Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Referendum Fact Check #1

80 Responses

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  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    National could win Finance, but Labour could take Education, Maori Affairs going to Maori Party and Greens getting Environmental portfolios

    I've always thought that the Greens could do more d̶a̶m̶a̶g̶e̶ good by going for Transport and Agriculture. Also, I suspect whoever holds Finance has an effective veto over anyone else's programs... otherwise, I like.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Then the choices are allocated exactly where they are most preferred, so National could win Finance, but Labour could take Education, Maori Affairs going to Maori Party and Greens getting Environmental portfolios.

    Fixed for you:

    "Then the choices are allocated exactly where they are most preferred, so Partito Nazionale could win Finance, but Partito Laburista could take Education, Maori Affairs going to Partito dei Maori and Partito dei Verdi getting Environmental portfolios."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    National could win Finance, but Labour could take Education, Maori Affairs going to Maori Party and Greens getting Environmental portfolios

    See, in NZ, we have a parliament, and they have to vote on stuff to get it done, and if you're minister of something but have no say in it because you can't ever win a vote in the house and are thus stuck enforcing the opposition's new laws and regulations, that's really stupid. Just sayn.

    And if you want a say on the list, join the Green party, whose members vote on their list. Be funny if about 100,000 Nats did that one year, eh.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Andrew Geddis examines the Vote For Change campaign's key claims.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    And if you want a say on the list, join the Green party, whose members vote on their list. Be funny if about 100,000 Nats did that one year, eh.

    You know, I used to read Greenies saying things like this and ignore them, but really, you know that if you want a say on the list you can also join the Labour Party, and attend the various meetings and so forth that are involved in producing the list. You obviously can't attend the final list moderation meeting unless you've been democratically elected by various parts of the party, but then again that's one of the facts of life in a party as large and diverse as Labour.

    In fact, all political parties are required, by section 70 of the Electoral Act, to select candidates democratically.

    There are more ways to be democratic than direct democracy, and in the case of a large political party, I think it is entirely defensible to have selection processes slightly more sophisticated than a simple referendum of the membership.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Yup, if you feel the membership can’t be trusted to decide the direction of a party, then having branch committees elected on a rainy Tuesday night in June, who then elect area delegates, who then make indicative nominations for regional delegates, who make non-binding recommendations subject to leadership and caucus veto is definitely the way to go.

    That sort of sophistication truly empowers the party membership and has turned the Labour party into the smooth, united, election-winning machine we know and love.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yes, wouldn't it be great to have the Tories set the tax rate and Labour spend the money? We wouldn't go bankrupt or anything...

    ...

    Also, I suspect whoever holds Finance has an effective veto over anyone else's programs... otherwise, I like.

    Yup, coordinated use of funds would be the hardest part of this to work out, and turn into something driven by process. But there are endless possibilities for systems that would be a lot more transparent than "whatever the finance minister and the PM reckon".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yup, if you feel the membership can’t be trusted to decide the direction of a party, then having branch committees elected on a rainy Tuesday night in June, who then elect area delegates, who then make indicative nominations for regional delegates, who make non-binding recommendations subject to leadership and caucus veto is definitely the way to go.

    (By the way, branches elect LEC delegates and regional delegates directly, and regional list conferences can be attended by any member. It's only the moderation committee that meets privately.)

    It isn't so much a matter of trust as a question of scale. The active membership of the Green Party in the whole of New Zealand is probably smaller than the active membership of the Labour Party in Auckland. (If we go by financial members, I wouldn't be surprised if there are branches with more members than regions of the Greens.)

    Further, the Green list realistically consists of fifteen people, none of whom are going to win electorate seats. The Labour Party List consists of 65 people, and some of them might win electorate seats, some might not etc. I mean, is it a Megan Woods likely to win her electorate or not? Well, I think she will, but that's cause I live in the next one over and know she's doing a good job (and it's Wigram.) If I lived in Auckland & she wasn't running in Wigram I wouldn't have a clue.

    The Labour Party list is just a more complicated thing than the Greens, and needs more administrative machinery.

    I am not saying that the Labour Party isn't a bit sclerotic. But I am saying that Green members really need to lay off the unthinking propaganda about party democracy. Everybody thinks their party has internal party democracy, and that the rest are autocracies with unthinking slaves at the bottom. Generally, that's not true.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That sort of sophistication truly empowers the party membership and has turned the Labour party into the smooth, united, election-winning machine we know and love.

    It burns :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Voting on the list is also one area that Arrow's Theorem really is applicable.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It isn’t so much a matter of trust as a question of scale.

    The US has primaries (ok, for FPP candidates rather than list positioning) at almost all levels of the political process. There are 72 million registered Democrats, for instance, and about half of them voted in the most recent primaries. (American parties typically allow anyone to register as a supporter and vote in primaries - there is no requirement for financial membership).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to BenWilson,

    OTOH, if it's all about the issues, why don't we just vote directly on the issues?
    I like this idea in theory.................but, from what I've seen with the public ballots in the US it seems to wind up with people wanting mutually opposing situations where tax cuts win out over education and other fluffy social needs that are harder to sell. It would be a bit like rule by kiwiblog or Herald your views where nuanced discussion and considered policy gets left behind.
    Death penalty anyone?

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob S,

    Quite. Democracy is not mob rule.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Rob S,

    OTOH, if it's all about the issues, why don't we just vote directly on the issues?

    I like this idea in theory.................but, from what I've seen with the public ballots in the US it seems to wind up with people wanting mutually opposing situations where tax cuts win out over education and other fluffy social needs that are harder to sell. It would be a bit like rule by kiwiblog or Herald your views where nuanced discussion and considered policy gets left behind.

