Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Electoral Referendum

Whilst naturally enough, most media attention has focused on this Saturday's General Election, there's another important event this week; the Electoral Referendum.

Alert readers will have noticed that Keeping Stock has been carrying an advertising banner from Vote for Change for some time now. We were approached with a commercial proposition, which we declined, on the basis that we don't blog for any commercial gain. Instead, we offered the value of the advertising to Vote for Change as a donation. If from that disclosure you have formed the impression that we won't be voting to retain MMP, you'd be dead right. We didn't vote for MMP in the 1993 referendum either, and these days, it's hard to find anyone who will admit that they did!




Vote for Change has sent us the graphic which appears above. The people there are leaning strongly towards Supplementary Member (SM) as being the option of choice. We're yet to decide whether that will be our preference as an alternative to MMP, even though John Key has endorsed it. And that's one of the reasons why we put up a poll on the electoral referendum on Sunday; to get an idea of what other people are thinking. At the time of typing this, 222 people have responded to the poll, and SM is a clear leader.

Our main objections to MMP are the size of the Parliament (120 MP's is too many, in our opinion), and the disproportionate amount of power accorded to the smaller parties; one or more of Act, United Future, Mana, or even NZ First should not, in our opinion, determine which of the major parties can govern. We also don't like the concept that on the three-yearly opportunity we have to exercise our vote, an MP rejected by his or her electorate can waltz back into Parliament via the list; prospective MP's should choose one or the other.

So we're keen to canvass opinion a bit further. What should it be; MMP or FPP? Is SM simply FPP in drag? Is Preferential Voting too complicated, or might it work? What about STV; sure; it delivered a Green mayor for Wellington, but does it deserve its bad rap just for that? Feel free to express your opinion, but please respect the freedom of others to hold an opinion which doesn't tally with yours.

The floor is yours...

8 comments:

jabba said...

I have never hidden the fact that I voted for MMP .. I didn't like the Nats and had gone off Labour or at least the behaviour of the 2 parties.
I clincher was the promise of a review. I was robbed of a review by politicians doing the review themselves.. I want MMP gone.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is the franchise, not the electoral system. Banning bludgers, unionists & state sector employees etc from voting would remove all the distortions in the NZ electoral system and ensure good government provided by alternation between the ACT and National parties.

Failing that, FPP gave us Ruth Richardson. MMP never will.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of PV. I believe that an MP should represent a local electorate, even in this day of electronic communications. I believe that we elect people to represent people, not ideologies. I believe that the concept of a party list is wrong, unless I personally can influence the order of each list - which is not practical.

With PV, at least half the electorate believes that the winner is an acceptable choice. Take Ohariu. two thirds of the electorate want a centre-right candidate. Fundamentally, either the UF or Nat candidate would be acceptable. The Lab candidate represents only one third of the electorate.

Recall the election that triggered the whole debate - the 1981 election where social credit got a large proportion of the vote but only 3 MPs. A PV system would have actually got more social credit MPs into parliment (although not in complete proportion to their national vote).

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

IV2 Why are you moaning about 120 MPs for four million people?

In Australia, if you add up all the MPs in state and federal lower and upper houses (which I can't be bothered doing) I'd suspect you'll find Aussie has many more MPs per capita than does NZ.

Same for the US.

macdoctor said...

I am mystified why PV is presented as a separate choice. To my mind PV can be used for electorate voting in any of the systems except STV -which is far too complex a system to contemplate for a nation that still does not understand the substantially simpler MMP.

I would be happy to use SM with a PV style vote for the electorates. It would be nice to see us elect politicians that most of us are happy with (or, at least, not unhappy with).

macdoctor said...

I am mystified why PV is presented as a separate choice. To my mind PV can be used for electorate voting in any of the systems except STV -which is far too complex a system to contemplate for a nation that still does not understand the substantially simpler MMP.

I would be happy to use SM with a PV style vote for the electorates. It would be nice to see us elect politicians that most of us are happy with (or, at least, not unhappy with).

Anonymous said...

I'd suspect you'll find Aussie has many more MPs per capita than does NZ.

Same for the US.


Why is that good in any way?

If we must have a popular election, let's just elect a PM, let him appoint 10 cabinet ministers, have say 7 year terms. that's it. No point in paying for an opposition, for the pointless ceremony of parliament, or 110 useless no-hopers who don't contribute anything to NZ.

Similarly, move the entire fucking parliament/government/ministries/departments etc to one tower block near Auckland airport - don't let the govt employ more people than will fit into the building. The whole "Wellington" problem solved in one go.

Ray said...

Ivoted for MMP the first time and will do so again
It is not perfect system and can be rorted to a certain extent but with tweaks is far better than anything else
What it does do is express the peoples wishes far better and allows a range of people to enter Parliament
The big down side that was always evident is the power it gives to the parties, which I think could be tempered by making the list rankings something ordinary members do by a proper primary vote
This could have the double postive action of lifting party numbers and funds
Maybe giving the tax payer a break