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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Greg Stephens on MMP

A previous Greg Stephens letter to the Editor.

Looks like Greg will defend anything that will keep his precious Labour Party in power. So many other letters to the editor over previous days are totally scornful of the bizzaire government we have, yet Greg thinks it represents the people.

So, people. Are you all happy with MMP? Should we have a referendum to let the people decide whether to keep MMP or not? Is Greg correct, is the system we have "reprsentative democracy"?

Personally, I think it sucks. I would much rather have a preferrential voting system, like what was tried for the council elections. That way, my vote would never be "wasted" - I could choose the direction I wanted it to take rather than let politicians decide the makeup of government.

Posted by Lucia Maria | 10/27/2005 01:40:00 PM


Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I would keep MMP but I would increae the number of electorate seats required to qualify for list candidates from one to two and leave the list threshold at 5.0%. That woould have fixed Winston and Jamdertin. Would have made things difficult for Rodney Hide as well but Act would have campaigned differently and would have got home with two electorates, I think.

Oh by the way, is this not another 'unatributed'letter from the same mob who have been winging about Journos not declaring their parents' political alliegances?

10/27/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger JamesP said...

So apparently any dissatisfaction with MMP can be waved away with the excuse that is was "a result of voting, not the system". But when under FPP the vote distribution allowed a party to win more electorates with fewer overall votes that was a fault of the system. What a load of self contradictory drivel. All voting systems have flaws that will be exposed by different vote distributions.

My question is would MMP still have been accepted with its slim majority if we had known that half of the time the outcome of the election would be determined by the <10% who vote NZFirst and not the >75% who vote for one of the two major parties?

I voted for MMP but given another chance I think I would vote differently.

10/27/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Spirit Of 76 said...

Who is Greg Stephens? Sounds like he's Jordan Carter's Mini-me.

10/27/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Jordan Carter's Mini-me .... probably an accurate description, Spirt of 76.

Greg is a member of the Labour Party, was (and maybe still is) a writer for the student newspaper Salient (or is it magazine?), and a blogger who still has not renounced communism.

10/27/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

sorry, that was ex-blogger. It all got too much for him.

10/27/2005 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

We were supposed to have a referendum after two MMP elections to finally decide between it and First Past the Post.

The referendum has never been held because apparently we don't want it.

10/27/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Of course the right would prefer to return to the days of National govts elected on a minority of the vote, I don't blame you. But the rest of us don't mind seeing the make-up of Parliament reflect what people actually voted for, and govts that aren't a 3-year elected dictatorship.

10/27/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kimble said...

Yeah, because United Future and NZ First (and the Greens before them) werent elected on a minority of the vote, were they?

More people voted for the minority National governments than voted for NZ First and United Future (and the Greens) combined. And yet we still have these parties making up our Government.

Am I missing something or would a return to FPP end up being more representative?

10/27/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

PM, you hinted that the right would prefer FPP. Yet Lucyna suggested STV rules or similar, and Adolf suggested changing MMP criteria.

I think any voting system will have flaws when certain combinations are hit (as JamesP said). The problem with FPP was it tends to support a two party system, and they tend to stay centrist. The fringe parties never get a significant look in, unless, like MMP, the numbers come up even.

MMP also distorts things. Perhaps the distortion started when we ignored the "one man, one vote" principle?

Allowing a transferable vote in a revised MMP system may yield something more suited to NZ?

10/27/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Kimble, United Future and NZF got a few percent of the vote and got a few percent of the seats in Parliament as a result - if they were able to cut deals to get included in the govt then good on 'em, but their influence on that govt is only going to be the influence that people with a few percent of the vote can expect to get. What I'd hate to see is a return to FPP, where the guys who got all of 40% of the vote were absolute rulers for 3 years, and would add insult to injury by talking about "landslides" and "mandates" as though they'd actually scored a majority of the vote (and that applies to Labour as much as National).

10/27/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I'd prefer if we elected the people who run the Government directly, including the civilians who would run various departments such as the Police. Make them personally accountable for their failures and able to personally receive the praise for their successes. No more of these political party functionaries raised to ridiculous levels of power.

Parliament should be for passing laws.

10/27/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

The trouble with any discussion on MMP v FPP is that all other voting systems appear to be disregarded by most, a good example being STV which is much more representative. I happen to think that MMP is more representative than FPP, but would make changes to list MP criteria - such as if you lost your seat you also lose your list place, and List MPs would have to contest seats, and changes to the makeup of Government would require a vote in Parliament rather than just a change of the cabinet manual.

10/27/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger JamesP said...

The real power the minor parties have is not in the specific policy concessions that they win but setting the tenor of the new government by deciding which major party they will support.

10/28/2005 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

Bear in mind that any move back to FPP would mean that all the minor parties would effectively disappear overnight - because there is an incentive for those parties/interest groups that lose the seat to co-operate so that their interests are represented next time. I don't like FPP, I prefer MMP far and away above it, even if some of our current parties are basically split-offs of the two bigs. As those who grew up under the old National/Labour dichotomy die off/become less numerous in the voting population, new third parties will probably arise.

10/28/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kimble said...

So a few percent of the vote is apparantly enough to be in charge of Foreign Affairs. That seems fair. Hey if the Greens get 10 percent next time what do they get? Finance? Education?

When small parties hold the balance of power their influence is always going to be more than their proportion of the vote. Political power doesnt come from votes in parliament, it comes from setting the agenda for the votes in parliament.

When a small party gets a concession on a major policy, what you have is a concession to less than 10 percent of the population by 90 percent of population. This isnt how democracy should work. And it is certainly not how proportional representation should work.

10/28/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

So because a policy concession that used to happen on the inside of a party has now been externalised, that means that there is something wrong with the political system?

Consider also that while the policy concession may have been made to a party with a less significant percentage of the vote than the larger party, that does not mean that support for it is restricted to that certain percentage. As well as having different interests, voters can have different priorities for their interests. You may be for a certain Green policy (for instance), but you disagree with their social policies and so you vote for someone else who represents those interests you prioritise as greater. In my case, I vote National because while I agree with ACT's economic policies, I dislike some of its social policies. If I urged greater priority to my economic policy interests, I could have voted ACT. But that does not mean that I would oppose a policy concession by National to ACT (say) that would see the tax rate lowered to 15% flat.

10/28/2005 02:40:00 PM  

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