MMP

There is a lot of debate at present about whether we should keep MMP or not. People are becoming rather disillusioned with it now, because it isn’t necessarily delivering the accurate representation of the country that it was supposed to.

The biggest problem with MMP, in my opinion, is the 5% threshold. This threshold results in much of the strategic voting, where people may vote for a party they don’t entirely agree with and not for one they do, to ensure their votes count.

If we had no threshold, we would have seen representation from:
1996: Christian Coalition, ALCP, United
1999: Christian Heritage, Future NZ, ALCP
2002: Christian Heritage, Outdoor Recreation NZ, Alliance

In actual fact the results would have been quite different, as if people were less scared of wasting their vote all these parties would likely have polled far higher, and others may have gained representation too. We would have seen far greater diversity in parliament, and the last decade may have been very different – especially with representation from the Christian Coalition, which may never have split into CH and FNZ if they got in, and from ALCP. In my opinion this diversity would have been a very good thing, and Parliament would represent the country far more accurately than it does at present, because people would be more inclined to vote for who they truly believed was right, rather than vote for the lesser evil.

Another problem is the fact that the current calculations mean you can end up with an overhang. If the extra seats gained by a party that had more electorate seats than its party vote would entitle it to were subtracted from the total number of seats in the same way that seats gained by independant candidates are, this problem would be solved and we wouldn’t be paying more MPs than we needed to.

I personally like MMP in theory, because it allows better representation of minority views, but only in proportion to their numbers – which is exactly how democracy should work. But the current system with a 5% threshold does not do this very well. It would also be far simpler to get rid of the 5% threshold than change the electoral system completely again (to say STV or SM) and confuse everyone even more, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t just ditch the threshold for a couple of elections and see how it goes, provided we have a referendum after two elections with it to see what the public think. Best to try the simple option first, before considering another major change to our electoral system little more than a decade after the last change.

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4 Responses to “MMP”

  1. kiwipolemicist Says:

    Hi Samuel. If your Party does get into Parliament what do you propose in terms of your relationship with the governing party? Will this vary according to which party is governing?

    Some people are concerned that if the Family Party wins seats it will reduce the chances of National gaining power. What is your response to that?

    I’ve given your Party a plug this morning, you can send the money to the usual place 🙂
    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/john-key-on-families/

  2. Mr Dennis Says:

    We have completely ruled out going into coalition with Labour, primarily because of the way they are going on moral issues and the level of tnanny-statism. The sort of policies we have, although National doesn’t agree with many of them, are closer to National’s position than Labour’s so we should be far more able to implement them in coalition with National.

    If the Family Party gains seats it will INCREASE National’s chances of gaining power. We are actually the closest option to them in terms of coalition partners (ACT is further right and UF is further left). Our moral views are also supported by many National candidates individually. The polls are very tight at the moment and National needs as many friends as they can get. Even if we just had one seat that could tip the balance between Labour or National in government, and the more seats we have the greater the likelihood of a National government.

    Specifically, if National voters in Mangere or Manukau East vote for the Family candidates, this will help us take these seats off Labour and provide two more seats on the right. If National voters in East Coast Bays vote for Paul Adams (Family) and he beats McCully (National) this won’t harm National at all – they will still have the same number of seats from the party vote and McCully will be in on the list. But Adams will be another seat on the right, increasing the chances of a National-led majority coalition.

    The way the polls are going, National needs us. And thanks for the plug!

  3. josh Says:

    Two things-

    1. Any comment on Larry getting 7% of the vote in Tauranga? Pretty pitiful given the Kiwi Party are putting all their eggs in that basket. Certainly strengthens the Family Party’s message.

    2. When will we see a poll in Mangere? I can’t vote for you until I see one. I can’t waste my vote, and i’ll have to give it to ACT to get rid of the anti-smacking bill.

  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    Josh:
    1: Missed that. Completely agree it is pitiful. No-one in Kiwi is talking about getting Tauranga at all now, they are always talking about getting 5% now whenever you hear from them (I am talking to their candidates at “meet the candidates” events). Even they know they cannot use votes to get into parliament but their candidates are saying “No vote is a wasted vote if you vote with your conscience” – in other words they’ve completely given up but still insist on taking votes that could have been used by ourselves, National or Act to change the government.

    2. Unless a media organisation has one up their sleeve to announce in the next few days, we will not be seeing a poll in Mangere. I understand the polling companies are tied up by the major parties and cannot work for competitors at the same time, so we are reliant on the media polls. And the media are ignoring pretty well every electorate except Tauranga, which is unfortunate.

    As I have said previously, this election will be decided by Epsom, Ohariu-belmont, Mangere, East Coast Bays, Manukau East, Tauranga and Rimutaka. There has only been detailed polling in Tauranga, and one poll only in Epsom. So this problem is not limited to the Family Party seats, we really don’t know how most key electorates are doing.

    However I can assure you the Family Party has a massive drive for votes going on right now in our key electorates, and we have a good chance of taking at least one of them in my opinion. Keep in mind too that smacking is not the only important issue at present, abortion is far larger in fact (far more children dying from that than from violence), and Act will not be standing up for these children. I would encourage you to consider the entire policy mix of the party you vote for rather than voting based on just the one issue.

    Best wishes deciding where to place your vote.


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