Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Alcohol Game Theory

21 Responses

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    So what would I propose they do?

    I'd would hold three votes:
    *one between 18 and 20,
    *one between 18 and split age
    *one between 20 and split age

    If any option wins both votes it is part of (which seems likely, although isn't assured), then it is the favoured option, and should be included in the final bill.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    This geek was curious to know what would happen if, on the first vote, two options were lowest-equal. For example 38 - 38 - 43 with two abstentions.

    I understand that while not referred to in the video of Brownlee, there is agreement as to how to proceed if that happens.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Man you write complicated stuff in a very clear and cogent way. Thank you!

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Reminds me of the process Simon Power tossed out for the MMP referendum, before someone who knew what they were doing got ahold of it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    the exact process by which the first vote will take place hasn’t been publicly stated – there are, after all, only two doors for MPs to walk through when voting.

    Couldn't this also be done with three votes. Those in favour of 18 Yes, other No. Those in favour of split Yes, other No. Those in favour of 20 Yes, other No. I guess they'd also need to clearly stipulate that an MP could only vote Yes in one of the 3 options.

    Personally I'd allow MPs to vote yes for more than one option.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Couldn't this also be done with three votes. Those in favour of 18 Yes, other No. Those in favour of split Yes, other No. Those in favour of 20 Yes, other No. I guess they'd also need to clearly stipulate that an MP could only vote Yes in one of the 3 options.

    Isn't that effectively what they're doing? If you only get to vote yes for one option you're just picking one out of three.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Curious conundrum. Another possibility is a preferential system, ranking the three options and doing an instant runoff. But Graeme's is simpler (and would probably have the same outcome), and I think his argument that the Condorcet criterion should hold makes sense on something that is basically picking a number along a range. A method that makes a polarized outcome more likely isn't "compromising". However, if the opinions genuinely are polarized, I'm not so sure. What if 59 favour 18, 59 favour 20, and only 3 are in the middle? Perhaps excluding the middle and re-voting makes more sense. I'd think, though, that if they were so divided, then it's actually a bad question, and should probably be recast to unpick out what it is that is controversial.

    Yet another possibility would have been to set a range along which a number can be picked, and to take the median. There's no limit to the number of possible ways to choose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I have three observations:

    1. The MMP referenda offers a good system of two votes: Do you prefer a change to the age at which alcohol can be purchased? If no, status quo, if yes, there is a vote between the split age and the 20 age limit. I wonder if this system was considered?

    2. I appreciate that this is a system that is used to pick the speaker, but in a country with no written constitution, isn't this an example of constitutional change by increment? Assuming that it is in future considered as the system parliament uses to choose between three options, rather than two. In a terribly geeky way, that's quite exciting.

    3. I've not really followed the debate, but what is the advice from the Law Society (or whoever it is)? Surely if they or the relevant parliamentary commission have considered the evidence they have made a recommendation? If MPs are ignoring the recommendation (one based upon evidence) and giving themselves a 'gripping hand' (so to speak) aren't they just sinking to faith-based, rather than evidence-based legislating?

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Couldn't this also be done with three votes. Those in favour of 18 Yes, other No. Those in favour of split Yes, other No. Those in favour of 20 Yes, other No. I guess they'd also need to clearly stipulate that an MP could only vote Yes in one of the 3 options.

    Personally I'd allow MPs to vote yes for more than one option.

    It could, although that may have slightly more obvious tactical voting opportunities.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Paul Rowe,

    1. The MMP referenda offers a good system of two votes: Do you prefer a change to the age at which alcohol can be purchased? If no, status quo, if yes, there is a vote between the split age and the 20 age limit. I wonder if this system was considered?

    Because it's a bad system for a vote like this. It was only a good system for the MMP referendum because it was a non-binding first referendum. Recall that had we voted for change, there would have been a further referendum later. Without that further option (between the status quo and the top other choice), the system would be somewhat broken.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Paul Rowe,

    If MPs are ignoring the recommendation (one based upon evidence) and giving themselves a ‘gripping hand’ (so to speak) aren’t they just sinking to faith-based, rather than evidence-based legislating?

