Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: At least we have MMP

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  • uroskin,

    My disappointment with the upcoming MMP referendum is that there won't be a *more* proportionate system on the ballot: 120 list seats, 0.8% threshold, candidate preferences within lists optional, no separate Maori seats. I hope MMP wins and then have a review along those lines.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think the point was, if the boundaries were redrawn under FPP, you might end up living in a labour stronghold, and then your vote for anyone else would be about as influential as toilet paper.

    The Eco-bulb of insight has just finished warming up! :) But there's always something about the "wasted" vote argument for any form of PR s that perk up my hackles, when there's so many better ones worth having.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Not quite sure I've got the point of that -- I live just inside the boundaries of an electorate National's held since 1949.

    Then (assuming they have a giant majority) no matter who you vote for (even National) you couldn't change the outcome of the election - your vote would be wasted - under FPP only those who live in marginal electorates have votes that effect the outcome

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    The 1993 election – our last under FPP – had 99 MPs, and a fixed 4 Maori electorates. We’re not going back to this. A prospective FPP system will have 120 MPs, including 12 (probably 13) Maori electorates. All we need is Sandra Grey to dog-whistle.

    The Maori electorate votes tactically and in 2008 under MMP effectively elected 15 MPs (13PR + 2 overhang).

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The Maori electorate votes tactically and in 2008 under MMP effectively elected 15 MPs (13PR + 2 overhang).

    Well that's really over-reaching based on no data.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    under FPP only those who live in marginal electorates have votes that effect the outcome

    And just to stress how important this is: the Royal Commission on the Electoral System found that the 1978 election hinged on 722 voters in 7 marginal seats, and the 1981 election on 154 voters in 3 seats. Everyone else was largely irrelevant.

    Under MMP, everyone's vote counts. Under FPP, only a few votes do. And this makes a real difference in political behaviour. Under MMP, politicians have to try and appeal to all of us (or at least enough of us). Under FPP, they can just focus on swing voters in key marginals and tell the rest of us to go fuck ourselves. And in plurality jurisdictions, they do. A lot of Australian policy - the racism, the homophobia, the failure to act on climate change - can be explained by parties pandering to religious bigot swing voters in marginal suburban seats.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The Maori electorate votes tactically and in 2008 under MMP effectively elected 15 MPs (13PR + 2 overhang).

    You know there aren't 13 Maori seats at the moment, right?

    Also, only 39.3% of Maori Party party voters split their votes. 83.6% of ACT party voters split their votes, as did 66.7% of Green party voters and 81.9% of New Zealand First party voters.

    [ah statistics...]

    That said:

    Well that's really over-reaching based on no data.

    We do actually have the data, and my interest has been piqued, so I might do some analysis tonight.

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    In a way, the MMP system seems to double as a de-facto upper house.

    If the electoral system absolutely has to be changed, then make it anything but FPP. Personally I lean towards STV or a similarly preferential system.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    We do actually have the data, and my interest has been piqued, so I might do some analysis tonight.

    I took Angus' claim to be that there are enough Maori voters on either the Maori roll, or on the general roll, to have elected 13 PR reps, plus 2 with the overhang in a big tactical vote.

    Which is assigning a whole heap of intent to Maori on the general roll that would require some pretty good data to back it up.

    And also means that those Maori that voted Act have really got some explaining to do back on the Marae I'm guessing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I can't follow Armstrong's point at all. He suggests voters are moving back to the two major parties, then uses that to suggest that we should change our system to accommodate that. Why would that be necessary? If voters want only 2 parties then that's what they'll get, under MMP. Why the need to legislate out the minority who don't want that, and the whole future in which abandoning the big 2 might become popular again?

    I don't blame MMP for ACT having disproportionate power. I blame ACT voters, and the National party. Also the ACT party for proving to be unworthy of the power. All of these groups have in recent weeks taken a bit of a knock. This is a good thing, it brings out into the open what ACT is like. People can vote differently in the next election, and if National gets in again, they can choose better company, or at least hammer out a lesser role for the lesser party.

