The Dim-Post

May 29, 2014

All in the game

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 5:26 pm

Paddy Gower has a kind of parody of himself piece up about the Internet/Mana Party deal:

The Hone-Dotcom-Laila political triangle is one of the dirtiest deals in New Zealand political history.

It is as dirty as National-Act in Epsom.

It is as dirty as the Key-Dunne deal in Ohariu.

Frankly, Lalia Harré made me feel sick today when she said “it’s time for New Zealanders to take back MMP”.

That’s because Laila Harré is wrecking MMP.

Hone Harawira is wrecking MMP.

And Kim Dotcom is wrecking MMP.

They are using Harawira’s seat and MMP’s “coat-tail” rule to get a back-door entry into Parliament.

It is a rort.

It is a grubby deal, made all the worse by the fact Harawira holds the Te Tai Tokerau seat – a Maori seat.

And on it goes for many hundreds of words. He’s right, of course – it is a rort. That’s what I love about it. National had the opportunity to reform both electoral finance and the MMP system and they refused in the face of overwhelming arguments in favor of ditching the coat-tail loophole, because they like having a deliberately broken system to work with – because they can game it to their advantage. The beauty of the Internet/Mana deal is that it turns National’s strategic undermining of the electoral system against them. (Or at least tries to – there’s no guarantee any of this will actually work.)

I’m not sure what Gower thinks the left is supposed to do here. Sit back and lose election after election because National and its allies are allowed to scam the electoral system by running fake parties in Epsom and Ohariu but the left aren’t allowed to do the same thing in Te Tai Tokerau? This is the system. This is how John Key and Judith Collins decided our elections should work. Why should the left cripple itself by refusing to maximise their chances in a rigged system just because they argued against it and got ignored?

59 Comments »

  1. “Why should the left cripple itself by refusing to maximise their chances in a rigged system just because they argued against it and got ignored?”

    They shouldn’t.. its that simple. Similarly there’s nothing to stop any and all parties left and right to form election blocs in an effort to recreate a FPP election that splits afterwards.

    Voters would probably like that anyway provided the spoils were divvied up equably later.

    JC

    Comment by JC — May 29, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

  2. Because Peter Dunne has never gone into coalition with Labour? Sorry, this “fake party” line is a preoccupation of the left that doesn’t actually stack up.

    Comment by PaulL — May 29, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

  3. well, someone’s a hypocrite Paddy. Not sure it’s Labour and the Greens. Why else are you being so hyperbolic except to sell advertising, which in turn supports you being over the top, horse race reporting, conflict reporting, mano-e-mano reporting? Surely if anything is perverted, venal and grubby it’s the continued practice of gotcha hyperbole in the interests of money- page views, ratings and $$ over public interest and being a news man?

    Comment by sheesh — May 29, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  4. The strategy is legitmate solution to a problem most of the smaller parties have faced. It’s amusing to watch Hone doing what the MP did with exactly the same rational.

    But the terminal dysfunction that’s given such entertainment with ACT might strike this new beast of MMP.

    ACT never got over being a vanity party of a few wealthy weirdos. That allowed ACT to survive without an activist base.

    Hone has a very limited activist base, which will get him back in, but that’s more to do with his family and that particular rlectorate. Going with KDC is a clear enough statement that his appeal and support elsewhere is limited.

    KDC’s money might make up in the short term for not having any grassroots but it could lead to what’s happened with ACT.

    Comment by NeilM — May 29, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

  5. The argument is ridiculous. If the left wanted to win by deals, it would not split the vote in key electorates. This kind of dirty deal by a multiple party-hopper is sick.

    Comment by Neil Miller — May 29, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

  6. Sorry, this “fake party” line is a preoccupation of the left that doesn’t actually stack up.

    Does anyone know what this means?

