Sunday, February 24, 2013

ZenTiger Getting less with more - NZ 4 year election cycles

The idea is circulating that politicians need 4 years in power (and opposition) to get more done. All for "our" benefit of course.

The rule in political negotiation is NEVER give away something of value without getting something in return.

Given that once the politicians have decided 4 year terms is what they want, the rest will be inevitable. So slow them down a little - start asking for something in return.

Here's two things to add to that list:

1. Voter veto on important legislation.
2. The ability to "vote out" a Minister, particularly a list MP.

Let's remind MPs they were put there to serve us and be accountable to us.  A four year term makes them less accountable. We should get something in return.

9 comment(s):

libertyscott said...

One idea is for the list MPs to have to stand in constituencies, and for their ranking to be based on votes received at constituencies.

To me it is neither here nor there, but it would avoid the Alamein Kopu phenomenon of putting the less competent high up a list for politically correct reasons, as if Maori voters want anyone as long as they are brown.

Seán said...

I'm in favour of 4 year cycles. One less year campaigning means one more governing. Well that sentence isn't very accurate but you know what I mean, better to have those election years further apart, because the focus is on campaigning and not making any tough decisions.

But the idea of having an extra few checks and balances in return is with merit. I think ZT's (1) is too vague and too wide, but the (2) is a good idea to develop upon. MMP has meant half our MPs are accountable to the party bosses and not the voters, so we should tighten up something there. A recall process for List MPs is going to be popular (need not even be a minister nor in government, just a List MP).

leftrightout said...

1. Voter veto on important legislation.

How, and by whom, would "important legislation" be defined?

Is this not just another attempt to impose the tyranny of the majority?

2. The ability to "vote out" a Minister, particularly a list MP.

Again, how would you propose this be done? And why just a minister, why not any MP?

Are you looking for something like the US's recall system?

The US seems to manage with a 4 year term, the UK with 5.

Matthew said...


"Is this not just another attempt to impose the tyranny of the majority?"

That is a fair point, if we were to concede that the General Election is not an example of the tyranny of the majority.

ZenTiger said...

Good to see some discussion.

To Sean and LRO on my first point: I can add more detail to my own ideas of course, and will in due course. Equally, I was throwing the forum open.

And for point 2 - I was not restricting voting MP's off the Island to just list MPs. My "in particular" merely meant that they, in particular should not worm out of this because they were never selected "by the people".

As for the tyranny of the majority comment, well, actually, that is the idea of democracy - rule by the people, for the people. What I am suggesting is that there become a counter-balance to an increase term so we are not subject to "rule of the elite, self-appointed, I'm an MP so I know better".

LRO, you mention USA and the UK with longer terms. Bother systems also have a second house, and the USA has a Presidential Veto amongst checks and balances. Our G-G is no match in comparison.

ZenTiger said...

"Both", not "Bother"

scrubone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scrubone said...

I think the idea is that the 4 year term is a benefit in itself - that politicians spend time governing rather than campaigning.

The sad fact is, we don't really trust our politicians to govern.

Myself, I don't consider that we have a democracy when we have laws that which large sectors of the population cannot keep, and severe punishments can be meted out with little to no proof required for breaching those laws.

But that's just me.

ZenTiger said...

Scrubone, I agree with your point that we often get very bad laws, and too many. The danger there is government can become selective in who they enforce the laws against.

So from my point of view, the less time governing can often be safer for citizens. The quiet period immediately after an election proves the country can run without having to rush through ill-considered laws.

Anyway, even if there is some benefit for the citizens in moving to a 4 year term, doesn't mean we need to value that as highly as the Politician might. Now is our chance to get additional powers.

Note also at this time there is a constitutional review. Now is also not the time to allow ourselves to be misdirected.

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