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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why I support MMP coat tailing (God forgive me for agreeing with John Banks & Peter Dunne)

Having watched first hand with MANA how difficult setting up a new political party is in the current NZ electoral system, I support the present coat tailing that allows sub 5% threshold representation if a Party wins an electorate seat and if the system must change, I support no threshold.

To my terrible discomfort, some of that puts me on side with John Banks & Peter Dunne.

Lord have mercy upon my sinful soul.

Bryce Edwards (who week on week continues to impress me) had it right when he called the Electoral Commission on their pathetically limp MMP recommendations...

The Electoral Commission has blown its once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to significantly enhance democracy. MMP will remain Mixed and existing Members are now even safer in parliament. Apparently, though, Proportionality can be sacrificed.

...in the wake of the lowest voter turn out in 120 years, the Electoral Commission comes out with an abolishing of the one seat coat tailing and a lowering of the threshold to 4%?

The one seat coat tailing allows strong personalities to build political movements without the vast capital injection the established behemoth Party's have. Tail coating allows the seeds for smaller party's to build and enter the political spectrum, yes the right have benefitted most from this with ACT and United Future, but that's just because the left strategists have so far been too stupid to pick up what gains could be made.

Closing off the coat tail option means that larger Party's will always dominate the political debate and weaken the representative value of our democracy.

If we have to change, why tepid change like this that is actually counter productive to representation, if we are going to change, let's be bold and drop the threshold altogether, allow NZ to be represented in it's entire spectrum.

An electorate MP needs about 10 000 votes to win an electorate seat, the Electoral Commission suggestion to drop the threshold to 4% means a Party would need to get 80 000 party votes just to gain representation. If the winning threshold is so low for electorate MP's, why is it so high for a Party?

After our lowest voter turn out, this report should be far less focused on 'stability' and far more concerned with making every voter feel their vote means something. These recommendations make it easier for the larger Party's to dominate the game.

I thought MMP was supposed to democratically lessen that influence, not reinforce it.



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