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 29, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

  7. I’m not sure what Gower thinks the left is supposed to do here.

    He expects it to be a good left and play nice-guys-finish-last. Most likely he’s as horrified as DPF that it isn’t. Subordinating ethics to ambition is the right-wingers’ territory – if the left start poaching that territory, where will it all end? My God, we might even end up with the sort of open slather in which National releases budgets that are indistinguishable from one Labour might have released…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 29, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

  8. “Loop hole”

    This is not a loop hole! It is a rule that works exactly as designed. There are one of two alternate thresholds you can meet to get list MPs into parliament: get 5% of the vote or one electorate seat. Simple stuff. It isn’t some unintended consequence.

    It is worth remembering that Rodney first won Epsom with no accommodation from National. Peter Dunne is the incumbent in Ohariu. And neither Act nor Dunne got any list MPs in last election, nor do they appear likely to this time around.

    Agreeing not to compete for votes with a potential ally hardly seems grubby. Isn’t that what the greens wanted to do with Labour?

    And of course everyone is (capable of being) aware of the situation when they vote. So what the hell is the loophole? Is getting over 5% a loophole?

    Comment by Swan — May 29, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  9. To be fair to Danyl, he believes Jim Anderton’s progressives were a “fake party” too.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 29, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

  10. So what the hell is the loophole? Is getting over 5% a loophole?

    Because it gives the electorate vote a secondary consequence that is unrelated to its purpose. Electorates were retained under MMP because people have a residual liking for the idea of “their” local representative that they elect directly. It then makes no sense to give that choice a nationwide impact by allowing parties that have a constituency candidate elected to share in list seats (while other parties that get more votes but do not have a constituency candidate elected do not – such as happened with ACT and NZ First in 2008).

    Simply put, the rule gives the votes of electors in places like Epsom/Ohariu/Te Tai Tokerau/Wigram (in the past) more importance than the votes of electors in other places. And that isn’t what MMP is meant to be about. So it is a “loophole” in that it is a rule that runs counter to the overall logic of the existing voting process (as was recognised by the Electoral Commission, and (belatedly) by the members of the Royal Commission who recommended MMP in the first place).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  11. It’s probably a case of fighting fire with fire, given the circumstances.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — May 29, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

  12. kalvarnsen #8: Of the constituent parties that made up the shadow-of-its-former-glory Alliance, only the Greens still survive. The rest seemed to be largely monuments to ego that didn’t survive the retirements of their leaders.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — May 29, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

  13. WHy is Paddy so upset? Well, what have Mana and KDC got in common? They are implacably completely anti-establishment. What have media parasites like Paddy, Duncan, John Armstrong, Vernon Small et al got in common? So they are so far up the arse of the political establishment they consider themselves part of it – the tape worms that came in from the colon.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 29, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

  14. Since when has Gower cared about anything else but his ego. Typical media mouth ,say anything for a headline. “wrecking MMP” FFS!

    Comment by peterlepaysan — May 29, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

  15. Question: What is causing the right to get so upset? A sense of complacent entitlement shattered? Curia’s polling indicating IMP is a real threat? David Farrar is unusually septic and dark even for him. Slater is beside himself. I know KDC has managed to humiliate a self-styled pillar of the establishment – John (but we all know the apple never falls far from the tree) Banks – by getting him in front of a judge, but there has got to be something else, surely?

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 29, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

  16. “Because it gives the electorate vote a secondary consequence that is unrelated to its purpose.”

    On the other hand, both thresholds exist for the same legitimate reason. That is, if a party passes either threshold, by gaining an electorate seat, or by getting 5%, it is considered to be a reasonable party of decent people that deserve to be represented in parliament. I am not saying I agree with this, but what I am saying is it is a coherent view on MMP that a voter in the referendum may have held. And it was the voters that chose the system, not the elites.

    “Simply put, the rule gives the votes of electors in places like Epsom/Ohariu/Te Tai Tokerau/Wigram (in the past) more importance than the votes of electors in other places”

    The one seat threshold.is not the only rule that may or may not give some voters more influence than other. Voters voting in a seat that may result in an overhang similarly have additional influence. And, of course, electorate voters in an Epsom type electorate can only gain this influence if others vote for the party on the party list – they still require the list votes. So do voters who vote for parties that get over the 5% threshold than those that don’t – one vote counts towards determining the makeup of parliament while the other doesn’t. i.e. except for subjective preference, there is no reason why one threshold is more legitimate than the other.

