Posts by bmk

  • Hard News: News Memories 2: The Twitter thread,

    Either the hole in the ozone layer or the Rainbow Warrior. I can't remember which came first but I remember as a child the ozone layer hole seemed terrifying whereas I didn't quite understand the importance of the Rainbow Warrior bombing at the time.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I always liked for the spirit he played with. Brett Lee too

    If you overlook those beamers he bowled ...

    Yes I was going to make the same comment but beaten. The thing about his beamers too was they only came when he was getting hit. In fact I have to say Brett Lee is probably the archetypal bad Aussie sportsman that I think of. Mike Hussey definitely came across as a much better sportsman.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Hard News: Park Life, in reply to BenWilson,

    Was there any kind of guidelines at all about that? Because riding a bike across a fairway where people are teeing off sounds like a recipe for someone to get seriously hurt.

    When I lived in Chch. my flatmate got hit by a golf ball walking across the Hagley Park golf course, this was in 2000. He wasn't seriously hurt but he was hurt and pissed off about it. I think he wasn't impressed either when we told him it was clearly karma and he must've deserved it since such a thing wouldn't just happen by chance.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: Market failure in the research world, in reply to mccx,

    Would it potentially reduce the cost of journal subscriptions for NZ universities (and SOEs etc.) if they negotiated or shared access as a consortium instead of as individual institutions? This might also reconcile the fact that specific resources are available at some NZ universities and not others (especially electronic resources), which has always seemed less than ideal to me.

    Speaking as a Librarian in the Tertiary Sector, we do try this. In some cases we can make it work. In other cases the publisher won't allow it, in some cases the consortia pricing costs more than purchasing individually. Often we tailor packages to suit the subject matter we support which varies from institute to institute making it cheaper not to be part of the consortia.

    Libraries have very tight budgets (especially on OPEX) and we do whatever we can to reduce costs without sacrificing services.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    Historically, despite occasional huge majorities for one side or the other, electoral boundaries in NZ have always been drawn by balanced committees, haven't they?

    Boudaries have always suited National here. I don't know whether through deliberate gerrymandering or just the urban/rural split (I'd like to think the latter). In 1993 National got 35% while Labour got 34.6% and yet National got 5 more seats. The Alliance who were on Labour's left got 18%. On a MMP election - the left would have had a comfortable majority.

    In 1978 Labour got a higher vote count but 11 fewer seats! In 1981 Labour also won the vote but got 4 fewer seats.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to linger,

    Indeed as repeatedly happened in NZ.

    All electoral systems can be gained to some extent; some more than others. And as far as I can see MMP is what works best for us considering we seem to be wedded to the idea of having a local MP. I think the local MP isn't strictly necessary as if you used pure proportional representation you would be bound to have an MP in your region anyway, although the legislation would have to be clear that they had to assist you.

    I do think STV with sufficiently large wards would work as well.

    At present though I think MMP is working but the threshold urgently needs to be reduced (which solves the problem of coat-tailing as well).

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    You could make MMP more proportional by reducing the threshold, which many people here are in favour of.

    TBH, I think the idea that any large party could split into an electorate party and a list party, and come through an election successfully preposterous.

    I'm strongly in favour of reducing the threshold.

    I think it could be done. Imagine an Australian type scenario where they have the Liberal-National coalition. National here includes both groups of that party - they could create a Country party and they would win all the rural electorates if they told their supporters too vote Country MP and National candidate.

    Having said all that I think the main parties have enough of a long-term view to do such a thing - they would rightly fear the public backlash. So you're right in that I don't see it happening in the short-term.

    Still it does make me wonder about the integrity of the system.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Trevor Nicholls,

    If a party wins electorate seats then they are entitled to them. That's democracy for you.

    I do get what you are saying and I guess it's true in a way. However, if the purpose of MMP is to have a strictly proportionate parliament then overhang wrecks it. I guess it depends whether you think close enough is good enough and also your priorities whether local representation is more important that proportionality.

    I've always been a big fan of MMP but to be honest as I've got to know it better; I think it's fundamentally broken and asking to be gamed. I'm probably more now in favour of either a pure Proportional system or even a Single Transferrable Vote system. Or maybe even a Proportional vote system but broken into regions so each region still gets represented.

    Anyway MMP is working for now (just) but in the scenarios outlined above all trust in it could easily be destroyed by National running an electorate-only Country party and Labour running an electorate only Urban party. We could end up with a farcical situation.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    You can't do that to MMP, you'd have basically killed the mixed member component of it, which is pretty core. Electorate MPs make up over half our parliament, you can't unelect them because someone else in another electorate did better, that's screwed up democracy.

    You might as well just go straight to a party vote made up parliament and get rid of electorates entirely.

    I understand entirely what you are saying. Just how else do you fix the inherent problem in MMP that almost by its design it can be gamed with parties deliberately creating an overhand and thus wrecking the proportionate basis of it?

    While what I proposed isn't ideal - the current situation isn't ideal either and if the major parties were to majorly game it in the manner Ben proposes then MMP ends up fundamentally broken.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m not sure that they’ve thought it through, really.

    I remember reading David Farrar saying that the National Party had spent a lot of time considering it but always backed out for the reasons above (my memory may be faulty though). Labour would copy them, there would be a huge parliament. The public would be furious with both parties and Winston First would win a historic victory next time(I made up that last bit myself).

    And sure they are doing it to a very small extent at present - that's about as far as they can push it without Labour retaliating or public distaste overwhelming the gain. But I think they know they can't go any further and I think that's part of why they chose not to do a deal with Conservatives this time.

    I think in the long-run MMP needs to be fixed. No threshold. No overhang - if a party wins more electorate seats than they were entitled too then they lose whichever electorate seats they won by the smallest margins until they are reduced to their correct proportion.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

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