MMP: This Time It's Binding

172 Responses

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  • heather hapeta,

    lets keep MMP .... if it needs some tinkering so be it - but changing it .. PLEASE NO ... I have had enough of those old huge left right swings that first past the post created.

    MMP consensus is the closest thing we seem to have got to have a democracy . its not perfect but its way more perfect than what we had

    Wellington • Since Feb 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    But it is unfair, and removing the coat-tails mechanism would make our system fairer in one intuitive sense. It might make it less proportional, but proportionality is not the be all and end all of an electoral system.

    And in fact the coat-tails thing isn't just about representing minorities, it is also about geographic concentrations of support, so arguing one way or the other says little about one's nasty aristocraticness.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Nope -- if you think its "unfair", you do away with it entirely and learn to live with the prospect of Kyle Chapman and Brian The Bish having direct influence over your life or leave it alone. It seems to me that just tinkering with it is trying to have a bob each way and as my Nan nused to say the only place you can do that is at the races.

    Yeah, but you opposed civil unions too.

    I'll take any improvement that I can get. And all other things being equal, any reduction in the threshold is an improvement.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I've also got some bones to pick with the idea of a 'wasted' vote

    Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C... I could list every election before 1996. 25% of voters had no representation whatsoever, 80% had no say, and 10% had more influence over the election than the rest of us combined.

    Under FPP, every vote that is not in a marginal seat that year is a wasted vote. There is no other way to describe it.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    It might make it less proportional, but proportionality is not the be all and end all of an electoral system.

    Actually, it is. Proportionality - the result reflecting the votes cast - is the signifier of a democratic electoral system. Anyone who argues otherwise is simply trying to sell you something (and usually something unpleasant).

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Keir: its procedurally unfair. But its substantively fairer than the alternative of excluding everyone.

    YMOV, but I prefer substance over process.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    > There will always be restrictions on representation. The number of MPs in parliament always sets a minimum barrier, of about 0.8%. Anyone who gets below that won't make it under any system you set up.

    Indeed, and I explicitly acknowledge that.

    It's true so long as we retain the concept of MPs, which is not the only way things could be done. But I doubt any of the proposed options will not be representative democracy in one form or another.

    It seems to me that just tinkering with it is trying to have a bob each way and as my Nan nused to say the only place you can do that is at the races.

    Your Nan is totally wrong then. You can have a bob each way in just about anything. And I don't think tinkering with it is a bob each way anyway. It's just 'a less radical change' which could easily be more palatable to far more people.

    Serious question, Ben: What exactly do you mean by "marginalization of minorities"?

    Serious answer, I mean minorities not getting any effective say (in this case by exclusion from political power). They are 'pushed into the margins'. Their cause becomes 'marginal'.

    Now I don't have a problem with majority rule - as I see that is the very definition of democracy (but that's just the way I see it). But I do have a problem with suppression of groups from proportional power, because they are small. It's bad enough being small in the first place in terms of powerlessness, there's no need to institutionalize further removal of any power.

    You are missing the point talking about a wasted vote for electoral representatives - the wasted vote in MMP is for parties under the threshold with no electoral representative. It's not just about 'losing a ballot'. That's not a wasted vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Actually, it is.

    Democracy. It's quite a hard word to say, isn't it.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    @Graeme

    I just don't see it happening.

    Thanks for all that. I figured it was a prediction, albeit a highly educated one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But it is unfair, and removing the coat-tails mechanism would make our system fairer in one intuitive sense. It might make it less proportional, but proportionality is not the be all and end all of an electoral system.

    It is unfair. The question is "how do we make it fair?"

    You're six. Your Mum gives your sister an icecream for being helpful. You say "I was helpful too, Mum, can I have an ice-cream too? It's not fair if Keira gets one and I don't."

    Your Mum says "that's right, you were very helpful today as well, and I think I should be fair." To create fairness your Mum has two options: giving you an ice-cream too, or taking the ice-cream away from your sister. Which is better?

    The solution to the problem of 95,000* NZF voters not getting any representation in Parliament is not to tell the 85,000* ACT voters that they shouldn't be represented either.

    Removing the coattails mechanism does not make the system "fairer". It's just that instead of being unfair to 95,000 voters, we'd have a system that was unfair to 180,000 voters.

    *could people stop saying NZF got twice the support of ACT but no seats?

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

  • Martin Lindberg,

    "Democracy is not for the people." - Judge Dredd

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Removing the coattails mechanism does not make the system "fairer". It's just that instead of being unfair to 95,000 voters, we'd have a system that was unfair to 180,000 voters.

    And which would suit the big parties very well indeed. Which is why e.g. Labour is advocating such changes.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    @I/S

    MMP has given us stable government. And lowering the threshold and letting our democracy expand to its full potential won't change that.

    I agree about lowering thresholds, btw, in case it wasn't clear. Personally I'd like to see them lowered well beyond 0.8%, but the means to that end are far too radical to expect them anytime soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Proportionality - the result reflecting the votes cast - is the signifier of a democratic electoral system.

    I disagree. I'd go with popular acceptance of the result. Proportionality is good, but you can have something properly-called a liberal democracy without it.

    I think the US Presidential election was basically democratic despite the fact John McCain doesn't get to be President for 45.7% of the term.

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

  • Keir Leslie,

    Your Mum says "that's right, you were very helpful today as well, and I think I should be fair." To create fairness your Mum has two options: giving you an ice-cream too, or taking the ice-cream away from your sister. Which is better?