    Comment by swan — May 29, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  17. Frothing leftwards line up here.

    Comment by Stephen x — May 29, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

  18. I am not saying I agree with this, but what I am saying is it is a coherent view on MMP that a voter in the referendum may have held. And it was the voters that chose the system, not the elites.

    Well, the voters endorsed the version of MMP that the elites presented them with as the alternative to FPP back in 1993. Those elites (the Royal Commission on the Electoral System now say that aspect of MMP was a mistake. And the voters also have indicated to both the Electoral Commission and opinion pollsters that they don’t like this “one electorate seat” aspect to the thresholds and want to see it removed. So I’m going to disagree with you on any alleged public endorsement of this bit of the voting system.

    Voters voting in a seat that may result in an overhang similarly have additional influence.

    Which is why we should abolish overhang seats as well (like the Electoral Commission recommended).

    And, of course, electorate voters in an Epsom type electorate can only gain this influence if others vote for the party on the party list – they still require the list votes.

    Which really is an argument for a lower party vote threshold across the board … why should the relevance of those party votes stand or fall purely upon the electorate vote decisions of Epsom (or Te Tai Tokerau) voters?

    So do voters who vote for parties that get over the 5% threshold than those that don’t – one vote counts towards determining the makeup of parliament while the other doesn’t. i.e. except for subjective preference, there is no reason why one threshold is more legitimate than the other.

    Well, it is true that any party vote threshold involves some kind of trade-off (representativeness vs stability) that will mean some parties are treated different to others (those who make the threshold vs those that don’t). But to go from that to saying there’s no difference in kind between a party vote threshold and the one electorate seat threshold is just wrong. As can be shown in a real world example – ACT and NZ First in 2008.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

  19. “So I’m going to disagree with you on any alleged public endorsement of this bit of the voting system.”

    We will not know unless we have a referendum where these things are debated in detail and given serious attention by the news media (as opposed to the nonsense Danyl quotes above. The last time that happened was back when we had the referendum.

    I don’t see why one threshold is different to another. Just like you can point to Act vs NZ First in ’08, likewise you can point to National vs NZ First. Why did national get the 5-6 MPs from its marginal ~4% of the vote but not NZ First? It is patently wrong

    Comment by Swan — May 29, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

  20. Oh. And even if they get rid of overhangs, this does change the fact that overhang seats get more influence. There is still a lack of proportionality thanks to electorate seats being won that are not matched by party votes.

    Comment by Swan — May 29, 2014 @ 9:27 pm

  21. Every bit of evidence available shows that the public don’t like the electorate seat exception to the threshold and would prefer to junk it. And it was you who claimed that the public’s alleged endorsement of this feature meant that it was not a “loophole”, but a legitimate feature of the system. So I guess you can claim epistemic uncertainty (“we can’t really know what the public think about this!”), but I think you’re wrong (and I think you know it to).

    The difference between a list threshold and the one electorate seat threshold lies in the privileging the latter gives to the votes of people in one discrete area of the country. To wit, the 30,000 odd voters of Epsom got to decide whether ACT would get MPs (note I say MPs in the plural, which is the point) into Parliament. The 30,000 odd voters of Dunedin North didn’t. Just as the 20,000 odd voters who show up in Te Tai Tokerau in September will get to decide if Internet MANA get MPs in Parliament. The 30,000 odd voters of Northland won’t. That makes no sense. And, of course, the point of comparing ACT and NZ First in 2008 is that because of how the 30,000 odd voters in Epsom voted, it got MPs in Parliament even though it got less votes than did NZ First. Which is contrary to the entire logic and point of MMP. Which is why the rule is a loophole.

    And even if they get rid of overhangs, this does change the fact that overhang seats get more influence. There is still a lack of proportionality thanks to electorate seats being won that are not matched by party votes.

