Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Change the list, not the threshold

NRT wants to drop the 5 percent threshold
for the next election. He wants to drop it to 0.83 percent, which will get one MP in.

I disagree. Lowering the threshold will let the loonies in, give them the balance of power, and there would be greater tendency to pass laws that were not representative of the wishes of the people.

Mind you, a lot of the loonies are already there, high up on the party lists. More on that later.

Imagine all the one member parties such as the Outdoor Recreation party, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and the CHP in Parliament. In fact the CHP would have got three seats at the 1999 election in these rules. But they would have been treated no different to Independents like Alamein Kopu. Nmne wil get representation on most select committees. The fact of the matter is that all the half decent minor parties that poll less than five percent - such as the Progressives, possibly the Maori Party and, should the worm not be tamed this year, United Future, are going to get in via at lest one electorate seat in any case.

Well, maybe not. Act and NZ First are struggling in the polls. Last election Act was list vote only. NZ First was the third biggest party.

But at least we haven't got First Past the Post. That system inflated the vote of the two main parties by 20 percent. Minor parties missed out. In 1978, Social Credit got 16.1 percent of the vote, but just one seat. It would have got more than 18 seats under MMP.

Had the 1996 MMP election had been an FPP one, about 58 percent of the seats would have gone to National, instead of 35 percent - and Act and United would probably never have been formed.

If NRT wants a more democratic voting system, Perhaps he should be suggesting STV, or/and public input on the party list. At present only party members have a say on the list.

It's the list we need to fix up, not the threshold. The list is packed with party people who are not usually representative of the voters. Look how much damage Helen Clark's long time friend and former party official Margaret Wilson has done, for example. Prebble didn't call her the most dangerous MP for nothing.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Dave. At least MMP does keep fringe elements out of Parliament, and dispensing with the five percent threshold is a recipe for
trouble. Consider Israel and the damage that the representation of right-
wing Orthodox Jewish settlers groups in the Knesset has had for the
peace process, with devastating results for both Palestinians and Israelis

No Right Turn doesn't speak for this veteran leftie. For gaia's sake, what
would happen if the National Front polled 1.23% at any future election?
Under NRT's logic, we'd be forced to let them in. As for STV, hmmm. I
support it for local body elections, but I agree with the Royal Commission
otherwise- it gives a lot of weight to geographically concentrated groups that can bloc-vote for candidates. Whether or not that's more democratic than MMP is a moot point.


Anonymous said...

Haha. I like your comment about UF's untamed worm!

I think you will find NZ First's worm will get a dose of Viagra on TVNZ next year.