPs from the same party, which is really less useful. List MPs who associate themselves with an electorate choose one where the electorate MP is from a different party, which means that people in that electorate can go and talk to the MP who they think best represents them. There's no point in doubling up.

    Also, what happens at the next election? Who gets to run in that electorate? The list MP who ran at the last election, or the encumbent who won the by-election? It's all unnecessarily messy, and ultimately I don't think it would serve democracy in any meaningful way.

    There may be a better way to resolve conflicts between by-election results and election results in parliamentary seat distribution, but preventing sitting MPs from running in by-elections is not it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: What next for Winston?, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    My inner purist thinks the Electoral Act should be amended to prohibit an MP standing in a by-election; my inner pragmatist tells me this is unlikely to happen.

    I see there's a whole 'nother post on this, so I've moved my response there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    Ah, OK. We're not a Sky household

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Update on the Former MP's…,

    That was a terrible interview. Labour had already made prats of themselves supporting the SOP at all, but to then defend it so poorly.
    If they want to run the "contract" line, I think Steve Curtis' point is very well made: the pre-1999 MPs aren't just expecting the fulfillment of their original contract, they're also expecting betterment, in that a Business Class fare now provides a much higher standard of travel than it did previously, and Air New Zealand "Premium Economy" would be a more comparable standard. That would make the travel rebate about $6,900, which is about double the cost of an Economy Saver fare. Which is about what the ratio of Business Class to Economy used to be, and therefore similarly appropriate.
    There's a second issue which the whole "contract is a contract" argument (self-servingly) ignores, which is that one of the primary tenets of parliamentary democracy is that parliament can't bind future parliaments. A contract with parliament is no contract, it's just an agreement for now.
    Or from an alternative point of view: I wasn't old enough to vote when that "contract" was made, so I am not a signatory to it, and therefore I am not bound by it, and therefore my representative is not bound by it either.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    ZOMG, I totally forgot Project Runway, which, yes, definitely watched (don't think it's been on here for a while?). And also "What Not to Wear", and the first couple of seasons of NZ Masterchef, and the Great British Bakeoff.

    In the property/renovation space, my current poisons are "Location, Location, Location", "My Dream Home" with "the Property Brothers", and Sarah Beany's "Double your house for half the money", and any episode of Grand Designs which I haven't already seen twice.

    The point of listing all these is twofold. First, when I add it all up, I'm astonished to find just how much of reality TV I have watched, considering how sniffy I am about it as a super-genre; and second because, looking for common themes for longevity, it's not just the content, but also so importantly the hosts which make the difference. I couldn't watch "What Not to Wear" after they replaced Trinny and Susannah, and I would refuse to watch Project Runway on principle if they ever lost Tim Gunn. Grand Designs is made by Kevin McLeod, as proven by the dullness of the Australian version - though the latter also suffers from not having figured out that a Grand Design is not just "some house built with a bottomless budget". And there's Phil & Kirsty (LLL), and Mary Berry and Sue Perkins (GBB).

    So my question, for people who like the Idol/Talent/X Factor format, is whether the judges provide that same extra something as the hosts of those other shows do for me; i.e. they make it watchable or not? Because if so, that would underline the necessity of MediaWorks dumping two judges who were potentially going to make people disengage?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    It's alright Danielle, we know you're neither a prole nor an idiot, so you're allowed to watch reality TV/talent shows (particularly if it means I don't have to...). I once had a weakness for the various "Next Top Model"s, though not for some years now. And I used to like the home renovation shows, before the ratio of interior design to useless "challenges" and product placement tipped too far. And when I think about it... I watched the first, NZ, Popstars. And probably the first Australian and UK versions too. But never Survivor, nor American Idol/Country X has Talent/The X-factor, nor Big Brother. So maybe it's a case of "pick your reality poison"?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Update on the Former MP's…,

    Indeed. Another nice example of the line attributed to Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Good job Phil Lyth; Graeme Edgeler; all those who wrote to a politician to query their position on the matter (that's so I get to thank myself!); and the Greens.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: MPs to vote on raising…,

    No, you haven't misunderstood anything. That does appear to be exactly what she's claiming, which is why it's such total poppycock. I wonder if that's what they've told the Greens and NZ First when they were convincing them to vote for it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 440 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 44 Older→ First