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Posts Tagged ‘Vote for Change’

Some thoughts on the anti-MMP campaign

15 December 2011 1 comment

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With the referendum come and gone, it’s worthwhile looking back at the anti-MMP clique,  the so-called “Vote for Change“.

As far as campaigns go, “Vote for Change” had to be one of the most amateurish in living memory.

First, it was uncovered that “Vote for Change” was to be organised by National and ACT apparatchiks. People like Simon Lusk, David Farrar, Cameron Slater, and Jordan Williams – all deeply connected or associated,  in one way or another, with right wing politics,

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Full Story

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If those revelations were deliberately “leaked” to the media for free publicity – it was not a “good look” to let the public know that “Vote for Change” was a front-organisation for National and ACT.

If that leak was not authorised, then someone in the “Vote for Change” camp was not happy. An unhappy camper was not a very auspicious start.

Then, it was discovered by another blogger, Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, of “Tumeke”, that one of “Vote for Change’s” supporters was a white-supremacist who advocated nazi-style racial separation,

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Full Story

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Vote for Change” was quickly developing an image as an elitist club for assorted right wingers.

The only exception to “Vote for Change’s” roll call of conservative businesspeople; right wing politicians; and National/ACT activists was former Labour Party president and Waitakere mayor, Bob Harvey.

But he quickly realised the political bed-fellows he was associating with, and made his own call to quit,

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Full Story

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These were fatal blows to the anti-MMP lobby group. They never really recovered from these gaffes and the public perception was of a conservative organisation that was wanting to take New Zealand backward, to the days of single-party Parliamentary rule.

Even “Vote for Change’s” announcement on 29 October that their group had chosen SM (Supplementary Member) to promote as an alternative to MMP was seen by many as a return to FPP-by-the-back-door. It was another blow to their credibility; “Vote for Change” was not advocating change at all.

It was a strategic mistake for “Vote for Change” to promote SM. SM was the least known of all electoral systems, and in the 1992 referendum had polled the lowest at just over 5%.

If  “Vote for Change” had really wanted change – they should have chosen STV. But they did not – STV is also a proportional system and that is the last thing Williams, Lusk, Farrar, et al wanted for New Zealand.

It was blindingly obvious that their  agenda was to destroy any semblance of multi-party government and replace proportional representation with a system that would allow for single-party rule.

They were seeking absolute power for National.

Most people, I believe got this. Older, Baby Boomers, of a liberal persuasion, had unpleasant memories of the outrageous  abuses of power by Muldoon, Douglas, Bolger,  Richardson, et al.

Younger people who had no experience of FPP regimes most likely had no interest in a system that favoured only two parties and reduced their choices. (Neo-liberals, in this respect, had successfully socially re-engineered NZ society to prefer choice over a two-party, take-it-or-leave-it, offering.)

Aside from National Party supporters, New Zealanders did not want to take A Giant Leap Backwards.  “Vote for Change” offered nothing except an old, discredited electoral system, and fear-mongering,

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Source

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Using Winston Peters as a scare-mongering tactic was not just clumsy – but evidence that “Vote for Change” had no real intellectual rigour in promoting their cause. Demonising one man – as disliked as he might be by some voters – is not really a sensible reason to throw out MMP and turn our entire electoral system upside down, on it’s head.

This was the tactics of spoilt children who could give no other reason to cater to their whims except, “do it –  or else!”.

Not exactly a  convincing  argument.

But perhaps the best example of a *facepalm* situation was having National Party candidate, Simon Bridges (now MP),  on their website,

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Source

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Bridges was positively fuming when he complained,

It gets under my goat that list MPs are not subject to direct democracy.  They’re chosen by a small power elite in each party, so MMP has taken power off the voter.”

FYI: Simon Bridges was #30 on National’s  Party List. Had he not won the electorate of  Tauranga, he would have returned to Parliament as a Party List MP.

That would’ve been interesting.

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Additional

Pundit: I’ve just been internalising a really complicated situation in my head

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Election Eleven – Saturday

26 November 2011 12 comments

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Election Eleven – Saturday

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National has won the election, and, seemingly increased it’s Party vote from 44% to 48%.

Despite running a policy-based campaign based on important issues, Labour has suffered a major setback.

The Greens, meanwhile, have done stunningly well.

And Winston Peters was the sole beneficiary of the  “cuppa tea” meeting in Epsom.

Some initial observations…

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ACT

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The “cuppa tea” meeting between the Two Johns has proven to be a futile exercise. The sole gain for ACT was to return John Banks (a former National MP) to Parliament – but with no extra MPs “riding on his coat-tails”.

In effect, there was no profit for National to support ACT. National might as well not bothered and simply supported Paul Goldsmith.

ACT’s continuing existence is now at the pleasure of Dear Leader, John Key.