    We do not require members of Parliament to adopt evidence-based policy, nor voters to cast evidence-based votes :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Because it’s a bad system for a vote like this. It was only a good system for the MMP referendum because it was a non-binding first referendum.

    Yes, I was making a criticism rather than an observation!

    Because it’s a bad system for a vote like this. It was only a good system for the MMP referendum because it was a non-binding first referendum.

    Yes, I recall the referendum, I was thinking more of the 1992 and 1993 referenda, but looking back the 1992 referendum was non-binding as well and asked two questions at once. It goes to show that how you set the rules affects how people play the game and ultimately who wins.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Paul Rowe,

    aren't they just sinking to faith-based, rather than evidence-based legislating

    Maybe they consider that the human right to non-discrimination by age is more important than other considerations. That's why we have a democracy rather than rule by "experts".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    'We've given the young people of this country a chance to have a lower age,'' NZ First leader Winston Peters said.

    We've given the old people of this country the chance to stop voting for bigoted morons

    Time for an upper voting age.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Possibly as you picked Graeme - the split option drops out early, and then the final vote keeps it at 18.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Psycho Milt,

    Looks like you called it - split age drops out immediately due to the majority favouring keeping it 18 or raising it to 20.

    Can't say I'm disappointed - split age was a stupid compromise, making the purchasing age a lot more complicated for the sole purpose of allowing MPs to use the word "compromise." Their voting procedure may have been a poor one, but I'm not complaining about the outcome.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    From a selfish point of view I'm a bit disappointed because it means I have to continue to put up with 16, 17 and 18 year olds organising where they are getting wasted at this weekend while they are supposed to be doing the class work they've been set :(

    On the flip side I remember being a 19 year old in my 3rd year at University STILL not being able to drink alcohol and being fucking annoyed by it. Of course they lowered the drinking age about a year later :( It's OK though, I've made up for lost time.

    I was actually in favour of the split age.
    You can drink when you are 18 but it must be in a 'semi' controlled environment (your mates garage with 94 other people doesn't fit this category).

    As long as the purchase age is 18 from a liquor store then the drinking age will basically be 16-17 (and lower) and that's the reality. Education, and laws about supplying minors and all that guff will not change that. Because that law gets broken relentlessly every Friday night by a teenager near you.

    There's nothing for it. I'm off to get a drink.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Yamis,

    put up with 16, 17 and 18 year olds organising where they are getting wasted at this weekend while they are supposed to be doing the class work they’ve been set :(

    But it's the weekend man! I can't believe you haven't figured out that you ram during the week. avoid the weekend and start fresh every Monday, I mean, c'mon it's the weekend. ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Yamis,

    I was actually in favour of the split age.

    The former split age (we must've been at university at fairly similar times) didn't make any sense to me - 20, but 18 at certain sports clubs, with a meal or if you purchase a meal ticket (from memory $3 at the Loaded Goblin but no compulsion to actually claim, let alone eat your meal, but a stamp on your hand to limit the time you can buy booze and/or claim your meal) or with a spouse or other family member over 20 struck me as being unnecessarily complex and fairly easy to abuse. But 18 on licence/20 off licence seems like a fair way to do it if we must have a split age. Still, one flat drinking age that just happens to be the same as the age for all those other adult things like joining the army and going to war, voting, criminal responsibility, and so on makes by far the most sense to me. After all, the problem is not the drinking age but the drinking culture.

    As long as the purchase age is 18 from a liquor store then the drinking age will basically be 16-17 (and lower) and that’s the reality.

    I'm not convinced it has to be that way. We can change our cultural attitudes towards booze and we can improve law enforcement.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I cant help thinking you have made this unnecessarily complex. it is as simple as. Do we have a split age of 20 off / 18 on or 20 across the board, if not, then the existing law applies.
    This breaks down to a yes vote equates to 20 across the board, for the most extreme. change, no, for the split thus leaving abstentions for keeping the existing law.
    That way the majority get to stay down the Backbencher.
    Simple.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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