    My feeling is the swing voters who pretty much decide every election will have been very put off by ACT this time around. Quite a few of them that I know who voted for National have expressed misgivings. Before the election it was "ACT and Rodney are all right, they just want us to pay a bit less tax, and bang away the crooks". Now it's "ACT and Rodney just made massive and expensive changes to Auckland, and now we find out they're the crooks".

    Key can't hide away from this and blame it on MMP. MMP did not force National to accept ACT as a confidence and supply partner - a general agreement with ACTs principles did that. He might not like how that is going to look in the next election for National's chances, is all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    You know there aren't 13 Maori seats at the moment, right?

    Heh.

    You know MMP is a system of proportional representation, right?

    And we do have stats.

    The fraction of NZers in Maori electorates multiplied by 120 equals 12.4 (practically 13).

    There are also 2 overhang seats from the Maori electorates.

    Assuming Maori electorates have equal turnout* as general roll:

    13 + 2 = 15

    * Turnout isn't equal and demographics are an issue.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    There are also 2 overhang seats from the Maori electorates.

    The "normal" situation would be that there are 70 electorate MPs, and 50 list MPs. There are two overhang MPs, making 52 lists overall. The two extra list MPs - the overhang MPs - are from the National Party and the Green Party.

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If somebody was to start a South Island party and run an electorate campaign down there, they'd also get an overhang.

    The Maori seats are a taonga and not for the rest of us to decide on.

    I do think we should remove vote-splitting (so that an electorate vote implies a vote for the candidates party), remove coat-tailing, cut the threshold to 3% and introduce an optional open list.

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

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    If somebody was to start a South Island party and run an electorate campaign down there, they'd also get an overhang.

    Someone did start a South Island Party. They did run electorate campaigns, but they didn't get or cause an overhang.

    The Maori seats are a taonga and not for the rest of us to decide on.

    The Maori seats didn't exist when the Treaty was signed. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the conclusion, but the premise doesn't seem quite right.

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

  • Angus Robertson,

    Kyle,

    Under MMP all seats apart from overhangs and independents are PR.

    I took Angus' claim to be that there are enough Maori voters on either the Maori roll, or on the general roll, to have elected 13 PR reps, plus 2 with the overhang in a big tactical vote.

    I didn't, but if I do add in all Maori in the general electorate (and account for demographics)... math, math, math ... approximately 15 seats are decided by Maori PR.

    15 + 2 = 17

    Which is assigning a whole heap of intent to Maori on the general roll that would require some pretty good data to back it up.

    No, just on those Maori roll who voted tactically in a way smarter than you (or me) so they ended up with greater representation.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    The "normal" situation would be that there are 70 electorate MPs, and 50 list MPs. There are two overhang MPs, making 52 lists overall. The two extra list MPs - the overhang MPs - are from the National Party and the Green Party.

    So, I'm wrong. Proportionality is across all 122. Oops

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • caycos,

    I do think we should remove vote-splitting (so that an electorate vote implies a vote for the candidates party)

    Disagree - last election I was in Ohariu-Belmont. I voted for Charles Chauvel because Peter Dunne... But I party-voted Greens because I really wanted them in parliament. I didn't want to give my party vote to Labour, but voting for the Green candidate would have been a wasted vote. In fact, vague recollection is that if all the Green candidate votes had instead gone to Chauvel it would have been verrrrry close between him and Dunne.

    edit: actually I just checked (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohariu-Belmont_%28New_Zealand_electorate%29) and it wasn't quite that close. Point remains that voting Green candidate would have been silly.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I do think we should remove vote-splitting (so that an electorate vote implies a vote for the candidates party)

    Disagree - last election I was in Ohariu-Belmont. I voted for Charles Chauvel because Peter Dunne..

    I also strongly disagree. The two votes are the key to the system, and provide useful flexibility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I do think we should remove vote-splitting (so that an electorate vote implies a vote for the candidates party)

    Disagree - last election I was in Ohariu-Belmont. I voted for Charles Chauvel because Peter Dunne..

