Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nats want to revisit MMP

So says the Sunday Star Times. Actually the Sunday Star Times (which has tended to be friendly towards Labour) said "MMP Future in Doubt undr National", implying the Nats would abolish it, rather than hold a referendum. Bit of spin there that Labour will be happy about.
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Well frankly I don't care much either way. Why? Because I can't get very excited about the different ways you can count heads, rather than what's in them. I opposed MMP for the same reason, and because most of its advocates were Alliance retards, xenophobic Winston groupies or academics. The fact the NZ media didn't for a moment ever probe how organised leftwing support was for MMP is a damning indictment on how uncritical it was in the early 1990s. The truth is the switch to MMP was a reaction to the reforms of the times, a referendum on politicians which ended up putting more in Parliament!
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What's crazy is that talking about abolishing MMP hands Winston Peter another "conspiracy of those rich bastards" story to wind up the talkback listening economically illiterate xenophobic mediocrity mob.
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Of course if the Nats want to make a serious difference with electoral reform they could just abolish the Maori seats - but that would require having courage of your convictions, but there is neither courage nor convictions with the Nats nowadays. Abolishing the Maori seats would improve proportionality, and better match constituencies to constituents, but it wont happen. The Nats aren't prepared to answer the inevitable gutter comments from the left of "racism".
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Another worthwhile option would be having runoffs or preferences for constituency seats. This means that any seats without 50% of the vote to a single candidate would see the top two have a runoff. Clearly if MMP remains, this could be bolted on and make little difference, except for parties below the 5% threshold relying on a single constituency (4 do at the moment).
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Meanwhile, the polls are showing the Nats may get a whopping majority. Of course this wont quite happen. The polls underestimate the support Labour has from those who don't answer polls as often as angry middle class voters - low income Maori and Pacific Island voters - the people Labour likes to frighten. Don't forget how National's win on election night 2005 was eroded away when the large south Auckland constituencies came through.
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It's worth noting some of the poll findings though. Clearly voters on the left have started to be a bit clever, with the Greens at 6%. Leftwing voters may have got the idea that if Labour is bound to lose, they may as well cast a vote for a party that reflects their beliefs. This could be the Green's best election in a while.
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By contrast ACT has inspired no one with only 1%. You'd think ACT could also take advantage of the same trend in reverse, as the Nats are guaranteed victory a vote for ACT could better reflect values of smaller government and reform. It isn't working yet.
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The more telling result is that the vast majority of voters want tax cuts, income, GST and fuel. Now setting aside the arguments about GST and fuel (which I think deserve greater scrutiny and I do not support as such), it shows a strong majority in favour of government taking LESS money from everyone. Those on the left who think the opposite may pause to think, whereas National and ACT might just wonder why they can't simply reflect, in one way or another, what people want?

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