    True that. There is no way to resolve that problem unless you prohibit independents from running for Parliament or else abolish the electorates altogether and move to a list only PR system. But pointing to one example of possible disproportional outcomes caused by electorates does not then justify every and any disproportionate outcome caused by electorates. Because you actually haven’t provided any argument for why the one electorate rule should be in place, aside from “it is in place” (which the architects of the system now say was an error).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

  22. I have always been bemused by the fact that in 1999 it was ok for winston to use the wining the seat provision of mmp (he got less than 5%)
    And that was ok
    Next jim in wigram used it to get an extra mp and still that was fine
    Peter dunne next was still supporting labour so no issues their
    The miniute act used it to help national it was a travisity

    Comment by Graham — May 29, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

  23. Ok Andrew, I’ll take it as read the public don’t currently like the one seat threshold. That wasn’t the point of my argument. The point of my argument in bringing up the original referendum was that: if you had to summarise the rules of MMP based on the information given at the time in four or five bullet points, the electorate seat threshold would make it to the list. It is not some obscure unforeseen consequence, it is a central aspect of MMP as dished up in NZ. And I did give a reason for its existence – to serve as a test as to whether a party is respectable enough to deserve seats in the house.

    Regarding my NZ First to National comparison to your NZ First to ACT, my point is the same. National got 5 extra MPs with the same number of votes. Or equally National got four extra MPs with fewer votes than NZ First. Exactly the same as the Act comparison. A disproportionate outcome from a supposedly proportional system. Why pick on ACT but not the tail end of the Nat caucus?

    Comment by Swan — May 29, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

  24. That’s pretty dumb, Graham.

    Firstly, it implies that people can’t change their opinion based on empirical evidence.
    Secondly, it presumes that National voters are all of agreement that the current system is just dandy.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

  25. It is not some obscure unforeseen consequence, it is a central aspect of MMP as dished up in NZ

    But it’s a bad aspect, one that has not worked as intended (indeed, had no really clear intentions to it at all), which creates consequences that run counter to the logic and purpose of MMP as a system, that the Electoral Commission has recommended be removed, and that the public wants to see gone. Hence, it is a “coat-tail loophole” as Danyl described it. One that can still be used, of course … but let’s just call it by its proper name

    And I did give a reason for its existence – to serve as a test as to whether a party is respectable enough to deserve seats in the house.

    But the electorate vote is not meant to be about parties! And by making it such, the one seat exception allows a bare plurality (not, note, a majority) of one geographical area to make the “respectable enough” decision for the rest of the country. So your reason, with respect, is not a very good one.

    Why pick on ACT but not the tail end of the Nat caucus?

    I’m not picking on ACT. I’m picking on a rule that allowed 21,102 voters in Epsom to effectively decide that ACT should be entitled to have 5 MPs in Parliament, while the 95,356 voters who supported NZ first got left with no MPs. Which is wrong. Now, if you want to debate the issue of party vote thresholds and the fairness or otherwise of National getting all its MPs while NZ First didn’t get any, then I’m happy to do so. But it’s just not the same issue as the electorate seat threshold.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 10:37 pm

  26. @Graham (and Gregor W),

    Also, by your logic, it should mean that now Internet MANA are going to use the loophole, it’s OK again. But it isn’t.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 29, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

  27. Wasted votes get divvied up to the successful parties by way of the SL formula. This feature is *never* talked about. I find it so much more anti-democratic than coat-tailing*. Even a threshold of 4% could still lead to over 10% wasted votes, which go to parties one didn’t even vote for! Germany’s Fed. Constitutional Court deemed 5% and then 3% thresholds unconstitutional for the European elections. Yeah, yeah, they got a neo-nazi member, but just one out of 96 seats.

    Also *never* talked about is the fact that electorates are a fucking FPP election. Also anti-democratic.

    *sorry, but IMO electorates can vote for whoever they damn like and if people from ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY recognise that a minor party candidate is likely to win a seat and cast their party votes accordingly – so what? “What the public wants” isn’t always the best argument, particularly when the issue is seemingly a sourpuss beat-up (say compared to low information about wasted votes/lower thresholds).

