Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: MMP or not MMP

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  • steve black,

    Parliament could ultimately tell them to stuff off, but the sight of self-interested politicians messing with the independent recommendations of an expert body ... might get people riled in a way that might not happen if the jack-up occurred inside the machinery of Government.

    I'd like to think so, but I live in an evolving super city. I'm not convinced that riled undoes fiddling with independent recommendations of an expert body. ;-)

    But more seriously, I'm wondering if you can amplify your comments about the two definitions of what is covered ("an advertisement in any medium" vs "means any form of words or graphics, or both") so I can understand it. Is one broader than the other? Easier to interpret than the other? Is something excluded from one but not the other? Does one automatically adapt to novel ways of communicating which the other one doesn't? Where does music (or just sound -- say a recorded voice message) come in? Thanks.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 116 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    ("an advertisement in any medium" vs "means any form of words or graphics, or both") so I can understand it. Is one broader than the other? Easier to interpret than the other?

    Both have the advantage over the old (and, technically, the current) law in being adaptive and medium neutral, but while...

    Any form of words or graphics is very easy to understand (unless you're the leader of the Progressive Party), it is far too broad.

    An advertisement in any medium should capture everything you want it to (we're talking about advertising) while avoiding capturing things like email newsletters and press releases.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I'd like to think so, but I live in an evolving super city. I'm not convinced that riled undoes fiddling with independent recommendations of an expert body. ;-)

    Let's not forget that the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance had some really really stupid suggestions: like telling people who live in the CBD that they shouldn't get to vote in super city elections at all.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Let's not forget that the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance had some really really stupid suggestions: like telling people who live in the CBD that they shouldn't get to vote in super city elections at all.

    Or at-large elections. These people really had no idea about democracy.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't see why we need a referendum. It hasn't come from public pressure, but from a wish in the National Party (and, I suspect, from some in Labour) to rule absolutely.

    If the current system were in the 'middle' of a spectrum of choices, rather than at the extreme edge, I'd disagree. But "More proportional, less inclined to 2 party" options aren't in there. Hence my question about reforming MMP in the reverse direction of FPP being an option. Instead, we've got the same choices we had last time.

    But ultimately I don't think a referendum is a bad thing. If it brings MMP back in, then that pretty much puts to bed the opposition, and does rather leave egg on their faces too. Which, I think, is why the two main parties are careful not to take a position. My gut feeling is that opposition to the idea of MMP is not really very high at all. At least 30% of people, who don't vote either National or Labour, are clearly going to be in favor. Which only means one third of each of the National and Labour voters have to like it, for it to win. So it doesn't actually matter if the majority of voters for those parties don't like it. And I'm not sure they're so opposed to it either, it has, after all put their parties in over and over again for 15 years.

    The last time, a massive advertising campaign managed to scare the referendum into being a close call. That won't happen this time - MMP is "the devil we know" now. It's more likely that a scare campaign against the alternatives (which are all basically aligned with creating a 2 party system) would be effective, trotting out images of Muldoon and Roger Douglas to scare people into realizing exactly what excluding that moderating 30% of voters actually means.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    But more broadly, I understand that Shirtcliffe is now arguing in public meetings for PV or SM, because he thinks they can be sold to the public as "not as bad as FPP" while still being undemocratic enough for his tastes.

    That's correct. I heard him talk last week with Rodney Hide in Auckland. He is promoting PV as he sees that FPP will not make it against MMP. Actually he says anything is better than MMP. He seemed obsessed with getting rid of MMP at all cost.

    Bets moment was this one.

    Rodney Hide: "I believe that FPP is far superior to the other systems."
    Moments later Peter Shirtcliffe says: "FPP is yesterdays system, I support PV, the Aussie system."

    Priceless!

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    @ BenWilson

    I agree, the referendum will at least put some final legitimacy to MMP if it wins the first round. And I am actually pretty sure that it will, the arguments by Peter Shirtcliffe are pretty weak so far and not taking hold that easily.

    Valid criticism of the current MMP process can be addressed by reviewing and tweaking the system.

    I am not too sure about all the minor parties. Rodney Hide seems to think FPP is the greatest thing ever, even though it would reduce his party to 1 MP and thereby confine it to obscurity. Actually he probably would loose his seat under that scenario as well, because National would truly contest it.

    So yes, small parties should have an interest in MMP, but ACt (or at least some parts it ) don't seem to see it that way. Oddly enough.

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    small parties should have an interest in MMP

    Except the Māori Party. First-past-the-post could be really good for them.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    Except the Māori Party. First-past-the-post could be really good for them.

    As long as there are Maori seats they shouldn't care much, as these are elected under FPP (the electorate seats under MMP that is)

    In fact, they could profit under MMP slightly due to overhang as long as overhang seats are not corrected by some addition seats.

    The only "danger" for Maori party under MMP is that the Maori seats could be abolished.

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    In fact, they could profit under MMP slightly due to overhang as long as overhang seats are not corrected by some addition seats.

    Māori seats currently make up 10% of the constituency seats, but less than 6% of Parliament as a whole. With a 120 seat first-past-the-post Parliament, Māori seats would make up 10% of Parliament as a whole - that's at least 12 Māori seats, and we'd be close to getting a 13th. Overhang isn't anywhere near this useful to the Māori Party.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So yes, small parties should have an interest in MMP, but ACt (or at least some parts it ) don't seem to see it that way. Oddly enough.

    You're onto something there. I wonder if ACT's love of FPP stems entirely from the fact that it was the system by which Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble managed to sell off billions of dollars worth of state assets? Perhaps they see inherently that the power of their ideological interests has a freer run in a system geared towards huge power shifts and the exclusion of minorities, and that the current system gives them the piss-all power that the population generally wants them to have. This despite being able to bring about the greatest reform in our local government since God knows when, without one single referendum.

