Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Referendum Fact Check 4: The MMP Debate

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  • Damian Christie, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    But the one thing that always gets me in these discussions is the “Winston chose the Government” line.

    I agree. My position is don't blame Winston - blame both National and Labour for being so power-hungry that they'd countenance a bargain with the prick.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • steve black, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I understand with compulsory voting, the Aussies regard anything from a tick instead of a cross to drawings of penii on the ballot paper as an “informal vote”?

    An “informal” vote is commonly called a “donkey vote” in Australia, which raises interesting questions about the size of organ which might be drawn.

    I've often wondered (but never found out) what proportion of votes are "donkey votes". What if it were the same proportion as registered voters who don't turn up to vote here? Compulsory voting might not have succeeded in improving turnout.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 116 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to steve black,

    Nah, a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donkey_vote is when you vote 1,2,3 down the page in order. It favours candidates like Aaron Bhatnagar, unless the order is randomised.

    And about 5% of Australian votes get spoiled. It's hard to detect donkey votes by their nature.

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

  • Venetia King,

    Thanks for all the referendum research Graeme, much appreciated. Apologies if you've covered this already but I couldn't find it - are the four alternatives to MMP going to be listed in the same order on all the referendum voting papers? Looking at the sample image on the official sites it would appear so, with FPP listed first (in alphabetical order). Do you think that could make a difference to the result?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 117 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Venetia King,

    re the four alternatives to MMP going to be listed in the same order on all the referendum voting papers? Looking at the sample image on the official sites it would appear so, with FPP listed first (in alphabetical order). Do you think that could make a difference to the result?

    They're in alphabetical order (by full name, not abbreviation, so STV comes before SM). I don't expect it to make a difference. These are four quite distinct alternatives. I suspect most people will have made up their mind, and those who haven't will vote for the one they've heard of when they get in the polling booth, not the one that's top of the list. It's not like a local body election where you get five ticks, like 1 or 2 of the candidates and somewhat randomly select your other votes.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    speaking of parties having democratic processes for choosing party lists I assume the greens voted something like "it's getting late, this has taken ages and we're only up to number 30, all those in favour of throwing those last 31 names on the party list in alphabetical order ...."

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Understandable if true; even in the Greens' wildest dreams, they wouldn't hope to get 30 members in this year.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    Looking at the lists, it's interesting that National only has candidates ranked up to 65. I would've thought that there's a possibility that they'll end up being entitled to more seats than that (allowing for below-the-threshold votes presumably that'd require around 55% of votes). Does anyone know what happens in that case?

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to NBH,

    Does anyone know what happens in that case?

    Yes. Although I'm a little offended by the inclusion of the words "does anyone know" :-) Because even if I didn't, I'd totally find out. Plus I did.

    1, The other people on the list whose names haven't been published by the Electoral Commission, but who are on the official list will get into Parliament.

    2. In the event that even then there aren't enough, some seats in the House will go unfilled until the next election. This is sometimes called "underhang".

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I assume the greens voted something like “it’s getting late, this has taken ages and we’re only up to number 30, all those in favour of throwing those last 31 names on the party list in alphabetical order ….”

    ACT did the same thing. I think its a bad look. At the very least they should pull names out of a hat so it doesn't look all defeatist.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    Apologies for my apparent lack of faith, Graeme! :-)

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    Factchecking the fact checker ...

    "...the Electoral Act requires that parties have democratic processes for the selection of candidates. It doesn’t give an explicit consequence for a failure, but I anticipate the Electoral Commission could refuse or revoke a party’s registration."

    You'd be wrong. There's nothing in the Electoral Act that permits the Commission to do this ... as noted by the High Court in the various Roger Payne cases. So the only enforcement mechanism is a member bringing a case to court challenging the party's selection processes on the grounds they are unlawful.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report Reply

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