By 2014, ACT will most likely disappear.

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Green Party Voters – Ohariu

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Green Party members in the Ohariu electorate – you people need to learn to count and to understand the concept of tactical voting.

By giving your electorate vote to the local Green candidate, Gareth Hughes, instead of Charles Chauvel, you have allowed Peter Dunne to return to Parliament and give National an extra coalition partner.

National wishes to thank you for your assistance in returning a centre-right government to power.

Similar results have occurred in other electorates, where Green supporters voted for their Electorate candidate,  instead of voting strategically, with a Labour/Green split.

For example; Waitakere:

Paula Bennett (N): 12,310

Carmel Sepulone (L): 11,961

Steve Tollestrup (G):  1,582

1,582 wasted electorate votes for the Green candidate could have helped the Labour cadidate defeat Paula Bennett. Instead, Carmel Sepulone – a very talented Labour candidate – has lost her seat in Parliament.

Similar instances abound in other electorates.

*facepalm*

Next time, Green Voters,  ease up on the wacky-bakky before you vote.

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Asset Sales

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By voting National, New Zealanders have given National the mandate to sell state assets. That’s our assets. Or rather, they used to be our assets. Pretty shortly, they will belong to Americans, Germans, Chinese, Australians.

Congratulations, fellow New Zealanders, you’ve succeeded in giving away our best performing; most profitable publicly-owned; assets.

After our electricity companies are sold off,  wait till you get you next power bills. When power prices begin to rise, as overseas owners demand higher and higher returns on their investments, you will be reminded that we did this to ourselves. No one forced us to sell.

Aren’t we a clever bunch?

Not.

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Maori Party

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Pita Sharples has stated that the Maori Party will oppose asset sales as National’s coalition partner.

Oh dear lord…

Sharples needs to look at the rules of Supply & Confidence. Specifically, if National makes asset sales a part of their budget; and the Maori Party votes down that budget; they will have denied the National-led government Supply, which in turn will force a snap election.

Does the Maori Party want to force a snap election and suffer the wrath of the voting public?

Do they want to risk electoral annihilation at the hands of annoyed voters? I doubt it.

Checkmate.

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Horizon Polling

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The biggest loser of the night, few will take Horizon Polling seriously after tonight’s election results.

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MMP

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The BIG winner of the night; New Zealanders have voted to retain MMP. This was due in part to “Vote for Change” mounting the most pathetic, incompetant, and and mostly invisible campaign in this country’s history.

And Jordan Williams had the cheek to blame the media for “not having a debate” on the issue?

Jordan Williams needs to take responsibility for his Claytons-campaign. Blaming the media  may work for Winston Peters – but coming from others, it is not a good look.

MMP won because,

  • It is relatively  simple to understand,
  • The alternatives were unfair; unworkable; or hellishly  complex to understand,
  • New Zealanders simply didn’t feel inclined to change.

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Labour

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Was this a defeat for Labour?

No. I see it as a postponement of a victory.

In the next three years, as National’s policies really start to bite low and middle income earners, and those at the top increase their wealth, Labour’s time will come in 2014 (if not earlier – see Maori Party above).

I am picking a snap election in a years’ time, or mid-term.

And this time, National will lose.

As for Phil Goff – I hope he doesn’t step down. I think he’s actually grown in stature over the last few weeks. He won two of the three Leader’s Debates handsomely, and is able to pin down John Key on issues.

With the media/Key honeymoon well and truly over, Goff now has a chance to show up National’s weaknesses to the public.

The campaign for the next election starts on Monday.

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Additional

Post mortem #1: Green Voters in Electorates

Post mortem #2: Phil Goff

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Latest Horizon Poll – released today!

24 November 2011 5 comments

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The latest Horizon Poll has been released today, with results on,

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  • the electoral system referendum
  • political party ratings
  • Maori voting intentions

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Electoral system referendum

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MMP is still the preferred option, with FPP coming in second place. This will no doubt annoy the heck out of the “Vote for Change” lobby group, who chose the FPP-variant, Supplementary Member (SM) as their preferred option.

Big mistake, boys. I know why you did it – you believed that FPP was tainted by past political abuses of power (which is correct) and that Supplementary  Member would be a welcome alternative. “Vote for Change” even touted SM as a “compromise between FPP and MMP – which it isn’t, of course. But you relied on low-information voters not knowing this and following your lead.

Unfortunately for “Vote for Change”, their non-existant campaign achieved very little. In fact, it was distinctly amateurish, to put it mildly.

The results,

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Full Results

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Political party ratings

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As usual, Horizon Polling results differ markedly from Roy Morgan, Herald-Digipoll, et al, because Horizon prompts Undecided respondants to state a preference. Other pollsters also often do not include Undecideds when calculating their percentages.