    Yes. The one-word rejoinder to this suggestion is usually: 'California'.

    (the state of California effectively being bankrupt, for all practical purposes, and fingers generally being pointed at a sucession of referenda over the years where the good citizens always voted to have their taxes lowered, crudely speaking).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob S,

    I like this idea in theory.................but, from what I've seen with the public ballots in the US it seems to wind up with people wanting mutually opposing situations where tax cuts win out over education and other fluffy social needs that are harder to sell.

    Just as well the US is not the only place that's ever used a referendum to decide something. But I don't think it's necessarily the best thing either, it's just a comeback to the never-ending dream for more account being taken of public mandates - it both can be done, and isn't guaranteed to work out. I don't entirely rule out that US voters are fucking idiots and participatory democracy won't work there, for reasons that don't translate to here, though. Nor do I claim it, perhaps the US is getting the system it both wanted and deserves, and just has to learn the hard way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    But I am saying that Green members really need to lay off the unthinking propaganda about party democracy.

    WTF? It's not "look at us, aren't we awesome", it's "when people complain about not getting a say in certain things, that's one of the Green movement's fundamental beliefs around which policy is built, and this is how we manage that in the case you are complaining of". Not that I'm a paid-up member.

    And seriously, the NZ Labour party is not too big to let people vote. If you want regional elections, have them. If you want informed voters, inform them. Cover the costs with your subs.

    California's participatory democracy issues surround having the ballot stuffed with nonsense by unelected hacks and promoted with massive private funds, which unsurprisingly results in low taxes for the very rich and no social services for the very poor. Advertising is a science, it works. Other countries manage just fine when public servants write the questions at the behest of the government and the debate around them has tight limits on private spending.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I am saying that Green members really need to lay off the unthinking propaganda about party democracy

    Actually, I'm not a Green member either any more. To paraphrase Will Rogers "I belong to no organised political party. I am a Mana supporter". (and I have no idea how Hone plans to organise his list ranking, but hope we might get John Minto, Sue Bradford and Bomber Bradbury in Parliament).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to BenWilson,

    I wouldn't say that an entity such as the US could be said to want or deserve its current set up.
    I think that the US has got the system that suited it initially but now is now in need of a good shake up which possibly won't be non violent if it occurs at all.
    The high ideals and implementation of their founding document was breath taking for it's time but now as an observer I worry about the corruption that lies at the heart of their democacy. Gerrymandering, partisan appointments to government positions from dog catcher up to the supreme court, big money having undue influence over their elected representatives come to mind. There is a lot that is admirable about the country and I'm not a knee jerk Yank hater at all. There are far more countries that are run far far worse and everywhere has its faults including fuckwit voters.
    It's a big oil tanker of a country which would be hard to change direction no matter who's at the controls.
    We live in a small country with a small countries problems and smugness can be one of them.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    There are 72 million registered Democrats, for instance, and about half of them voted in the most recent primaries.

    (A) first past the post; you haven't addressed the issue of complexity here, and (B) are you really putting forward Clinton/Obama as an example of party democracy? Looked to me like a rather grim farce of million-dollar advertising campaigns desperately avoiding any real confrontation on the issues.

    By the way, has anyone here actually read the Green Party list process? There are all sorts of explicit restraints on the membership's ability to set the list, including some quite brutal rules on gender equality and so forth, and most importantly, you can't get on the list ballot unless you are either a member of the `candidate pool', a group anointed by a central committee, or are an electorate candidate! Hardly `the membership votes on the list'.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I have no idea how Hone plans to organise his list ranking, but hope we might get John Minto, Sue Bradford and Bomber Bradbury in Parliament

    We should know how by the end of the month how Mana will work out their list. Parties are required to submit their list ranking procedures to the Electoral Commission within a month of registration.

    Hone + 3 list MPs will need ~2.8-3.0% of the vote (65k+ votes depending on turnout). To get Hone + 4 list MPs (i.e. assuming Annette Sykes is no 2) will need ~3.6-3.8% (85k+ votes).

    In 2008, the Maori Party got just under 56k votes.

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

  • Phil Lyth,

    What has Sykes got to do with this? Surely you mean 'any party winning one electorate needs ~3.6 - 3.8% of the list vote to get four list MPs'. Which name is ranked where may affect how many votes are attracted, but not how the seat allocation is calculated.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    To put Graeme’s ~2.8%-3.0% into perspective. If Hone wins TTT again, then to get 3 list MPs, Mana has to match the Maori Party’s 2008 highwater mark of 2.39% AND increase that by roughly a quarter. Given the landscape I think that’s, um, ambitious.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    What has Sykes got to do with this? Surely you mean ‘any party winning one electorate needs ~3.6 – 3.8% of the list vote to get four list MPs’.

    Rich wanted John Minto, Sue Bradford and Bomber Bradbury in Parliament.

    If Annette is not on the list, this needs ~2.8-3.0%.

    If Annette is on the list high up, it needs ~3.6-3.8%. That Annette is considered likely to be on the list is information Rich may not have had, or at least may have ignored in this matter.

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

  • Keir Leslie,

    I don't know how ambitious it is. The Greens have been heading away from the protest vote constituency at a rate of knots, and that would be where I'd be looking for the list votes. I don't know what or how Mana will do in general electorates.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Actually, I was being flippant - I wouldn't think Bomber would be up for elected office, but maybe he feels otherwise? (They make you wear a suit, FFS)

    Also, the Maori Party has consciously not campaigned for party votes (or pakeha votes).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

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