    Comment by hydey — May 29, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

  28. “But it’s a bad aspect, one that has not worked as intended (indeed, had no really clear intentions to it at all)”

    Didn’t it? I thought that it was supposed to be an alternative to the 5% threshhold – a party must demonstrate either a broad support base across the whole country, or a more narrow support base in a limited geographic area, to qualify for list MPs.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 30, 2014 @ 1:09 am

  29. 1. What “Sorry, this “fake party” line is a preoccupation of the left that doesn’t actually stack up.” means is that ACT isn’t a fake party, nor is United. ACT previously got over the 5% threshold. Sure, they have issues at the moment, that doesn’t make them a fake party. United is a party of the centre who have gone both with National and Labour over time. They have had reasonable shares of the list vote, and Peter Dunne has held his seat for a long time. I don’t understand why the left keep pretending they’re fake parties, instead of saying that they don’t like the “win an electorate” rule, which would at least be a sensible argument (even if one I don’t agree with).

    2. I disagree that the electorate rule is a bad aspect of MMP. To me the intent of some of MMP’s rules is to avoid small and extreme parties – certainly that’s what I recall in the referendum where I voted for it. That means you need either 5% of the country to vote for you, or nearly half of all the voters in a seat. The logic being that in either case you can’t be too crazy. If we’re pointing fingers at elements of MMP that were recommended against and that create a clear rort in favour of a particular group, look to the Maori seats. As a construct they basically incentivise the creation of radical Maori parties, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what we’d want if we were trying to move to a colour blind NZ.

    Comment by PaulL — May 30, 2014 @ 4:19 am

  30. @kalvarnsen,

    Didn’t it? I thought that it was supposed to be an alternative to the 5% threshhold – a party must demonstrate either a broad support base across the whole country, or a more narrow support base in a limited geographic area, to qualify for list MPs.

    From the Electoral Commission’s report on its review of MMP.

    The original rationale for the one electorate seat threshold in New Zealand is not entirely clear from reading the Royal Commission’s report — its recommendation that it be included in New Zealand’s MMP model was not supported by argument. However, we understand it was originally developed in the context of the Royal Commission’s recommendations for Māori representation (which included the abolition of the Māori seats) and was based on the threshold waiver for the Danish minority in the German State of Schleswig-Holstein. It was seen as one of two mechanisms for Māori, and potentially Pasifika, parties to achieve parliamentary representation in line with their nationwide electoral support. The other mechanism was the waiver of the party vote threshold for parties primarily representing Māori interests.

    The one electorate seat threshold has served to mitigate the high 5% party vote threshold by reducing wasted votes and providing, for those parties that benefit from it, a more proportional outcome. However, this has been at the considerable cost of undermining some of the principles that underpin MMP: fairness and equity and the importance of the party vote in determining the overall make-up of Parliament.

    Members of the Royal Commission told us they have long regarded the one electorate seat threshold as their one mistake. In their view there are no good reasons to retain it and it should be abolished.

    @PaulL,

    If we’re pointing fingers at elements of MMP that were recommended against and that create a clear rort in favour of a particular group, look to the Maori seats. As a construct they basically incentivise the creation of radical Maori parties, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what we’d want if we were trying to move to a colour blind NZ.

    That’s a valid argument. But it’s pretty difficult to on the one hand say that Epsom voters ought to be able to decide for NZ that a political party is “not too crazy” to be in Parliament, while on the other say that the voters in the Te Tai Tokerau ought not to be able to choose a representative for themselves alone. After all, what is the particular “community of interest” (a key determinant of where electorate boundaries are drawn) that makes the voters in Epsom such a legitimate group to make such a decision for the nation as a whole?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 6:58 am

  31. There’s a pretty clear difference between saying …

    “Vote for the MP you’ve got, because he’s already there, thanks to your previous votes” (Anderton, Peters, Hide, Harawira, Dunne)

    and saying …

    “Vote for the candidate we foist on you” (Epsom Mark 2 and 3, and maybe Colin Craig if National are mad)

    The former is a minor party’s gamble, the latter is a major party’s abuse.

