Parties split on MMP recommendations
Mon, 13 Aug 2012 6:18p.m.
By Tova O'Brien
Smaller parties would find it easier to get into Parliament under changes proposed by the Electoral Commission.
The 5 percent of votes parties need to be elected would be lowered to a 4 percent threshold, possibly even 3.
But the loophole known as "coat-tailing", which allows just a single electorate MP to bring in other list MPs, would be abolished.
For John Banks, the cup of tea with Prime Minister John Key last year represented a lifeline for his floundering party. For Mr Key, it was the chance the ACT Party could get more than just one MP into Parliament on the back of the Epsom win.
"There's always been gerrymandering by political parties," says Mr Banks.
The electorate seat threshold, also known as "coat-tailing" or "piggy-backing", helped ACT get five MPs into Parliament in 2008 with only 3.6 percent of the vote. It's also the single biggest concern voters have about the MMP system, so the Electoral Commission wants it gone.
"The one-seat threshold has proven to be inequitable and unfair in operation," says chief electoral officer Rob Peden.
"It's called MMP. It's here to stay. That's the name of the game. Why change the game?" asks Mr Banks.
Peter Dunne, who also got a nod from Mr Key at the last election, also wants to keep the clause, saying the public knows when they're being played.
"They reject policies they think are gimmicks or they eject electoral stunts," says Mr Dunne, "and I think to suggest that they're not capable of drawing those distinctions and making those judgements is a bit of an insult to their intelligence."
Mr Dunne supports the recommendation to lower the party vote threshold from 5 to 4 percent, the amount New Zealand First secured in 2008, but leader Winston Peters doesn't.
"We're not in this game for our venal self-interest," he says. "We're for 5 percent even though 4 percent would've suited us two elections ago. We're for 5 percent because it's about stability and proper representation."
Submissions on the draft proposal are open until September 7. The Electoral Commission wants the changes to be adopted before the 2014 election.
Some would say that's far too optimistic. The Government has only committed to carefully consider the final, non-binding paper.
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3/09/2012 11:39:25 a.m.
To curb undue party influence and corruption by lobbyiests on government, list MPs should not have cabinate posts. If parties want a electoral manadate then they should stand by the electorate results.The system is now too self corrupting to be called a democracy by any literal meaning of the word.
14/08/2012 8:04:03 a.m.
Who else has coat-tailed?AllianceManaMaoriNZ FirstUnitedSince the Greens have never won an electoral seat, they haven't, but they would have if they could, just they haven't been popular enough to get any electoral seats.Smaller parties would find it easier to get into parliment?Lets take elections since MMP was introduced, and apply these recommendations to those past elections.Take the number of MP's small parties had in parliment under the existing system, and take the number of MP's they would have under the new recommnedations. Now I know its not hard to add 2+2, but it seams those on the commission lack that ability as the smaller parties would find it more difficult to get representation under the new proposals - ie the opposite of what the comission is claiming. Why is the commission lying to the NZ public? No small party has held NZ to ransom. The pettiness of the 2 largest parties, mostly on the Labour side, has allowed small parties to get more from them than they deserved (eg NZ First with Labour). Its like having 2 shops selling something, and if you go between them you may be able to push the price down, but only if the 2 shops allow you too. Here a commission would be blaming the customer for shopping around when the shops set the price.The 2 main parties of Labour/National need to address their pettiness issues.
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