    Except the Māori Party. First-past-the-post could be really good for them.

    Yeah, I never know what to make of them. They could be natural king makers every time. Or the Maori seats could disappear back to Labour and the Maori Party be forgotten. The sell for MMP on them would probably be that usually the majority under FPP is more than 7 seats, so most of the time they could be safely excluded from power by both major parties. There is also the danger to them of another Maori party, of their own party splintering, possibly along tribal lines, with Labour splitting their vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    Māori seats currently make up 10% of the constituency seats, but less than 6% of Parliament as a whole. With a 120 seat first-past-the-post Parliament, Māori seats would make up 10% of Parliament as a whole - that's at least 12 Māori seats, and we'd be close to getting a 13th. Overhang isn't anywhere near this useful to the Māori Party.

    Good point, I didn't take into account that the number of Maori seats would rise with FPP..

    I was trying to point out that the Maori party has a greater influence that their proportional share of votes under MMP.

    But under the above scenario it would be even more so. If they win more than the 7 seats today that is.

    Interesting. I presume that would be the case with PV as well

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    BTW, the electorate seat under MMP is determined by FPP.

    Would it make any sense to change this to PV?

    Other than the fact that it would make voting even more complicated, it would make the results in the electorates more clearer.

    It would also encourage independents and smaller parties to stand for electorates, especially if dual candidacy is removed in a review of MMP

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Interesting. I presume that would be the case with PV as well.

    Yes. And STV too. If the number of electorates rises, the number of Māori electorates will rise. First-past-the-post, STV, and Preferential Vote are all 100% electorate-based.

    Even Supplementary Member (the other system we'll get to choose from that has list seats) could benefit the Māori Party:
    1. The ratio of electorate seats to list seats would probably change.
    2. Māori Party party votes wouldn't be "wasted" and they could well earn a list seat.

    Of course, this is all hypothetical. The Māori Party probably benefits from the ability of voters to split their vote. If voters in Māori electorates are denied the option of voting for both the Labour Party (list) and the Māori Party (electorate), who's to say that it will be their electorate vote that stays the same?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Other than the fact that it would make voting even more complicated, it would make the results in the electorates more clearer.

    Well, the results are pretty clear now. They just may not fully reflect the whole electorate's preference. And I do suspect that the complexity it adds probably isn't worth it under MMP (especially if we get rid of the electorate seat threshold). It's the party vote that determines the make-up of Parliament - preferential voting in electorates wouldn't change the overall result.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    A couple of things;

    random randomizing? Is it to make some kind of a statement as to what a lottery it is, holding a vote for change at a general election Ted?

    Ted: Yes Dougal, we don't want the poor people getting confused by the order of all those acronyms.

    3. You may vote in Part A and Part B or in Part A only if you wish.

    If many vote change in part A and no one votes in Part B.....? Obviously unlikely but....it would seem logical that if a vote for change were cast then a change to what exactly, should be required.

    Father Jack: Change!

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    A vote for anything but MMP seems too much of a risk given the uncertainty you've outlined regarding possible outcomes, if change is voted for.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    A vote for anything but MMP seems too much of a risk given the uncertainty you've outlined regarding possible outcomes, if change is voted for.

    That's why it's cool that you can both vote for MMP in the first question, and say what you'd prefer MMP went up against if you lose on the first.

    There is no downside to voting in both questions.

    Secondly, by the time we vote, we know who'll be doing the first draft of the alternative system, so the risk of uncertainty should be lessened - if it's the Electoral Commission, the system should be a fair and reasonable form of whatever system it is.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    if it's the Electoral Commission, the system should be a fair and reasonable form of whatever system it is.

    But parliament will screw it up afterwards right?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But parliament will screw it up afterwards right?

    I'm confident that won't be the case. First past the post and preferential vote largely write themselves. They'd have to try really hard to stuff up supplementary member more than it is already, and while they could muck around with STV, they'd look stupid doing it, because the things you'd want to muck around with are reasonably technical =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm confident that won't be the case.

    But does the law prevent them from screwing around with other things, like number of MPs between the two systems? That's where they mangled things in 1993.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But does the law prevent them from screwing around with other things, like number of MPs between the two systems? That's where they mangled things in 1993.

    That was hardly Parliament's fault in 1992/3 - the Royal Commission recommended the increase to 120.

    The current statutory review of MMP (if that wins) includes a prohibition on looking at the number of MPs, and I anticipate that any statutory look at some other system would as well.

    There is nothing to stop Parliament from deciding that their first-past-the-post system would have 100 MPs, but I don't think they will:

    1. neither major party looks like they want to play games with this; and
    2. they'd need majority support in Parliament (and that's the next Parliament, not the current one) - so unless National and Labour jack it up between themselves, they'll likely need the support of either the Greens or the Maori Party (this assumes National + ACT won't be a majority by themselves).

    And of course, there's nothing to stop them mucking around with this even if MMP wins =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But didn't the Royal Commission recommend 120 whatever the system, and the government then screwed with it putting 120 MPs in the MMP option, and 99 in the FPP option?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But didn't the Royal Commission recommend 120 whatever the system, and the government then screwed with it putting 120 MPs in the MMP option, and 99 in the FPP option?

    Yes, but I think that's a little unfair. Parliament gave us the option between the status quo and an alternative. That's the only proper way to do something like this.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That's the only proper way to do something like this.

    But the playing field could be leveled. There could be two questions: 1. What voting system would you like?, and 2. how many MPs do you want? The increased MPs wasn't particularly tied to the voting system by the Royal Commission.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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