There is a currently sitting MP standing for ACT - just not on the list.
Oh, and the one seat exemption wasn't designed to counter the relatively high threshold.
The original intent of the two thresholds was that it was decided that the dividing line for a party to be represented in parliament should be that EITHER they were relatively popular around the country OR particularly popular in one area.
This may be a hang over from larger countries that often have parties that represent particular regional interests and aren't popular across a whole nation, but from memory that was where the thinking lay.
The problem is that changing the rules changes incentives.
ACT went for an electorate, and sacrificed money and effort that would have gone towards getting party votes to do so. Without the 1 seat rule they would have gone fully for 5% and may or may not have got it.
NZ First went for 5% because they knew they couldn’t win a seat. But if they had gone for a seat, they probably would have got fewer party votes than ACT.
Parties play by the rules they’re given.
There’s only really two practical solutions:
1) Get rid of the thresholds entirely (5% and seat), and let anyone that gets 1% of the vote have 1% of the seats.
2) Get rid of electorates entirely. The only thing they provide is regional representation for people, which is silly in a system designed to represent people based on their political views. Just have a pure list-based election, let parties allocate their MPs to regions themselves, and devolve more power and responsibility to councils and councillors.
"It's not some kind of tricky accounting. Australia has a tax-free bottom bracket, and at the top end, it goes all the way up to 45% (New Zealand's top rate is 39%). Australia's tax system is simply more progressive."
You've ignored the thresholds that those rates come into force.
You're entire argument boils down to this statement:
"It's a compulsory obligation that's appended to a private arrangement. How is this different from compulsory student unionism?"
And it's a very simple answer:
Private arrangements aren't government funded.
I have no problem with private universities saying that their students association is compulsory - in fact the bill accounts for this.
Equally, I'd have no problem with an employer saying they'd only employ staff who are members of a union (however unusual that may be). CSM however, is like a government department saying they will only employ staff who are members of a union - outrageous.