    Obviously the second; but both are equally fair.

    If we removed the coat-tails, Act would have Hide, and no list MPs, which would be the same number of list MPs as NZ First. It is unfair that the geographic distribution of voters can have a spooky-action-at-a-distance effect on list votes, and this should be fixed. Now, there are two ways to fix this, one remove the coat-tails mechanism, or two remove the threshold. I think both would be preferable in terms of fairness to the current situation, and I value fairness here over proportionality.

    (And the analogy is dodgy, because ice cream for one person is an unalloyed good; Act getting MPs when NZ First is denied are not exactly.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I think the US Presidential election was basically democratic despite the fact John McCain doesn't get to be President for 45.7% of the term.

    There can only be one president. A parliament is not similarly constrained.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Russ, how did you do that? The post for this thread is not visible on publicaddress.net/hardnews, but only from the link within your 2.21pm post. Neat

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Family Fist's Bob McCoskrie on the referendum:

    “The question ‘do voters want to retain MMP’ is confusing because a voter wanting change in the Electoral system will have to vote NO,” says Bob McCoskrie. “It's a pretty weird referendum when yes means no and no means yes.”

    Good lord. I actually had to check twice to make sure that wasn't one of Lyndon's clever works of satire.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russ, how did you do that? The post for this thread is not visible on publicaddress.net/hardnews, but only from the link within your 2.21pm post. Neat

    I can spawn posts from System, but generally only as discussions, rather than actual blog posts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Act getting MPs when NZ First is denied are not exactly [an unalloyed good]

    It's not ACT that's getting MPs. It's ACT voters who are getting MPs.

    It is unfair that the geographic distribution of voters can have a spooky-action-at-a-distance effect on list votes, and this should be fixed.

    As it happens, I agree.

    I didn't used to: the argument that it's unfair that ACT voters got the MPs they actually voted for never swayed me (I think it's obviously wrong - it is fair that the 85,000 ACT voters get 4-5 MPs) but then someone put that argument in a different way: that it's a massively unfair advantage that voters in Epsom (or wherever) get - that their votes are worth a lot more than others' votes, and that's wrong in a democracy - and I didn't have a good answer.

    I oppose the threshold. I support a lower threshold (preferably none), but the coat-tails rule means that some voters have massive power that cannot be justified in a "one person, one vote, all votes of equal value" democracy.

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

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    There can only be one president. A parliament is not similarly constrained.

    And there can only be one MP for Wellington Central.

    If proportionality is the be-all-and-end-all of democracy, then why isn't any system that requires a winner-takes-all result - like an electorate seat, or a presidency - automatically undemocratic?

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

  • Phil Lyth,

    Seeing as people are talking about threshold changes, you may want to look at some numbers DPF ran last month, on the effect of thresholds from 4% to 0% would have had on MMP elections from 1996 - 2008.

    If his numbers are accurate (he may be just, y'know, fomenting mischief) then that may inform this debate.

    And I agree that people will take any change into account when voting. Those souls who vote NZF would not have to worry about 'will he get 5% or should I vote for another party'. And a protest element might disappear if some voters decided that a protest is one thing, an actual MP is another.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    And a protest element might disappear if some voters decided that a protest is one thing, an actual MP is another.

    You mean we can't have Bill MP :-(

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

  • George Darroch,

    And there can only be one MP for Wellington Central.

    Which is why we have a mixed member proportional system. Our system recognises a strong desire for local representation, but balances this out with proportionality at a national level. The changes proposed threaten to strip us of the latter arrangement.

    then why isn't any system that requires a winner-takes-all result - like an electorate seat, or a presidency - automatically undemocratic?

    Like most things, democracy is a continuum. Various arrangements are more and less democratic, but nothing will be absolutely so.

    For single or limited (~ <5 member) constituencies, I would want STV which requires a plurality of preferences. This would be more democratic. Ireland, for example, elects its president in this way. Incidentally, their president is similar to the one Keith Locke is proposing in his Head of State Referenda Bill.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • James Caygill,

    I/S:

    "Removing the coattails mechanism does not make the system "fairer". It's just that instead of being unfair to 95,000 voters, we'd have a system that was unfair to 180,000 voters."

    And which would suit the big parties very well indeed. Which is why e.g. Labour is advocating such changes.

    That's not what I or others within Labour are promoting. We're promoting both removing the coattails mechanism (yes that's procedurally fairer but substantively less fair) and lowering the threshold, which is substantively fairer.

    Doing one but not the other might well 'suit' the big parties, but it's not what Labour is advocating.

    I get a little sick of the 'that's why 'x' is doing 'y' arguments when they're not based on any evidence, just drawing a circle around things and saying 'these things must be related'.

    Personal opinion here: I don't see a good enough argument for no threshold, although I understand I/S's and others' arguments in favor. I believe our representative democracy should set a base level of aggregated support for representation in the parliament. I fully accept that others like I/S disagree.

    I think that a threshold (say 4%) sets a minimum bar that is more likely to mean a substantial movement is required to get elected rather than single issue irritants, which I'm happy to put my hand up and say, should not in and of themselves justify representation in parliament.

    But that said, I'm not stupid enough to suggest that this position is more fair than I/S's I accept it is less 'fair' but overall a better outcome for the polity.

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

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