Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rethinking the EFA

167 Responses

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  • Paul Williams,

    @Chris Diack,

    Arranging for someone to lodge a frivilous complaint for the purpose of then claiming persecution is, frankly, silly. On this, I think the media's conclusion seems pretty reasonable. You might want to moderate your mock-indignation in this instance.

    Oh and can I also suggest attacking Val Sim 'cause she's the official with responsibility is simply foul; you do understand that officials don't get to pick and choose which Executive instructions they're tasked with don't you?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Grassed Up,

    Further to Chris' claim,

    The issue of candidate election spending actually is dealt with by the Chief Electoral Officer, not the Electoral Commission. This office gives advice on its interpretation of the EFA (unlike the Commission). So as an ex post facto rationalisation, this seems pretty lame.

    Since Nov 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I don't know who Chris is, but I think everyone should feel free to mock him while he's looking silly. It can be our wee bit of revenge for any part he had in bringing us Roger Douglas.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Since we're looking at reviewing the EFA, how about we go a step further and re-assess the whole system?

    A bi-partisan commission to look at:

    1] retaining MMP or switching to another proportional system (not a return to FPP). include a review of the 5% thresh-hold
    2] retaining Maori seats. Either lock 'em in or phase them out (over 20 years if necessary)
    3] increasing the term to 4 years, so the Govt can govern and not switch to election mode in Year 3
    4] setting a fixed election date, with the official campaign season (vis a vis any EFA) starting 6 months prior. This would not negate a Govt calling a snap election.

    A great idea if I say so myself, the only thorn being the commission/consultation process. I'd like it all done in a year but fat chance of that happening.

    <if you think this is threadjacking Russell you can hold it over til later in the discussion>

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    when has a gentle mocking done anyone any good - sneak in tonight and leave a fish under his house

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    4] setting a fixed election date, with the official campaign season (vis a vis any EFA) starting 6 months prior. This would not negate a Govt calling a snap election.

    Do any Westminster governments have fixed election dates? I don't see how it can work. What's the point of a fixed date if the government can call a snap election early? That's not a fixed date, that's a "last possible day an election can occur", and we already have that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    when has a gentle mocking done anyone any good - sneak in tonight and leave a fish under his house

    Sweetie, if you can get into his house then the thing to do is to paint the underside of all his furniture with natural yoghurt. It's a slow but insidious revenge.

    If you can't get into his house, you'll just have to fill his car with Space Invader.

    This is not something I advocate, I hasten to add. I'm just saying.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4286 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    What's the point of a fixed date if the government can call a snap election early?

    I think the idea is that the government would have to do more than declare a snap election, such as having to make a formal vote on it (perhaps with a grace period during which the other parties could attempt to cobble together their own government).

    Such an arrangement would raise the bar considerably with respect to snap elections, removing the incumbent's tactical advantage of being able to call an election to their own preference.

    As a candidate, it was a real pain planning my life around an unknown election date, so I'd welcome fixed election dates.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Grassed Up,

    Kyle,

    Canada has just introduced fixed election dates.

    Which Harper then went and undermined by manufacturing a "crisis" that "required" an early election.

    Since Nov 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Kyle:

    I think this got pretty comprehensively thrashed out on another thread, but I'd turn your question around: But what practical or constitutional obstacles are there to this scenario :-

    1) Fix the election date at, say, the second Saturday in November.

    2) The only exception is if the Government loses confidence and supply, in which case the election MUST be held six weeks from the next Saturday.

    Perhaps resident constitional scholars would beg to differ, but I find it hard to see any pending constitutional crisis that required Muldoon to call a snap election in 1984, or Clark doing the same in 2002. What was blindingly obvious was the naked strategic self-interest of the Government of the day. As Muldoon infamously slurred when a hack pointed out that he didn't have much time to campaign: "It doesn't leave my opponents much time, does it?" And eighteen years later, Clark's rationale was that the split of the Alliance -- and the length of Question Time! -- made the country ungovernable. Even she wasn't pushing that with any conviction. But what was clear was Labour's very strong polling, and having the financial and organisational infrastructure in place to gazump National. A correct call, considering that election delivered National the worse result in the party's history.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I've always imagined 'ACT activists' as sort of the geeks who the geeks wont hang out with, they've never figured out how to make a decent living, wealth has passed them by and it's sooo unfair - stolen from them by the evil reds - sitting in a bare one-room apartment, a naked light bulb, with a TV on an apple box and another box as a bookcase - 3 volumes of rand is all that's there

    (probably I've known too many rabid US libertarians)

    But in short furniture's not something they do

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    3] increasing the term to 4 years, so the Govt can govern and not switch to election mode in Year 3

    Agreed.

    4] setting a fixed election date, with the official campaign season (vis a vis any EFA) starting 6 months prior. This would not negate a Govt calling a snap election.

    Not so fast there Mikaere... just look to your west and see the risks associated with fixed-terms...

