4% is what the review recommended at first, although it also noted that it wasn’t clear what would work best between 4% and 3%.
Its fuller recommendation was to run three elections at 4% and then to consider if it should be dropped further. If Judith Collins hadn’t binned the whole thing then we might have been considering a shift from 4% to 3% after the 2020 election.
Surely the recent election was evidence of how the NZ electorate favours competence over democratic purity.
I guess this comes down to perception, but in 2020 7.9% of votes were spent on parties that ultimately weren’t represented in Parliament. By my count, that’s the highest portion of lost votes ever under MMP, at least from those who chose to vote. It was very nearly much higher except for Rawiri Waititi scraping through for the Maori Party in Waiariki. Next highest was the first MMP election in 1996 which reached 7.54%. (Lowest was 1.3% lost in 2005, in which we had 8 different parties represented.) Also, unlike many other elections, there’s a strong argument that all of the lost votes in 2020 went to parties which the voters probably knew did not have a realistic chance of reaching Parliament, or probably should have realised that if they thought about it.
What really concerns me about MMP right now is how we’re losing parties, and that maybe helps to explain why there’s such a high portion of lost votes in 2020 because there are fewer and fewer realistic choices to vote at. Despite relentless trying, no party has ever reached Parliament under MMP unless it’s been there before, or unless a recognised MP with a supportive electorate has jumped ship from a big party (now much harder thanks to those recent changes), or unless a big party has unlocked the back door somehow through a deal… usually where they expect the small party to be kept on a leash for their own strategic reasons.
We’ve been letting existing parties get old and stale for some time, and several have recently dropped off. We certainly should have lost ACT several elections back if its zombie corpse hadn’t been kept alive by National. Meanwhile some of the newer parties trying to represent stuff that more modern minorities want to advocate for, whether it’s the likes of TOP or a polar opposite Conservative, are finding it next-to-impossible to get in. This is despite having substantial amounts of support even when restricted to voters who know that breaking the threshold, or an electorate, is very unlikely. It’s unclear how many potential parties or candidates haven’t even bothered wasting their time and money and effort because it’s demonstrably impossible to succeed.
I don’t know if considering recommendations from the 2012 MMP review would solve all the issues, but it’d certainly be a good start, especially as the Yes vote for keeping MMP was always meant to be conditional on running that review to make MMP work better. It’s had both public consultation and expert review, and was only swept under the rug because the Minister of the day had too much power to trash it for her government’s own short term political advantage. Meanwhile a separate government has pushed through populist but probably damaging changes to the Electoral Act with token consultation, and mostly because of a short term coalition deal that it wouldn't have needed if there had been more possible coalition partners to choose from.
Right through to which judge hears your case.
I've never understood how it can be considered so normal for people like judges and journalists to register with a political affiliation and then have it so casually referred to all the time as a standard part of talking about who they are.
Is it true what I think I heard once, that for judges in particular, picking a "side" and declaring it is the only practical way to progress their career?
The way in which the Supreme Court gets framed in such a completely partisan way, as if it's completely normal and acceptable, does my head in.
simply stacking the electoral commission with cronies
On this point, what would be involved in this compared with the USA, given NZ's Electoral Commission's executive is (effectively) appointed by Parliament, rather than by the SSC or a Minister, or any specific individual? It also has some fairly clearly stated objectives in legislation (4C), which presumably mean it could be challeneged in court if it strayed from facilitating participation, promoting understanding of the system and maintaining confidence in the system's administration.
That said, I'm still wary that our Electoral Act is treated as just another piece of legislation, which Parliament can mess with at any time like any other law. If we had a clearer constitutional framework in place then I'd expect it to be more difficult to change than that. (Probably not impossible, though. Having stuff that's virtually impossible to change seems to be part of the cause for all the crazy stuff that happens in the US.)
Total destruction is clearly what JLR was out for last week. It is the mentality of the Judith Collins faction of the National Party. Back in 2011, Slater passed on Collins’ message to Lusk, who replied: “That’s why I am keen to have her as leader, our side will learn to fight properly.” Slater added: “And fight hard”.