The poll results,

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Full Results

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It’s interesting to note that the poll results for ACT, Labour, and the Greens match very closely other political opinion polls – only the result for National is markedly different.

For example, a Fairfax Media-Research International poll released yesterday had the following results;

  • Labour – 26%
  • Greens – 12%
  • ACT – 0.7%

Very similar results to the Horizon Poll, with two important exceptions – Fairfax had the following results for National and NZ First;

  • National – 54%
  • NZ First – 4%

Significantly different to the Horizon Poll.

As the poll above stands, a Labour-led government is possible, with NZ First support. (And woe betide Winston Peters if he plays silly-buggers with Supply & Confidence.)

The election results will point to which company has gauged voter preferences the most accurately.

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Maori voting intentions

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As Maori politics follows Pakeha political movement and fragmentation along classic Left/Right lines, Mana and Maori Parties are becoming critical potentional partners for National and Labour. (Phil Goff may say he won’t go into Coalition with the Mana Party – but I believe he will need Hone Harawira’s Supply & Confidence to govern. He is hardly likely to turn down Mana Party support – critical if the left are to win on Saturday.)

Party Vote Results:

  • Labour is attracting 27.6% of Maori nationwide
  • Mana 14.9%
  • Maori Party 14.9%
  • NZ First 11.3%
  • Green 11% and
  • National 9.5%.

Full Results

It is interesting to note that, generally speaking, Maori still favour Labour-led government;

  • 20% of Maori want the Maori Party to enter a post-election coalition agreement with National.
  • 53.5% would prefer it enter a Labour coalition.
  • 45.8% of Maori would prefer Mana to enter a coalition agreement with Labour, 9.2% National.

If Horizon Polling is accurate – and I believe that their results are more realistic than the 50%, 53%, 56%, results that other polling companies have been coming up with  – then National is on-course to being a one-term government.

And if John Key follows comments he made earlier this year, he will resign from Parliament.

Interesting times, indeed…

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Supplementary Member system – it’s a bloody rort!

30 October 2011 2 comments

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“Supplementary Member” – It’s a rort!

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Full Story

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When “Vote for Change” spokesperson, Jordan Williams makes the claim that, “there is growing consensus that Supplementary Member is a good compromise between MMP and First Past the Post” – he is, of course creating a new “reality” to suit his group’s political agenda.

For one thing, “there is growing consensus that Supplementary Member is a good compromise” – is not true. There is no such “consensus”, growing or otherwise.

In fact, a poll conducted by UMR Research Ltd in May showed only 3% of voters supported that system,

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Full Story

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Williams’ claim that “Supplementary Member is a good compromise between MMP and First Past the Post” is also nonsensical wishful thinking.

MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) is a proportional system.  The number of MPs is determined (generally) by the percentage of Party Votes that a political party wins.

For example, if the Greens get 10% of the Party Vote, they get 10% of the seats in Parliament: 12 (10% of 120 = 12)

FPP (First Past the Post) is not proportional. The results of how many seats a political  party wins is purely random. In fact, in 1978 and 1981, Labour won more seats than National – but because of the vaguaries of FPP, National was given more seats in Parliament. (FPP is quite  arbitrary in the results it throws up.)

SM (Supplementary Member) is simply another version of FPP – but with “add-ons”.  It is not proportional.

To quote the Electoral Commission’s own website,

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SM – Supplementary Member

There are 120 Members of Parliament. There are 90 electorates, including the Maori electorates. Each elects one MP, called an Electorate MP.  The other 30 seats are called supplementary seats. MPs are elected to these seats from political party lists and are likely to be called List MPs.
Each voter gets two votes.
The first vote is to choose the MP the voter wants to represent the electorate they live in. This is called the electorate vote. The candidate who gets the most votes wins. They do not have to get more than half the votes.
The second vote is for the political party the voter chooses. This is called the party vote. The share of the 30 supplementary seats each party gets reflects its share of the party vote.
For example, if a party gets 30% of the party vote, it will get about 9 List MPs in Parliament (being 30% of the 30 supplementary seats) no matter how many electorate seats it wins.
This makes SM different from MMP where a party’s share of all 120 seats mirrors its share of the party vote.
One or other of the major parties would usually have enough seats to govern alone, but coalitions or agreements between parties may sometimes be needed.

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To paint a picture of the difference between MMP and SM;

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MMP

Proportional?

– Yes

Does the percentage of voter support equate to seats in Parliament?

– Yes. With some rare exceptions,  parties gain only as much seats as the percentage of Party Votes they win.

Eg; 25% of Party votes = 25% of Parliamentary seats (30)

50% of Party votes = 50% of Parliamentary seats (60)

Etc.

Can one of the Big Two parties win more seats than their Party Vote entitles them?

