MMP: This Time It's Binding

172 Responses

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh no. Just Bill.

    No I meant the party. Very confusing having a party name the same as the potential MPs. We should ban Jim Anderton from doing that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I was being totally serious.

    Yeah, sorry. The phrase was supposed to contrast what followed with my previous comment, which kind of got confused when I split them into two posts (for the comedic timing required by the first.)

    No implication of unseriousness on your part was intended. :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'm fairly convinced that it's a bad idea to call for any change or tweaks to the system, because that will just open the way for Nats and Labour to move back to an unfair voting system designed to enable them to alternate power. Look at the UK, where the parties are pretty much identical and "democracy" is just a matter of tone and personality.

    However, if I was going to suggest a fairly minor change, I'd suggest removing vote splitting and having party votes allotted to the party of the chosen electorate candidate. That would reduce some of the perceived unfairness.

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

  • 3410,

    ps. Craig, I think it's only fair that I relinquish this, which I have not yet invoked.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    ps. Craig, I think it's only fair that I relinquish this, which I have not yet invoked.

    Nah... you get one free shot to make my head explode (figuratively, people) and it wouldn't be sporting not to let you have your fun.

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

  • George Darroch,

    Look at the UK, where the parties are pretty much identical and "democracy" is just a matter of tone and personality.

    In the UK they tried to change from FPP to STV in 1917. The House of Commons voted for it five times, and every time it was blocked by the House of Lords. Which tells you a lot about both STV and the House of Lords (and the necessity of changing both systems over there).

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Frankly I don't see how Bill would have held the 'balance of power' any more than every other MP

    Bugbear of mine too - you see there's this little rule that means you need to have more than half of Parliament to form a Government. Horribly unreasonable but the concept's been around a while...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Note that if the threshold goes to less than 2%, then the "coattails" effect disappears, because a party that gets 1.5 to 2% of the party vote gets 2 candidates in anyway.

    This is why DPF's charts do not have a 1% option (its identical to 0%).

    Assuming no change in voter behaviour, thresholds of 3% and 4% would have only affected 2 of the 5 MMP elections (1996 & 2008). Similarly, thresholds of 2%, 3% and 4% would have only differed from each other in 1 of the 5 elections (1999).

    However, I think that if the threshold was lowered, then voting for minority parties would become more attractive, as one's vote is less likely to be not counted.

    I think a threshold of 2% or 2.5% is about right. This avoids 1and 2 MP parties, so the smallest parties in parliament will have 3 members (excepting those 1 electorate MP parties).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    However, if I was going to suggest a fairly minor change, I'd suggest removing vote splitting and having party votes allotted to the party of the chosen electorate candidate. That would reduce some of the perceived unfairness.

    I would hate to see that change. One of the best features of the MMP system is that I can vote for the local candidate that I think will do the best job in the electorate and yet still vote for the party I prefer overall.

    What you are suggesting isn't much different from getting rid of geographic electorates in favour of a system of party votes with only list MPs.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If you support a party, but don't like the local candidate you would have a bunch of choices with single voting, including:
    - vote for an alternate candidate, encouraging the party to select better people or lose votes
    - join the party you support and lobby/vote for an alternative candidate (or indeed for them to introduce a primary system)

    Favouring individuals with geographical support super-serves their supporters at the expense of parties with broad based support. Jim Anderton, for instance would never have got himself elected with 15,320 votes spread around the whole nation.

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

  • George Darroch,

    The first question I always ask in the social sciences is why? Without this answer, the other answers are merely details. In this case, why are we having the referendum?

    The answer is that National, in their 1999 minority report to the review of MMP, argued that there should be a referendum on keeping MMP. Since that point, they have argued this strenuously. They have also argued that the review that was promised and conducted actually meant a referendum. This piece of misinformation, that "we were promised a referendum", has been promoted heavily by those who disliked the last Government, to the extent that a substantial number of New Zealanders believe it.

    We should ask what motives National would have for promoting a referendum that would possibly get rid of MMP.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    This avoids 1and 2 MP parties, so the smallest parties in parliament will have 3 members (excepting those 1 electorate MP parties).

    Unless of course the Bill and Ben gets over the reduced threshold. If that party was to get more than 2.8% of the vote it may contribute to a parliamentary underhang.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Unless of course the Bill and Ben gets over the reduced threshold. If that party was to get more than 2.8% of the vote it may contribute to a parliamentary underhang.

    If that happened they’d wheel in The Grinch.


    Not sure what portfolio; probably something to do with ACC.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    ... or find some more Flower Pot Men.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm fairly convinced that it's a bad idea to call for any change or tweaks to the system, because that will just open the way for Nats and Labour to move back to an unfair voting system designed to enable them to alternate power. Look at the UK, where the parties are pretty much identical and "democracy" is just a matter of tone and personality.

