Home > The Body Politic > John “I can’t recall” Banks, on MMP…

John “I can’t recall” Banks, on MMP…



The Electoral Commission’s final report on reviewing the MMP electoral system was tabled today in Parliament.

The four main changes to the system are,

  • Lowering the party threshold from 5% to 4%
  • Abolishing the one electorate seat threshold, which allows other MPs to enter Parliament on the “coat-tails” of a candidate who have won an Electorate Seat
  • Abolishing the provision for overhang seats
  • That Parliament consider fixing the percentage ratio of electorate to seats at 60:40

This blogger supported the first two options (neutral on the last two). Not because ACT could have gained extra MPs if Banks had won just a few thousand more Party List votes – but because the electorate seat threshold was being openly rorted by John Key and John Banks.

It is that rule which benefits small Parties – which while not crossing  the 5% (or 4%) threshold – can still gain extra MPs in Parliament. Because  an Electorate win gives that Party a “dispensation” from the 5%/4% Threshold.

The entire country witnessed the farce of the infamous  “cuppa tea” meeting, last year,  between Banks and Key at the Urban Cafe, in Epsom,




It was an unedifying spectacle and public disquiet over the workings of MMP  threatened the very existence of proportional representation in New Zealand.

However, National-cum-ACT MP, John Banks, appears to have taken exception to the Electoral Commission’s  second option;  abolishing the one electorate seat threshold. Indeed, he was a very, very unhappy chappy.

Banks was reported today saying,

Voting systems benefit from infrequent change. Voters will not have any confidence in the electoral system if it can be continually tinkered with.”

See: MMP review recommends lower party threshold

That’s interesting.

Banks is worried that making changes to an electoral system, despite over-whelming support through public submissions, somehow threatens public  “confidence in the electoral system “?!

That is a very noble sentiment.

In which case, one wonders how ACT could support the repeal of  “31 redundant acts of parliament and 206 unnecessary regulations“?!

See: ACT Policies – Economy

One would think that changing the law 31 times and removing 206 pieces of regulation might threaten public  “confidence in the Parliamentary law-making system “?!

Or, implement the following radical policies, from ACT’s on-line manifesto,

• Push the next government to reduce wasteful spending.  In 2005, Labour was spending 29 per cent of the national income.  Today, the same figure is 35 per cent.  ACT would push the next government to return spending to the level it was at in 2005 by repealing the “election bribe” spending of the past two elections with a view toward getting the top personal tax rate down to 25% and the company tax rate to 12.5%;

• Push the next government to lock in lower taxes by passing ACT’s Spending Cap Bill into law.  The Bill would require government spending to increase only by the level of inflation and population growth.  By reducing government spending and taxes, it would increase the rewards for wealth creation;
• Push the next government to pass ACT’s Regulatory Standards Bill.  The Bill would test all new regulations for unnecessary red tape, making it easier to do business;
• Sell state assets such as power generation companies; the overwhelming evidence is that such valuable assets produce more wealth when managed privately;
• Allow more mining when the economic benefits outweigh the environmental costs.

See: Ibid

It’s paradoxical that ACT supports a complete radical make-over of our social, legal, and economic systems – and thinks nothing of it.

But when the  Electoral Commission wants to implement a few changes to MMP,  old Banksie is suddenly worried that “voters will not have any confidence in the electoral system if it can be continually tinkered with“??’

But even stranger is this report, from AUT University’s publication, “Te Waha Nui”, last year,

But Banks himself would rather the MMP meal ticket be scrapped completely.

I favour the STV system (Single Transferable Vote),” Banks says.

He declined to explain what elements of the MMP system he disliked, or why he felt STV was a more attractive option. “

See: John Banks backs STV over MMP

So John Banks thinks making four amendments to MMP will damage voter “confidence in the electoral system” . But changing from MMP to STV – two radically different electoral systems – is perfectly ok?

Cutting to the chase.

This has nothing to do with damaging voter “confidence in the electoral system“.

We all know this.

John Banks’ only concerns in this matter is John Banks. Or more to the point, getting John Banks back into Parliament in 2012, preferably with a couple of extra ACT cronies.

Banks knows that the “coat tailing” effect of the Electoral Threshold  is the reason for Epsom voters to support him. Vote for Banks and as long as ACT’s Party Vote is over 1.2%, you get two ACT MPs for the price of one.

But take away the Electorate threshold and the “coat tail” effect, and voting for Banks gets you – one ACT MP; John Banks. Unless ACT reaches the new 4% Party threashold (about as likely as me spontaneously combusting), ACT get’s no extra MPs.

In which case there is no point in any more cosy “arrangements”  between ACT and National, and Epsom voters will simply drop back to their default-setting to voting for their own National Party candidate.

Banks would have to win Epsom on his own ‘merits’. *cough, cough*

Fat chance.

Epsomites have had a gutsful of this mendacious, memory-challenged, clown, and want to see the back of him as much as the rest of the country.

We all know that Banks is utterly self-serving when it comes to politics.

Does he have to keep proving it to us with bare-faced lies about “voters will not have any confidence in the electoral system if it can be continually tinkered with “?”

We know he’s lying.

Stop reminding us.




Previous related blogposts

Some thoughts on MMP (13 December 2011)

John Banks: condition deteriorating (14 August 2012)



= fs =

  1. Mark B
    5 November 2012 at 11:24 pm

    The changes are ridiculous. I’d agree with the removal of seat entry if the list entry threshold was dropped to something that would make a difference (ie 1 or 2%). These changes make it harder for small parties to enter the House.

    • 5 November 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Dropping the Party threshold to 4% may make a bif difference, Mark. And I think voters will be more inclined to support smallrer Parties knowing that a 4% threshold is easier to attain than a 5% one…

      • Mark B
        6 November 2012 at 1:59 am

        Frank I disagree – weather a party on 1% needs to get 5% or 4% it won’t change the likelihood of most people voting for them or not. Further, without seat entry some people will be *less* likely to vote for a party no where near the 5/4% threshold. As above, t will make it harder for small parties: My first choice party is wasted under the current rules, but both my first and second choices will be wasted under the proposed new rules.

    • 6 November 2012 at 4:52 pm

      The whole point of the threshold is to prevent small parties entering parliament. Apparently, giving some people a voice in parliament will make government too unstable.

      Translation: The status quo might actually be challenged.

      I actually with the changes as they are but think we should keep working to lower the threshold and more democratic government.

      • 6 November 2012 at 8:31 pm

        I’d support the next review looking at dropping the Party threshold again, from 4% to 3%…

      • Samwise
        7 November 2012 at 9:42 pm

        Or just prevent nutty groups like Destint Church getting into Parliament? Do we really need the local branch of the Taliban in Parliament?

  2. PS
    5 November 2012 at 11:42 pm

    There’s an intiative….educating the public about the potential a new party could have based on the lower threshold. We need new young blood…no wealth, no connections, …articulate, passionate…..

  3. 5 November 2012 at 11:57 pm

    We will have to wait and see what happens frank…

  4. Possum
    6 November 2012 at 8:21 am

    you gotta know the govt will only change rule 2 benefit them, how about they make voting compulsary, now that wld be a better option 4 all……sooner we get rid of act and maori party the better.

  5. Samwise
    7 November 2012 at 9:40 pm

    More self-serving rubbish from this corrupt fool. The sooner he’s gone from politics the better. If Epsom voters aren’t regretting voting for him they are as bad as he is.

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