– Generally, no.

Is MMP fairer to voters who vote for small parties such as the Greens, ACT, etc?

– Yes. Supporters of smaller parties stand a better chance of representation than under FPP or SM.

Do unelected Party List MPs get into Parliament under MMP?

– No. This is a myth. Party List MPs are firstly selected by their own Party members. Then, to win a seat in Parliament,  that Party must win over 5% of the Party List votes (or an electorate). So the Green’s 9 MPs were elected into Parliament by 157,613  New Zealanders voting for them. Likewise, ACT’s 4 MPs were elected by 85,496 New Zealanders voting for ACT.

How many seats will there be in a MMP Parliament?

– 120

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SM

Proportional?

– No

Does the percentage of voter support equate to seats in Parliament?

– No. A Party can win more seats than voter support. That is, because as with FPP, a candidate can win a seat with as little as 30% of the electorate vote. There is little correlation between percentages of voter support to final seat numbers.

Can one of the Big Two parties win more seats than their Party Vote entitles them?

– Yes. As with FPP, this will be quite likely.

Is SM fairer to voters who vote for small parties such as the Greens, ACT, etc?

– No. Smaller parties who can’t win electorate seats, and rely instead on the Party Vote, will win only a few seats.

Do unelected Party List MPs get into Parliament under SM?

– No. Again, Party List MPs will be voted in by ticking the appropriate Party Vote. The big difference is that there will be a under-representationfor those New Zealanders who happen to support parties other than National or Labour.

How many seats will there be in a SM Parliament?

– 120

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An example of what a SM-style election result might  look like would be  the 1984 General Election, which was held under FPP,

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Final results for NZ General Election (1984)

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Under MMP, the final shape of Parliament might have looked like this, given the same percentages translated to Party Votes,

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Final results for NZ General Election (1984) - Projected, under MMP System

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Anti-MMP proponent, Jordan Williams, claims that SM “ is a good compromise between MMP and First Past the Post“. It clearly is nothing of the sort.

MMP is already a compromise between FPP and proportional representation because  70 of the seats in Parliament are still elected under FPP. The rest, 50,  are proportionally allocated according to each party’s Party Vote.

SM is simply FPP, with add-ons. The small number of proportionally-allocated seats under SM (thirty out of 120), do not result in a proportional Parliament. It does not give fair representation for smaller Parties. And more importantly; it returns dominance to the Big Two: Labour and National.

And by sheer “coincidence”, the majority  of “Vote for Change” supporters are also National supporters. This is because under FPP or SM, National (or Labour) could govern on their own, without any real break on their executive power.

Past history has shown us – whether under Muldoon’s strictly regimented, centralised economy  – or under Labour’s Rogernomics – than both National and Labour will ram through policies without smaller parties exercising a “braking” effect on their political power. In effect, they have “unbridled power”, as Sir Geoffrey Palmer once said.

Personally, I do not trust politicians with such unbridled power (even ones I vote for). Not because politicians are inherently “evil” – they are not “evil” – but being human, are liable to make mistakes like the rest of us.

MMP at least gives us an opportunity to put the brakes on politicians.

SM is taking the brakes off – and putting your foot on the accelerator for three years.

No thanks. That is why, on 26 November, I will tick the MMP box, to Make Mine Proportional.

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“Vote for Change” and a Big Leap Backwards…

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Having looked at the “Vote for Change” website, their statements are highly subjective and some are downright misleading. For example,

MMP allows List MPs who have been voted out by their local electorates to sneak back into Parliament on party lists.”

This is only half the truth. What V.f.C has “forgotten” to tell the reader is that any candidate  who enters Parliament on the Party List is there because New Zealand voters ticked the Party List vote for that particular party.

Eg; The Attorney General, Christopher Finlayson, stood as National’s candidate in the Rongotai Electorate in the 2008 election. Finlayson failed to win in Rongotai, and was beaten by Labour’s candidate, Annette King.

However, Chris Finlayson won 10,594 Electorate Votes (as opposed to Ms King’s 19,614 electorate votes) and also won 11,950 Party List votes. In total, Finlayson won 22,544 votes.

So Chris Finlayson did not “sneak” back into Parliament: he was elected with 22,544 Electorate and Party votes.

Opponents to MMP, generally, will often skew situations to suit their own p.o.v.

There is more on V.f.C’s website that is a blatant misrepresentation of  the truth… but I’ll leave that for another day.

Instead, I can reaffirm that this blog author supports retaining MMP, and will vote accordingly on 26 November.

I encourage you to do likewise.

Thank you.

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Additional

Electoral Commission: Referendum 2011

Campaign for MMP | Facebook

Campaign for MMP

“Vote For Change”

MMP Or SM? A Big Decision Looms For New Zealand Voters

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