Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lucia Let's keep MMP

Now that the Rugby World Cup is over (and we are rulers of the world!) it's time to think about the election. Very soon, New Zealand will be voting for a new Government, which will most likely be a National Government, because when it comes down to it, we are team players. Right now it's still National's turn, and it will cease to be National's turn only when National annoy everyone too much and we've forgotten just how bad Labour was the last time we let them be our Government.

Along side voting for our Government, we will be asked whether we want to keep MMP or not. Personally, I see no reason to dump it. Going back to First Past the Post will mean that NZ will never get out of the National/Labour with Maori seats tacked on cycle. Never. No alternative party will ever gain enough traction in order to seriously challenge the status quo.

I'm not keen on STV, either. STV gave Kapiti our mayor and the rest of the councillors, who are hell bent on introducing water meters despite huge opposition from the ratepayers. STV means that you are tempted to vote for people that are completely unknown to you in some sort of sub-conscious urge to complete the voting form. Every person does not need a number, yet the urge to give them one is irresistible. Hence unpredictable results.

No, MMP works. Over the long term it may allow an alternative political party to emerge from the background. And for that reason, I'm voting to keep it.

10 comment(s):

Andrei said...

I disagree and here's why.

To become an MP under MMP you have to convince the Party List committee not the voter of your merits.

Thus we get a concentration of professional politicians made up of urban liberals who are "safe" and wont rock the boat by bringing up "controversial" issues or campaigning on them. If an MP does bring up something the Liberal elite disapprove next election they are down the list or off it all together.

Two examples here - Brian Connell pushed out of National and Damien O'Connor being pushed out of Labour.

On the other hand look at this post on Fr Z's blog about a Catholic Democrat hopeful and what he is agenda is. How this will play out will depend entirely on the voters in his district and if he wins the Democrat Party hierarchy will just have to suck on it.

This is why I want to ditch MMP.

Lucia Maria said...


What would you replace it with?

Andrei said...

FPP - with candidate selection left entirely up to people who live in the electorate.

Put more power in the hands of the people not the party hierarchy.

Lucia Maria said...

You have a point about the list MPs, Andrei. Though the problem with FPP is that it keeps us in a National/Labour + Maori seats paradigm. So even if you vote in your local guy whom you think you can trust, the Party still has control over him to a large extent.

Hilaire Belloc wrote a book about the Party system over a 100 years ago, and his opinion was that it was the parties themselves that caused the problems with representation - and that was in a FPP system.

Andrei said...

his opinion was that it was the parties themselves that caused the problems with representation

He was right but the problems with the party system are accentuated with MMP not ameliorated.

Under FPP we did occasionally get third party MPs and new parties did emerge. Labour was one and National began as an amalgamation of parties.

WE need independently minded MPs who represent their electorates not the big city elites

John Whyte said...

Which is why I think STV should be introduced. It gives you some ability to influence a Party's choices without joining a political party.
At the moment it is impossible to win a seat with a new political party.

Each party stands one MP in each seat, and draws up their own party list. In 'safe' seats you often find career politicians who just waive the party flag.

In STV you can list 'space filler' candidates below real candidates. This is imporant because very few seats will be 'one party' dominated (all 4 seats going to national). This means in your 4 seat electorate you can select the 3 sensible national candidates, the other sensible candidates and leave the rest black. You don't have to join a party to attempt to get rid of their useless space fillers.

Also because you are voting for between 3-7 MPs there is a stronger chance of strong independent and new party candidates achieveing a seat.
1) It is impossible to waste your vote so you do not have the risk (say with ACT this election, or NZF last election) that your vote will be wasted. This enables you to truely vote in your prefered option.
2) New candidates do not have to persuide someone they are the best, coming second or third will be sufficient.

Muerk said...

Proportional representation is much fairer than FPP. I think the policies of the party is of more importance than the individual MPs. LM is absolutely right, if we get back FPP then it's back to the same old Labour/National system and other voices just don't get heard.

Andrei said...

Proportional representation is much fairer than FPP.

Do you believe that Muerk - choosing which party to support has about as much relevance as choosing a which brand of toothpaste you use.

What is my vote worth when I go into the polling booth and regardless of which boxes I tick both the Labour and National candidate in my electorate will be in Parliament.

And how many New Zealanders actually support Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill and given the absolute majority opposition from the electorate how come it has not been repealed? And how can you punish those MPs who have steadfastly ignored the will of the people over this?

MMP is just a way for professional politicians to not be held accountable to their electorates and also why there is diddly difference between National and Labour.

It aint "fairer" at all and Parliament aint more diverse as a result, it is filled up with big city urban professionals.

Anonymous said...

MMP gives far too much power to parties and far less to individuals.

It also makes electorates too big.

Given your next post about smacking, you may want to reconsider your view on MMP - that's the system which enabled the bill to be promoted and passed.

I don't think FPP would win in the 2nd referendum against MMP. I'm voting for SM which would have a better chance.

Lucia Maria said...


Yes, MMP was the system that promoted and passed the bill - a bill that supported by both Labour and National. A bill that if we still had FPP, we would still have had imposed on us, because there had already in the years prior to Sue Bradford promoting the idea, a number of attempts by Labour MPs to do the same thing. Only the polls were against them.

My other post on the Party System makes it quite clear that in something like FPP, there are massive problems with parties promoting and passing bills that go against the will of the people and that oppositions make no attempt to repeal such bills - even when they can, even when they have the support of the population to do so.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

~ Marcellus to Horatio in Hamlet

Just replace "Denmark" with "New Zealand".

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