Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Mmmmmm, MMP

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  • Idiot Savant,

    The indicative referendum was between FPP, MMP, the Single Transferable Vote (STV), Supplementary Member (SM) or Preferential Vote (PV), but blowed if I can remeber the finer points of the latter two.

    SM: MMP, but with the party vote only affecting the proportionality of the list seats, rather than the whole of parliament. Fairer than FPP, but not by much, and why go halfway? But National seems to like it, because its the worst of both worlds - all the flaws of MMP, and none of the benefits. Contrary to their claims, the Royal Commission didn't like it.

    PV: Australian-style preferential voting in single member electorates. Better than FPP, but still not proportional; flaws perfectly illustrated by last weeks Western Australia state election, where WA Labour got 36% of the vote and 48% of the seats, the Greens got 12% of the vote and no seats, and the Nationals got 5% of the votes and 7% o the seats.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Not quite. Anderton's majority was 8548. He would only need to lose half of that, plus one (4275 votes), to the second-placed candidate, to be unseated.

    You are of course absolutely right. Half his majority not half his vote. The keys are so close together.

    I do idly wonder how much longer he's going to keep standing. One assumes the seat will revert to Labour by default - it's more Working Men's Club socialism than socially liberal Green.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Wigram huge, I don't think so Emma
    I live in Aoraki, about 3.5 hours driving from one end to the other

    Should get a woman MP but she is a bit flakey on the dangers of water, cute looking though so that's all right

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Like an awful lot of people my first experience of voting was as a leftie student in Gerry Brownlee's very safe electorate. It felt rather futile and I only just resisted the temptation to spoil my ballot with smart-arse comments and a vote for the university cat. I became a very big fan of proportional representation. I never really understood proponents of FPP - it always seemed to be a very unfair system to me and just because an unfair system favours your interests at present it doesn't mean it always will.

    I'd still vote for MMP today. I don't think any system could produce perfect fairness as well as have a ballot paper you don't need a pHD to fill out and not have too much magic-happens-here in the counting. I like the dual vote too. Sometimes the person who is going to represent local interests well isn't in the party I want to vote for. Sometimes I want to support more than one party.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Like an awful lot of people my first experience of voting was as a leftie student in Gerry Brownlee's very safe electorate.

    Until we moved, I absentee-balloted for Aoraki (except I don't think it was called that then, it may have been South Canterbury) because it wasn't entirely futile.

    Wigram huge, I don't think so Emma

    Chch, half an hour's drive is considered a major PITA. When compared to the old Sydenham, it's bigger and more diverse. Of course it's not as geographically large as a rural electorate.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    I couldn't get a ride to vote in what should have been my first election, because voting was "a bloody waste of time" in a safe seat. They can take my MMP vote from my cold, dead hands.

    Though they should feel free to improve it. That threshold does keep out the odd child molester, but if thirty thousand people want a child molester in parliament, who am I to argue? Plus, it would be genuinely good to brag about having the ALCP in parliament on international forums, even if they can't actually get more sensible laws on the books.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Plus, it would be genuinely good to brag about having the ALCP in parliament on international forums, even if they can't actually get more sensible laws on the books.

    Indeed. Another bonus would be the apoplexy it would induce in prohibitionists like Anderton, Peters, Dunne, and Blue.

    Interesting that Dunne - and I assume Peters? - are faithful to the tobacco lobby, though.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • AlistairC,

    I share with the author a shameful past in Labour Youth, and I also voted Labour several times (1978, 81 and 84, to be precise, whereafter, aghast at the results, I left the country.)

    From my Olympian height of "overseas", MMP looks like a best-of-breed version of parliamentary democracy. I would like one of the STV proponents to explain how it would be FUNCTIONALLY any different from FPP : i.e. you would get an absolute majority for National or Labour every time. If that's what you want, then say so.

    Just remember this about two-party democracy : it's twice as democratic as one-party democracy.