    I also strongly disagree. The two votes are the key to the system, and provide useful flexibility.

    Me 3. I think it's integral.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    The "normal" situation would be that there are 70 electorate MPs, and 50 list MPs. There are two overhang MPs, making 52 lists overall. The two extra list MPs - the overhang MPs - are from the National Party and the Green Party.

    I don't think this is the right way to look at it. The "normal" situation involves the 70+50 being distributed in proportion to the party votes. Subtract two Māori Party MPs from the current Parliament (as it was immediately after the election, anyway), and you get that proportionality. In that hypothetical Parliament, Māori people are represented by the various parties in proportion to the party votes Māori people cast. In our actual Parliament, we have those numbers, plus two extra Māori Party MPs.

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    The "normal" situation would be that there are 70 electorate MPs, and 50 list MPs. There are two overhang MPs, making 52 lists overall. The two extra list MPs - the overhang MPs - are from the National Party and the Green Party.

    It doesn't matter that the last 2 seats went to the Nats and the Greens - the overhang effectively advantages the Maori Party.

    There is a 60% or so disproportionality between what the Maori Party earned in party votes and the proportion of seats awarded. To correct this would require an additional 60% overhang of seats, whereas we only add 1.4% more seats.

    MMP with overhang is not PR and favours whoever utilises the overhang. Its not due to any inherent bias, just some Maori voters are a good deal smarter than the rest of us.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Someone did start a South Island Party. They did run electorate campaigns, but they didn't get or cause an overhang.

    I thought maybe I should have added the words "if successful" but thought that would be obvious.

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

  • Matthew Poole,

    I do think we should remove vote-splitting (so that an electorate vote implies a vote for the candidates party)

    Disagree - last election I was in Ohariu-Belmont. I voted for Charles Chauvel because Peter Dunne... But I party-voted Greens because I really wanted them in parliament.

    Another disagree. I was in Epsom in '08 (now in Maungakiekie), and happy as I was to vote for Worthless Dick - vain as the vote may have been - as an attempt at countering Rodders, there was no way I was going to throw my party vote at National.

    I'm a little disappointed that I don't get to take visceral pleasure in not voting for Rodney next year, but at least he's doing a sufficiently good job of making himself unelectable that it's not likely to really matter.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Caycos, it was that close in Ohariu, 2008. Charles only just over 1000 votes behind Peter D and the Green candidate got over 2500 votes. Ohariu did well in MPs though with 4 representatives now.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It doesn't matter that the last 2 seats went to the Nats and the Greens - the overhang effectively advantages the Maori Party.

    No, it disadvantages the Maori Party. We have a 120 seat Parliament. The Maori Party won 5 of those seats. That's 4.17% of Parliament. But we have an overhang. Which means the Maori Party get 4.10% of Parliament, despite winning 5 seats.

    MMP with overhang is not PR and favours whoever utilises the overhang. Its not due to any inherent bias, just some Maori voters are a good deal smarter than the rest of us.

    Actually, inherent bias does have something to do with it. People of Maori descent make up 18% of the population, yet 12% of the voting age population (numbers from last time I made this argument, when I checked). However boundaries are drawn with respect not to the voting age population, but to the electoral population, which includes non-voters, especially children. Because of the relative youth of the Maori descent population, the number of eligible voters represented in each Maori electorate is substantially less than in the general electorates (32,809 enrolled per Maori electorate at the last election vs 44,534 per general electorate).

    Because of this (particularly when compounded with the lower enrolment and turnout in Maori electorates) Maori electorates are inherently more likely to cause overhang.

    Had the 2008 election (same turnout) seen the Maori Party win 80% of the votes in each of the Maori electorates (and none in the general seats), with absolutely no vote-splitting, there would have been a Maori electorate-caused one seat overhang (at a more realistic 55% it would have been a three-seat overhang, still with absolutely no vote splitting).

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

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