    Epsom voters might elect ACT’s Seymour in 2014 because they now have a gun to their heads, but that is all. His only qualification is who he is not. A mannequin would serve the same purpose. The others had some legitimacy, however limited, because they had already earned the votes in genuine contests.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — May 30, 2014 @ 7:36 am

  32. Good to know that it wasn’t ethics or principle that was stopping the left from performing electoral rorts in the past, it is just that they were too stupid to make it happen.
    It took a fat German capitalist with a grudge to organise it for you.

    Comment by King Kong — May 30, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  33. A question for Andrew, if the electoral law was revised to stop this process would this just shift the manipulation into other areas. It seems that MMP has set up this battle for the margins and the large parties will still want to connive for advantage.

    Comment by NeilM — May 30, 2014 @ 9:27 am

  34. A vote of thanks to Paddy. Well done.
    You see if Paddy had not written such an outstanding exposure of his biased and ill thought diatribe, we wouldn’t have been such an interesting well balanced discussion on this blog. Thanks danyl and all.

    Comment by xianmac — May 30, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  35. Good to know that it wasn’t ethics or principle that was stopping the left from performing electoral rorts in the past, it is just that they were too stupid to make it happen.

    They (sort of) did do it in the past. In 1999, there was a tacit agreement (never formalised) that Labour supporters in the Coromandel would help elect Janette Fitzsimmons (in the end, not needed as the Greens got over 5%). And in 2005, Labour didn’t campaign in Wigram (partly because they knew they wouldn’t win, but also to make certain Anderton got back in). The difference with Internet Mana is that it might actually be very effective!

    A question for Andrew, if the electoral law was revised to stop this process would this just shift the manipulation into other areas

    Not sure what that might mean. If we had a party-vote only threshold, then it is possible some larger party could encourage its supporters to give their party vote to a sympathetic smaller party that is falling just under the threshold. But that would come at a cost to the larger party – it would lose MPs as a result. The issue with the one electorate seat rule is that a larger party can game it without losing seats … National’s gifting Epsom to ACT just means that Paul Goldsmith becomes a list MP instead of an electorate one.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  36. “What is causing the right to get so upset?”

    Right-wingers (both the media, elected and American spook kind) understand that one day, National will lose an election.

    Their Plan B for this eventuality (failing a Blair/Lange style administration that’s actually to the right of National) is that we’ll get a term or three of a fairly conservative Labour government that will tinker around the edges but not make any real inroads into their privileges and power. Hence their undisguised man-love for Shane “I’m not on the left” Jones.

    The idea of a party that’s diametrically opposed to that being part of government is giving them nightmares.

    Comment by richdrich — May 30, 2014 @ 9:56 am

  37. Not sure what that might mean.

    I couldn’t think of an example. I was thinking that no system might be capable of expressing the true will of the people as it were. Not a reason not to tweak MMP but I’m skeptical it would put an end to this sort of debate.

    Comment by NeilM — May 30, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  38. I was thinking that no system might be capable of expressing the true will of the people as it were.

    Absolutely. The “will of the people” has no meaning outside of the process that is used to give expression to it. All we can ask is whether that process furthers or hinders values/principles that we think are important (while arguing all the time over what those values/principles ought to be, and the effect that the present process has on these).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 10:19 am

  39. Does anyone else find Gower’s writing style to be highly irritating?

    Why does he write like that?

    It’s not “punchy” or particularly easy to read.

    And I’m pretty sure a fifth-form english student would be marked poorly if they submitted writing like that.

    Every article of his I read I find myself wondering about the details of his proof-reading process.

    What does he make of his articles?

    Maybe he spends too much time on Twitter.

    Or could it be that he is incapable of holding more than a single sentence in his head at any one time?

    P.S. Cheers to Andrew Geddis for the great posts.