    That's a highly cynical view. In fact, it uses cynicism to advocate the status quo at the expense of potential improvements. I don't think that's very sensible. It seems to me that tweaks are a far, far safer way of moving policy in the right direction than the huge yanks provided by sweeping changes to the system.

    To that end I think the current MMP could have been an excellent stepping stone to a tweaked version. It gave us data from over a decade from which to decide whether the danger of small parties is really as scary as the anti-MMP lobby suggested. Far from being wild and radical, it's introduced quite a lot of conservatism into the system - the governments nearing the end of their term become powerless from the indecision caused by their narrowing majority. I like that, particularly because it's conservatism that comes from the people, rather than powerful lobbies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    We should ask what motives National would have for promoting a referendum that would possibly get rid of MMP.

    They could be as honest as the original reason for the first referendum that brought MMP in - because it was promised. Whether it was 'originally' promised is beside the point - National have been promising it for a while now and now they are delivering. This promise may be mostly to their base, but it is a promise of a referendum in which every voter will get to decide. Not the National base. They only form a minority, after all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    well that's reassuring, every voter gets to decide. What kind of national referenda are conducted where every voter does <i>not</i> get to decide?

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    If you support a party, but don't like the local candidate you would have a bunch of choices with single voting, including:
    - vote for an alternate candidate, encouraging the party to select better people or lose votes
    - join the party you support and lobby/vote for an alternative candidate (or indeed for them to introduce a primary system)

    So unless I want to get so involved as to join a party, I've really only got two options: choose the wrong person for the electorate or choose the wrong party for the country. The current system lets me choose the best option is both cases. Why do you want to change that?

    Your proposal seems to be designed to erode support for minor parties. Is that your goal?

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    We should ask what motives National would have for promoting a referendum that would possibly get rid of MMP.

    George: Didn't you just answer your own question? One of those not at all secret agendas that seem to be rife in New Zealand politics.

    Now perhaps you could share with the group what National's motives were in promoting the referendum that introduced MMP in the first place. Especially when neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition were keen on the idea, to put it mildly.

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

  • George Darroch,

    Now perhaps you could share with the group what National's motives were in promoting the referendum that introduced MMP in the first place. Especially when neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition were keen on the idea, to put it mildly.

    In my partisan recollection (although my dad was quite active in the Nats until 89), it was firstly that the electorate was thoroughly sick and tired of voting the bastards out, only to get the other bunch of bastards in, neither of whom had any notion of accountability because FPP ensured a two party stranglehold on the electorate. Mr Lange, as was his wont, promised a referendum for 1987, but his party really really did not like the idea. Bolger, for reasons unknown to me, promised one in 1990, and having broken a list of promises longer than his arm, decided to keep this one.

    That's my short version.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    OK, so in both cases the horrible secret agenda is that they were keeping campaign promises -- however ill-conceived you might consider them to be. (And as I said in a recent PAR piece, MMP isn't exactly keeping me awake at night. Didn't support it, but I've gotten over it and don't see any pressing need to overhaul the electoral system again.)

    Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't. :)

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

  • BenWilson,

    well that's reassuring, every voter gets to decide. What kind of national referenda are conducted where every voter does <i>not</i> get to decide?

    Hopefully none. Ergo, my point: Who cares what National's motives are?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Bill and Ben party holding the balance of power after the 2008 election

    Back to the keyboard after 24 hours away. Nah, urban myth. The National-Act-Maori-United agreements stitched up in November would still have had 65 seats out of 122, a clear majority. So mischief-making by the Short Man.

    assuming the lack of threshold didn't affect voting patterns

    Too big an assumption to make. In 2008, people who preferred Dunne or Anderton may have been put off giving them a party vote because they were polling so low. Yet, in the absence of a threshold, 7752 more people may have voted to given Anderton a second MP (or 8496 more for Dunne). And equally some of the Bill and Ben people might have voted to get both of them in, or not voted because they did not want protest to translate to seats.

    </rant>

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    @BenWilson - well, I don't think its recalcitrance, more just that I am perfectly happy with the level of communication email gives, and can't be bothered picking up a new system. Although now that my honour has been challenged I think I might become a boorish Google Wave advocate and start spamming my friends with requests for blips. That'd teach them and their "email all contacts" social networking ways!

    More generally - my parents and most of the family friends are stalwart National organisers/voters, who cut their political teeth back in the late 1960s. To a man (for the purposes of clarity assume this refers to women as well) they all are strongly anti MMP and have been for as long as I can remember. They will gladly vote against MMP when given the chance if their votes match their opinions. Now I do concede this is just anecdotal but I get the strong feeling it isn't an unusual opinion amongst the older Party members

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1021 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Unless of course the Bill and Ben gets over the reduced threshold. If that party was to get more than 2.8% of the vote it may contribute to a parliamentary underhang.

    If Bill and Ben get into parliament would that mean they'd stop doing TV. If so, they've got my vote.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

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