    France • Since Sep 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I would like one of the STV proponents to explain how it would be FUNCTIONALLY any different from FPP : i.e. you would get an absolute majority for National or Labour every time.

    No, you wouldn't. STV is proportional (assuming the electorates are reasonably-sized). You're not confusing STV with preferential vote, are you (which is STV but with single-seat electorates)?

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

  • AlistairC,

    Guilty as charged sir... Moral : if you aspire to bore people at parties with this stuff, best get it right eh?
    Yes, STV, correctly implemented, is pretty good, but not very transparent -- not easy to explain or to understand intuitively -- which is a major drawback in my view. An interesting mix of "ideology" (party list) and "personality" politics, embodying all the ambiguity of real political life.

    I confess I have a sentimental weakness for the two-round system à la France : it ensures that the winner has actually gained a majority of votes, which is intellectually satisfying. But I would not recommend it anywhere, in any circumstances : it is bi-polarising (it enables fragmentation on the left or on the right, but obliges second-round alliances), yet rewards hegemony (the Socialists have effectively squeezed out the Communists and Greens in France, reducing them to vassal status).

    France • Since Sep 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • icehawk,

    Those considering alternatives should think about MMP as it was originally proposed by the Royal Commission - before the sitting MPs messed with it to try and make it a less palateable alternative to FPP.

    * Threshold of 4% not 5%.

    * If your party wins 1 electorate and less than threshold, you just get that 1 MP.

    * If your party wins 2 electorates then you're not just a one-person wonder, so you get your full % of MPs, even if you haven't made the threshold.

    But you can rely on Peter Dunne to work very hard to ensure any such sensible small tweaks to MMP to reduce his power are not on the agenda. Nor do I see any advantage to Labour or National in the threshold dropping, so I can't see them letting it happen.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I also fervently campaigned for MMP, despite not being able to vote until '96, so I never actually got to use the old system. I'd like to think I managed to convince a good number of over 65s that MMP was a good idea.

    However, what I like most about Emma's post is this sentence
    the inability to actually effect anything
    where either effect or affect works.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    For me the issue with STV is that unless they were really really large electorates (like probably the whole south island), the smaller parties with wide appeal (like the greens) seem like they might miss out, whereas the winstons and andertons of the world might still get in.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    However, what I like most about Emma's post is this sentence
    the inability to actually effect anything
    where either effect or affect works.

    Cheers, James. In my secret identity I do spend a bit of time explaining grammar to idi... erm, grammatically-challenged people, and I dunno how many times I've said 'affect is the verb, effect is the noun'. Except in this case, where I do mean 'effect'. Though I guess if you affect enough things you might effect something.

    Being much older now, I am much more on board with diplomacy and subtlety 'n' all that shit.

    If your party wins 1 electorate and less than threshold, you just get that 1 MP.

    Hey, Icehawk. I'd forgotten that. I think I like that idea, even though I did once briefly toy with the idea of voting for the Progressives to see if we could get Matt Robson back in.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    *Aoraki* a huge electorate?

    Try Te Tai Tonga, wherein I vote. Driving from one end to the other is not a possibility (unless it's an extremely seaworth motor vehicle...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I dunno how many times I've said 'affect is the verb, effect is the noun'. Except in this case, where I do mean 'effect'

    Hmmm. As a sometime psychologist but also somtime grammar teacher, I too often have to use affect as a noun (as steven illustrates). And of course in present example, presumably there are things you wanted to effect so that your efforts could affect society?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I'd be happy to modify or change MMP if I could be assured the other choice wouldn't be FPP and sadly I don't see any serious debate about an alternative to the latter if change is mooted, at least amongst the National Party.

    So if it is MMP or FPP (as is) then I'll always vote for the former, having now experienced the delights of an unreconstructed FPP system here in the UK. Living in a safe Tory seat means if I don't love Rifkind I shouldn't bother voting. Fuck that.

    I'd rather support the actual protections of a coalition PR system rather than the theoretical protections of electorate MPs in a 2 party system who *might* rebel if the issue is serious enough.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

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