    Comment by Rob — May 30, 2014 @ 11:00 am

  40. P.S. Cheers to Andrew Geddis for the great posts.

    Yeah, well … no one takes the trip over to Pundit to read my stuff direct, so I have to parasite off blog posts that people actually read.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 11:05 am

  41. I am right wing and I’m not upset
    I think it’s funny that the old reds and their mates can sell out for so litt
    Minto has always been a pain in the arse and considering that he fell out with Trevor Richards over how ANC were running South Africa (minto wanted it to be a workers paradise)
    He now sells his principls for 30 pieces of silver
    They are competing now with the greens for the first time voter (young and stupid)
    This is very bad for the greens

    Comment by Graham — May 30, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  42. If I am wrong
    I am going to buy a lot of popcorn
    Because it will be a fun government
    Labour /nz first/ mana/greens
    What cabinet post will minto have?
    Part of me wants national to lose because it will destroy the left wing movement in New Zealand for a generation

    Comment by Graham — May 30, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  43. What the left was supposed to have done was be too pure to align itself with KDC in the first place.

    Comment by David Small — May 30, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

  44. Hang on a second.. Graham is Patrick Gower?

    Comment by Rob — May 30, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

  45. Thank you for the response Andrew. I still can’t see why the 1 seat threshold is worse than the 5% threshold though. Indeed in your NZ First example the real issue isn’t so much that Act was proportionally represented in parliament, but that NZ First was not. So surely the finger should be pointed at the 5% threshold. Of course if the 5% threshold were lowered to the natural threshold relating to the number of seats in the house, the one seat threshold would be redundant. The NZ First example is akin to a situation where two young lads are convicted of stealing a few loaves of bread. One, who stole two loaves of bread, gets a death sentence. The other, who stole three loaves of bread, gets off with a short prison sentence because he showed remorse and has a bright future (currently studying law). How unfair. Surely the second lad should also get the death sentence. We have thresholds that serve to act as barriers to proportionality. Some parties get their proportional representation by circumventing a barrier. How unfair on the others! Better deny them proportionality too lest that purpose of MMP (proportionality) be undermined!

    Comment by Swan — May 30, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

  46. The other, who stole three loaves of bread, gets off with a short prison sentence because he showed remorse and has a bright future (currently studying law).

    This would be a closer fit for Epsom if instead of being remorseful and having a bighter future, the little shit’s Dad was a golf buddy of the Judge.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 30, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

  47. Because it will be a fun government
    Labour /nz first/ mana/greens
    What cabinet post will minto have?

    You’re in for a real disappointment. We have a National/ACT/United Future/Maori Party government, it gave Banks a cabinet post, and ‘fun’ has been conspicuous only by its absence. This whole thing of multi-party governments with certifiable loonies as cabinet ministers being entertaining is a crock.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 30, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

  48. So surely the finger should be pointed at the 5% threshold.

    It was, by a great many submissions to the commission, including mine. They even recommended lowering it slightly – natch, that recommendation also was shitcanned by the government.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 30, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

  49. So surely the finger should be pointed at the 5% threshold.

    No disagreement with you there. I think it should be 2.5%. The Electoral Commission thought it should be 4%. Others think it should not exist at all (though in reality this means an effective threshold of about 0.4%). There’s a real debate to be had over that issue. But it isn’t the same as the list threshold vs the one seat threshold.

    However, in regards your somewhat odd analogy … yes!!! It would be incredibly wrong for one person to be sentenced to death for stealing (say) 3 loaves of bread, while another person who stole 4 loaves got only a short prison sentence. That would be such an iniquitous state of affairs that whatever “rule” caused it to happen ought to immediately be got rid of.

    But I suspect we’re running into already gone over territory here. You can read what I think here: http://pundit.co.nz/content/plus-ca-change-and-all-that. The Electoral Commission’s views are here: http://www.mmpreview.org.nz/have-your-say/final-report. If they don’t convince you, then cest la vie and vive la differance.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 30, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

  50. “Yeah, well … no one takes the trip over to Pundit to read my stuff direct”

    Not quite no-one. But I find Pundit so slooow to load….it’s a deterrent😦

    Comment by aj — May 30, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

  51. Gower is upset because someone is doing politics without his involvement or consent.

    A primal outburst.

