Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Referendum Fact Check #7: Supplementary Member?

7 Responses

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    If only all my fact-checks could involve things I could read and not things I have to transcribe!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • gavin long,

    I think you are right that Campbell painted a somewhat incorrect picture of what the Royal Commission said. However, in your last fact-check you were also guilty of (to an extent) misrepresenting the difference between the Royal Commission recommendations of MMP and what MMP looked like when it was implemented. I thought you made the minor differences seem huge and either dismissed or didn't discuss the huge number of similarities between the MMP we have today and what is in the Royal Commission report.

    Also, in your last fack check you said it was "very very unlikely" that under PV or STV people would have to rank all the candidates for their votes to be valid. Where do you get that from? Schedule 2 of the Electoral Referendum Act (while not being 100% clear) seems to point in the opposite direction - that you will have to number all candidates.

    Having made those two critiques I would also say - keep up the good work! You are doing a great service to the referendum debate by making these fact checks.

    Since Jun 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Surely saying it's an insufficient step, fails to solve the problem at hand, and is merely palliative toward proportionality is about as disdainful of a dismissal as you'd ever see from a royal commission?

    They didn't reject it out of hand as a fundamentally flawed system like cumulative or points voting, but that's because it basically does what it says on the box: FPP with token representation of smaller parties.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to gavin long,

    However, in your last fact-check you were also guilty of (to an extent) misrepresenting the difference between the Royal Commission recommendations of MMP and what MMP looked like when it was implemented. I thought you made the minor differences seem huge and either dismissed or didn't discuss the huge number of similarities between the MMP we have today and what is in the Royal Commission report.

    The MMP we have today is MMP. That's by far its most important feature, and however you make all the other details look (unless you go to extremes like only having 15 list seats, or having a 12% threshold) it's going to look pretty similar to what the Royal Commission recommended. We did vary a lot of the important details (threshold, ratio of list and electorate seats, number of South Island seats), but didn't do so drastically (5% instead of 4%, 55 list instead of 60, 16 SI seats instead of 15) so even though Parliament actually tinkered with quite a lot, and rejected a lot of specifics, it still turned out to be MMP.

    Also, in your last fack check you said it was "very very unlikely" that under PV or STV people would have to rank all the candidates for their votes to be valid. Where do you get that from?

    A number of factors make me that confident about this:

    1. It has been the practice in New Zealand for a substantial length of time that our electoral laws do whatever they can to ensure that people's votes count. If the voter's intention is clear their vote counts as far as possible. e.g. if you leave blank or void the party vote your electorate vote still counts; if you accidentally cast a special declaration vote for the wrong electorate, and are enrolled in another, then your party vote still counts etc.
    2. While Australia requires exhaustive voting, it does so in a country with compulsory voting, which we don't have, and won't adopt.
    3. We already have STV in New Zealand, for district health boards, and some councils. These do not require exhaustive voting.
    4. The Electoral Commission ad for STV (below) includes the following: "to vote, you choose your most preferred candidate, and, if you want, your second, third, and fourth choice, from any party as well as independents, as many as you like."

    I am prepared to take a bet, at exceedingly poor odds, that if the next Parliament drafts an Electoral (Single Transferable Vote) Act, or an Electoral (Preferential Voting) Act for a run-off referendum, that it will not require exhaustive voting.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Why didn't we get preferential voting for the preferential side of this?

    You know

    FPP 4
    PV 2
    SM 3
    STV 1

    And then a Condorcet count of it, or at least PV? Why a plurality vote to ask if we want a preferential system? As you said, we've already got STV in play regionally.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    1. It has been the practice in New Zealand for a substantial length of time that our electoral laws do whatever they can to ensure that people's votes count. If the voter's intention is clear their vote counts as far as possible. e.g. if you leave blank or void the party vote your electorate vote still counts; if you accidentally cast a special declaration vote for the wrong electorate, and are enrolled in another, then your party vote still counts etc.

    Can I just double check that this means that if someone uses something other than a tick to indicate a preference that their vote is still valid? I really like the generosity of spirit behind this premise, especially when compared with the tactics employed in the US, and doubtless elsewhere.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to JLM,

    Can I just double check that this means that if someone uses something other than a tick to indicate a preference that their vote is still valid?

    A vote is valid and will count if, in the opinion of the returning officer, the voter's intention is clearly indicated.

    Tick. Cross. A single number "1". The name of every candidate but one crossed off. All of these should be fine. But don't be a dick about it, working people count these things.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

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