Surely we are meant to be electing representatives from a party that we feel will best represent our viewpoint in Parliament - and so under MMP the parties should be campaigning on what positions they will take and where their "walk away" points are. If anything, your thesis just shows that the two big players haven't yet adjusted to the fact hat they won't be calling all the shots and are still campaigning on a "this is what we'll do as supreme rulers of the country" model
I think this is the important thing. It's not about how can we work the model to match the country's perception, it's how the parties can represent themselves to better present the system they are working in.
I think if all the parties stuck to describing their policies but also outlining what parties they can work with - the voting habits will change to match. If you know that if you vote for Greens regarding their policy knowing who their partners are likely to be, then you may be more inclined to vote for them rather than Labour (Which some voters did to not "waste" their vote.)
Because, in the medium-term, it won't work for either of them.
If National forms a government, and you don't like what it's doing, then Labour can say "vote for us, we'll do better".
If Labour forms a government, and you don't like what it's doing, then National can say "vote for us, we'll do better".
If National forms a government with Labour, and you don't like what it's doing. Then you probably won't vote for either of them.
Um... but isn't that kind of the point then? Call me crazy, but shouldn't the government be doing what we - the people - want and if they don't we vote someone in who does.
Your key error of thinking here is the somewhat archaic idea that government can only be National or Labour. But that isn't a particularly rational position to take. Anyone can make a government. In a system like MMP we are more likely to get one that best represents the population of the country rather than just a segment of it.
If NZers want to see MMP provide better results, the first step is to stop thinking that it can only be Labour or National in government. That's a falsehood.
The second is to forget that there is a "winner." Government shouldn't be a prize to win, it is a responsibility to take on. We are voting to grant someone the ability to govern in our stead based on our preferred ideals. But to make sure that it is for the benefit of the most NZers - we need a government that isn't beholden to a single interest group.
To do this, we need coalition governments.
Graeme, you're arguments seem to hinge on the false idea that a single party government is better. It isn't. It seems to me that a lot of the complaints about MMP stem from a mindset of "my team didn't win:" and not really have any focus on whether or not it is good for the country. I notice that there is a mentality that if the single party voted for doesn't get full control of government, then that is a loss.
This is not about winning, and NZ needs to get out of the flawed thinking that it is.
A moderating factor, for voters who give their party vote to a smaller party, could be whether the their is a change of government. Voting out a disliked government is quite a fillip in its own right.
Anyway, there seems to be a convention that the party that gets the most party votes is the first cab off the rank when it comes to post-election negotiations, and if they can't cobble together some kind of arrangement, then they really don't deserve to govern, do they ?
I completely agree. A good government should be able to negotiate, reason and compromise. If a party can't do that - then they don't have the skills to lead.
They also aren't representative of the majority of the country - because if the other parties CAN negotiate and compromise, then they are a unified front that makes up a larger proportion of the population's votes anyway.
We need to get away from the schoolyard politics of there can be only one winner and everyone else is a runner up.
The thing is that a Mixed Member Proportional system is just that - Mixed.
It isn't about any single party winning. Getting 48% of the vote doesn't make you the winner, and NZ needs to get out of that line of thinking.
MMP is about creating a government that better represents the population and the policies that population supports.
Under MMP there is nothing stopping Labour and National from forming a coalition other than years of FPP history. When you look at their policies, a Labour National coalition would be a brilliant thing. Unfortunately their members are still stuck in the FPP frame of mind.
The way to look at it is this. It isn't about comparing National to Labour. It's about asking why should 48% of the seats in government have more say than the other 52%?
The Coalition/Mixed Member structure ensures that no single group dominates the leadership. Labour would find it hard to pass policy that National, the Greens, and ACT (for example) are against. In other words - it is a proper democratic system that allows for most laws only being able to be passed if the majority of NZers are likely to support them.
A single party government is neither representative, nor fair. It will ONLY represent it's proportion of the population and will continue to pass laws that only that proportion are supportive of. Furthermore, there is less ability for other parties to hinder those laws or keep that party restrained.
MMP is by no means perfect, but a lot of NZ's issues with it still stem from some people not understanding that it isn't about having a single clear winner. It's about forming a government capable of compromising and being moderate.
Frankly, if a party cannot compromise and work with another party to improve the running of this country, I - for one - would not want to see that party in power. I prefer to see a coalition that represents a broader cross section of the country - because that ensures fairer laws. It isn't about minorities controlling the country - that's a lie and anyone who claims otherwise knows they are telling a lie.
Minorities are able to ensure that their interests are also considered and fairly addressed rather than being ignored except at the grace of the majority.
Democracy isn't majority rule - it is fair representation. MMP provides this. FPP did not.