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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Coat-tailing etc.

Coat-tailing, dinner-jacketing, sleeve-pulling, belt-looping, shoe-lacing, hat-tilting... and a cup of tea.

MMP is about proportional representation and making as many votes count toward representation as possible.  In the our MMP system, the second part - making votes count - is imperfect as we have many wasted votes to parties under the arbitrary and high 5% threshold.  As much as it may upset people the coat-tailing provision inside an imperfect system does make more votes count and so is more democratic than not having it.  Labour's vow to put up legislation to end the rule and reduce the threshold to 4% is undemocratic - a cynical move to cut off left wing competition.

MMP reform list for me:
* Citizen-only voting rights.
* South Island electorate quotient and General/Maori population division abolished as basis for electorates, ie. no General or Maori electorates or rolls, just one register of enrolled citizens.
* Party vote threshold lowered from 5% to 2%.
* Parliament total raised from 120 MPs to 130 MPs on condition that MPs basic salary be set independently by the Remuneration Authority at between min. 1.5 and 2.0 max. of average full-time wage/salary.
* 99 MPs elected from multi-member electorates of 3, 4, or in the case of urban areas 5 seats each.  
* Remaining 31 MPs apportioned as to party vote equation as currently, but those returned will be from candidates with smallest losing majority in an electorate (returned as extra MP for that electorate ie. all MPs are electorate MPs, there are no 'list' MPs as such and no 'list' candidates, or indeed the need for a list).
* Party pluralism and minimum representation for reo/sex/age:
1. Parties may only stand maximum number of candidates of one less than total returned (ie. 2 in a 3 member electorate, 3 in 4, and 4 in a 5.  Parties with two or more candidates must have at least one candidate a man and one a woman.)
2. Sectional ballot forms to ensure minimum guaranteed representation while every voter gets to vote for every candidate on an equal basis: In 3 seat electorates the form is divided into two parts based on the language competency of the candidate - English and Te Reo - returning the highest polling candidate from each part and then the next highest polling candidate from either part.  In electorates returning 4 or 5 seats all the candidates (regardless of language) under the age of 40 will appear in one part and the other two parts will be for English and Te Reo candidates over the age of 40.

I've posted on these issues before - this is a summary.  Looking at Ireland's similar situation with population and national condition I see the Irish lower house has 166 MPs in multi-member seats (with 20+ independents), the Northern Irish assembly at Stormont has 108 (going to 96).


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