    Comment by George — May 30, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  52. @rich: I wouldn’t presume their love of Jones is that long term. I think there’s a policy of bigging up whoever is seen as the main alternative to the Labour leader of the moment in order to encourage leadership speculation in Labour. We used to hear about how scary Cunliffe is, and I think we can expect to start getting a lot of guff about how much they respect Grant Robertson soonish.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 30, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  53. Andrew Geddis: “They (sort of) did do it in the past. In 1999, there was a tacit agreement (never formalised) that Labour supporters in the Coromandel would help elect Janette Fitzsimmons (in the end, not needed as the Greens got over 5%).”

    To be fair the Greens probably reached 5% thanks to the confidence more people had that their vote wouldn’t be wasted.

    Coromandel’s interesting in itself, I think. It was a fairly safely won National seat in 1996, and again in 2002, but mostly against a vote split between other parties. Labour only came 4th in ’96 after National, the Alliance and NZF.

    It was the informal arrangement which enabled Jeanette Fitzsimons to get more votes than National’s candidate (I can’t remember who that was), much to Labour’s convenience, but it’s not as if a brilliantly polling Labour Party simply told its overwhelming force of Coromandel supporters to vote for a puppet candidate from another party “for the greater good”… That’s basically what seems to happen in Epsom these days as far as I can tell and what might happen in some electorate for Colin Craig if National goes that way, but Jeanette Fitzsimons definitely wasn’t without her own support to begin with.

    IMHO the electorate vote part of MMP would work better with a preference-based system to avoid all the vote splitting stuff, but I guess that all has to be weighed against making the system more tedious than many voters could be bothered with.

    Comment by izogi — May 30, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

  54. C’mon everybody – let’s all join the Internet Party. Because of the cynical rejection of MMP recommendations from the review this year, I had already decided to VOTE for a small party. Now I have this one that I will vote for. I also intend to join and help. We’ll show them won’t we!

    Comment by Evan — May 30, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  55. Just checking – did this bit…

    “It is a grubby deal, made all the worse by the fact Harawira holds the Te Tai Tokerau seat – a Maori seat.”

    …not strike anyone else as incredibly racist and patronising?

    Comment by Daniel — May 30, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  56. Great discussion on the electoral system. I would like to point out that, in the uproar over coat-tailing, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Epsom and Ohariu, neither of which functioned as coat-tailing electorates, represent another, distinct rort : they are “free” seats for National, because they don’t count against its list MPs. And this is a lot harder to counter : nothing stops a dozen National MPs in safe seats resigning from the party and forming their own personal party. I’m not sure how to fix this. Perhaps a provision that you can’t win an electorate seat unless your list beats a certain threshold?🙂

    Comment by AlistairC — May 31, 2014 @ 12:55 am

  57. Take that National. wait now for the drone over Keys house c/~ Mana Pasífika and Internet ethnic branches.

    Comment by takafly — May 31, 2014 @ 8:42 am

  58. nothing stops a dozen National MPs in safe seats resigning from the party and forming their own personal party. I’m not sure how to fix this.

    True that. It is, however, a bit of a high-risk manoeuvre personally (i.e. if the gambit fails and the electorate doesn’t play along, then they are out on their ears). Also, even if it works, it has reputational consequences … I think that the “cup of tea” move in Epsom hurt National’s party vote, and I think that’s the reason that they’re being so coy about any similar moves this time around.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — May 31, 2014 @ 8:49 am

  59. “…Gower is upset because someone is doing politics without his involvement or consent.

    A primal outburst…”

    Hammer. Nail. Head. These guys are petrified that the anti-establishment might get some traction. Gower, Garner, Armstrong – they part of an establishment elite that the revelations of the KDC affair has ascertained to be venal, lying, incompetent and completely self-serving. The fear is palpable. What might happen to the cosy lunches, the off the record chats at parties if John Minto was there? Heaven forbid, those bounder would likely blow their noses on the linen napkins!

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 31, 2014 @ 8:58 am


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