I think this is still true. I think that the attacks on Bridges, aided by Lusk and Slater, are about making Collins the leader of the National Party. She was uncharacteristically quiet during the last week of destabilisation of Bridges. Collins has repeatedly said she has had nothing to do with Ross’s behaviour. But she is very keen on becoming leader. If she becomes leader in the coming months, based in part on the crisis brewed in recent weeks, it will be a victory for dirty politics.
Possibly their voters are ideologically more likely to see such self-serving behaviour as unexceptionable, or even desirable. How bad does it need to get before it alienates National’s base? We might be about to find out.
I'm not getting my hopes up. Keep in mind that most voters have other lives, and are often barely even following what's happening right now. Just because someone hates the National party, or thinks that all politicians are corrupt and dishonest, doesn't mean they won't vote National if the alternative is something they're convinced is worse.
I think too many voters, on most sides, get distracted by the potential euphoria, or fear, of a change in government happening at all. Stuff like electoral finance laws and transparent government aren't really a direct enough thing in most people's day-to-day lives for policies on them to strongly influence elections. Except maybe 2008 when the recent changes were turned into a vile and polarising campaign issue, where potential voters were told that the changes were an unfair and corrupt mechanism for the government to suppress National's ability to get elected.
Not that things could never meaningfully change, but I can't imagine it happening in any normal scenario. Maybe if it's a policy enforced by a smaller party in a coalition deal, but without uncharacteristic multi-partisan support it'd risk going the way of 2008 again.
What frightens me is how much the Nats are completely for sale to the highest bidder.
Is it reasonable to say that the National Party's likely to be a more enviable target for this sort of crap right now, due to its voter base? My impression's been that Labour tends to be affected much more substantially by scandal and general disgust than National.
Maybe that's because National's traditional voting base is made from people who'll always vote, and (if that's what it takes) will hold their nose and vote for what they see as the least worst option no matter how much they might despise it. A classic running-interference line through so much of late 2014 was "but they all do it!" [so it doesn't make a difference].
Traditional Labour voters, as far as I can tell, seem more likely to find another party if they feel disillusioned by Labour, and they usually have more options, or otherwise just not bother to vote at all.
Schadenfreude, a great big tub of it to scoop out and enjoy while the press hunts down some wounded politicians.
Only at a surface level, for me. I'm more disgusted when I see this stuff than amused.
There are people who get into politics for really good reasons, trying to make positive differences. We'd have so much better-a-place to live in if politics didn't keep attracting the influence of demented sociopaths who see it as their mission to take advantage of and manipulate everyone else.
The National Party deserves to be deeply embarrassed, although whatever happens to its leader I doubt it'll make a difference to polling or voter turnout even medium term. I also hope JLR gets whatever help he needs before he implodes.
List MPs votes belong not to them, but to the party they represent. It always seemed logical to me that if a list MP resigns, or is sacked by their party, the next person on the list should take their seat.
I'd counter this by saying that Parties are made up of the people whom they collectively choose to represent them in Parliament. If one or more list MP's choose to leave the others, or if they're kicked out by the executive, why is it such a foregone conclusion that the party's executive is better at representing the party's voters than the list MPs who can't continue to work with it?
Finally the criticisms of the Greens for supporting it make sense
I sort of get why the Greens might have done this. Given its principles I'm saddened that it didn't, for example, support the Bill on a condition such as requiring that serious consideration of the MMP review's recommendations be revived.
Is there something that could reasonably be done to place stronger constitutional constraints on further manipulation of the Electoral Act? Or at least certain parts of it?
In the 90s we had a big discussion and voted to switch to MMP. In 2011 we voted to keep it, on condition of a review towards making it better. That review received lots of feedback and made recommendations which, at the very least, should have been a starting point for discussion.
Since then, Judith Collins threw out the review on superficial grounds, probably because it didn't suit whatever National's short term political goals were at the time. Now Labour, NZF and the Greens are combining in government to make a major change to the rules in a way that virtually all expert input seems to argue would make our electoral system function worse.. Meanwhile ACT (well, Seymour at least) has been waving around ideas for further butchering of the system, which might genuinely become part of a future coalition agreement similar to how NZF's paranoia has, and in ways that completely contradict the principles of the system we've now voted for twice.
Every party that's presently in Parliament has played a role in messing with the public process of engagement that we've been using to set the rules we use to elect them. If it's so easy for MPs to do that when it suits them, why do we even bother with all this combination of public and expert engagement.