    @Kyle, NSW has a fixed term, Australian federal government does not - neither does Western Australia where recently the Labour government recently called an election early and... lost).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    __ 3] increasing the term to 4 years, so the Govt can govern and not switch to election mode in Year 3__

    Agreed.

    Er... we'd start after the next scheduled election, right?

    1) Fix the election date at, say, the second Saturday in November.

    2) The only exception is if the Government loses confidence and supply, in which case the election MUST be held six weeks from the next Saturday.

    What happens then if my government loses confidence in March of the year when the election are due? Are you still going to fix a second general election in November? I'm not against the idea of fixed, by it can simply be fixed on the first Saturday three (or four) years after the previous election, no?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Aaron Dick,

    I was never really clear on this part of the EFA. If I want to spend up to $12,000 telling people to vote for Party X, I need only include the promoter's address, yes? And, that could mean just including my address?

    Have I missed something in that understanding?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Lx,

    I've always imagined 'ACT activists' as sort of the geeks who the geeks wont hang out with, they've never figured out how to make a decent living, wealth has passed them by and it's sooo unfair...

    Some of them are law students, as a result of which I (bigotedly) imagine the rest of them - the older ones anyway - to be wealthy and selfish.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If you can't get into his house, you'll just have to fill his car with Space Invader.

    For a few seconds there I pictured the old-style video game with the monitor mounted into a table. Man that would be a cool ride.

    Around fixed election dates, the question as Giovanni has put it is what then happens if you 'snap' early, come the actual election date?

    Our elections determine who is the government. In the US, for example, it's a different situation as they don't have a Westminster system. So their government doesn't fall over, it just trundles on with a stupid grin, a la George Bush.

    I'm all in favour of Craig's point, that the right to call elections shouldn't just be used for political advantage, but I wonder if its practical.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Oh and Mikaere, congrats on your part in running a great campaign.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Around fixed election dates, the question as Giovanni has put it is what then happens if you 'snap' early, come the actual election date?

    Kyle/Giovanni,

    In NSW, fixed means fixed so long as you have confidence and supply. If you lose that and the other mob can't form a government, an election is called. But so long as you have confidence and supply, you can't call an election inside the four years.

    If you lose confidence and supply and the Governor calls an election, the subsequently elected government has a full four year term contingent upon retaining confidence and supply.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    I don't know who Chris is, but I think everyone should feel free to mock him while he's looking silly. It can be our wee bit of revenge for any part he had in bringing us Roger Douglas.

    A little backgrounder by Brian Rudman at the Granny:

    Saga of Onehunga Labour Party house ends with whimper

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3912 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Er... we'd start after the next scheduled election, right?

    Right.
    OR: we could backdate it to the last election, thereby putting Labour back in power for another 12 months.

    But seriously. I'm a big fan of a longer term. 3 years seems too short. Don't know if I'd go 5.

    2] retaining Maori seats. Either lock 'em in or phase them out (over 20 years if necessary)

    I'm hopeful National will sort this out this term, with the help of the Maori Party. If we're going to entrench the seats (and they weren't meant to be permanent when they were introduced - it was a mechanism to divert the Maori vote) then surely Maori shouldn't be allowed on the General Roll as well? Why do they get two choices? And if we're going to have a Pasifica seat (as has been suggested) will we have one for the Chinese?

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think the classic way of delivering a fixed term parliament is to have a "constructive motion of no confidence" where another party is named and takes over.

    This still creates a problem if a government loses its majority and cannot get supply passed, but also can't resign.

    One other option would be for supply to be passed for three years at the beginning of a term.

    (There is also the case when a government genuinely wants a new mandate, like Heath in the 1973 miners strike. )

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    A little backgrounder by Brian Rudman at the Granny:

    Ah. A real class act then?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Onehunga house story reminds me of the scorched earth Prebble's Act-olytes left in Auckland Central in 1992, after Prebble was defeated there.

    It speaks of greed and poor character.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    And if we're going to have a Pasifica seat (as has been suggested) will we have one for the Chinese?

    Oh oh, and one for Winston supporters. It is really unfair that a lot of people voted for WP and he didn't get in because his voters are spread out over the country and not just in Tauranga (where they all used to be - the drift south of the retired folks.). From the electorate votes I'd guess not a lot of people would vote for the Ron Mark Party or Peter Brown Party. Can he be cloned? That would be the crunch I guess.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I was never really clear on this part of the EFA. If I want to spend up to $12,000 telling people to vote for Party X, I need only include the promoter's address, yes? And, that could mean just including my address?

    Have I missed something in that understanding?

    Apart from the fact that you can't actually say "vote for Party X" without Party X's approval (and it counting on their spending cap), only the fact that you need your name as well.

    Basically, unless you're spending a lot of money (and despitethe right's pretensions, $12,000 is an awful lot of money to almost everyone in NZ), then the law has very little effect on you. It's only a "problem" for those seeking to use their wealth to gain an unfair advantage.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1593 posts Report Reply

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