Who would it hurt?

Winston Peters and his sycophants and Trevor Mallard walked out of parliament over the Speaker David Carter’s ruling that Peter Dunne could still get a leader’s budget although his party has been deregistered.

Mallard and Peters are trying to get at Dunne but who would the loss of funding really hurt?

It would be a temporary inconvenience for Dunne. The people the funding employs could be far harder hit, losing their jobs, if only temporarily until United Future’s membership is sorted out. They’re the workers, the “ordinary” New Zealanders, who Peters and Mallard purport to represent.

The requirement to have 500 valid members is a very low threshold for party registration and it doesn’t reflect well on United Future or its leader that it’s having problems with it.

But the membership problem which caused the deregistration is expected to be sorted out by next week and the party will be re-registered so any loss of funding would be very temporary.

Opposition MPs keen on publicity might think it’s worth making a fuss in spite of that but the people whose jobs could be affected won’t.

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11 Responses to Who would it hurt?

  1. RDE says:

    Reblogged this on Concise Comment.

  2. robertguyton says:

    You are defending Dunne. He is receiving large amounts of public money under the pretext that he leads a party. His party has been de-registered.
    Ele. Shame!

  3. Armchair Critic says:

    Totally wrong, robert. Speaker Carter is only guilty of trying to help, just like Philip Field. Ele asks who would it hurt, well it’s yours and my tax dollars that are doing that helping, but it’s not very many of them and while Bill English could probably use them to make his surplus look better, why not give them to the leader of a party that can’t keep more than 500 members?

  4. robertguyton says:

    Now if it had been Winston’s party that had been de-registered and he was challenged with losing his Leader’s budget because there was no legally-valid NZFirst, would Ele have posted asking ‘who would it hurt?’
    Not on your nelly.

  5. AngryTory says:

    Just because neither Mallard nor Winston, neither Labour nor WinstonFirst would be in parliament if NZ was actually a democracy (instead of a leftwing jerrymander stuck onto a Maorimander)

    doesn’t mean Dunne should be there for some reason.
    Of course neither he nor his party should be in parliament either.

  6. JC says:

    “The requirement to have 500 valid members is a very low threshold for party registration and it doesn’t reflect well on United Future or its leader that it’s having problems with it.”

    Very true. But I’ll wager that UF has a higher proportion of members to votes than some other parties..

    Lets start with United Future’s current situation, we now know from empirical information that the party has around or under 500 members. We also know that in the 2011 election that UF gained 13443 votes so its reasonable to assume that UF had 500 members at the time (checked by the Electoral Commission every three years prior to elections).. so the percentage of UF members to voters is about 3.7%.

    Now lets apply that 3.7% stat to several other parties:

    In the 2011 election National gained 1,058636 votes.. at a UF party membership of 3.7% we would expect Nat Party membership to be at least 3.7% or 39169 members.

    In 2011 Labour got 614937 votes with an implied minimum 3.7% membership of 22754.

    In 2011 the Greens got 247372 votes with an implied minimum 3.7% membership of 9152.

    Now lets look at the actual likely membership of these parties.. we know that some years ago Chris Trotter said Labour Party membership was down to 5000 but perhaps the best guide is the Labour leaning academic Bryce Edwards who has studied party memberships:

    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2008/09/party-members-5.html

    “Although it is generally difficult to establish the exact membership figures for the parties, this series has investigated the numbers through a variety of sources and arrived at the following estimations. As far as can be judged, in 2008 the main political parties had roughly the following membership numbers: National, 20,000; Labour, 10,000; the Maori Party, 5000; the Greens, 4000; Act, 3000; New Zealand First, less than 2000; and other minor parties probably have another 10,000 members combined.”

    Based on this we can surmise that compared to UF National, Labour and the Greens have a pathetic percentage of members to actual votes.

    Its also likely to be a reasonable measure of authoritarianism, ie the less percentage of members to votes the less likely the Party is to represent its members.. on this basis the Greens Authoritarian Index is 1.62, Labour 1.63, Nats 1.89 and UF 3.72, that is, based on Party membership to votes the Greens are the most authoritarian of these parties mentioned.
    I’m a cynic about MMP but any fool can see that UF is far more likely to represent its members than the Greens or Labour.. indeed when polled 19% of Greens agreed that Key/English was a better combination than Shearer/Norman on running economic policy.

    JC

  7. Armchair Critic says:

    Remarkable, JC, especially the invention of an Authoritarian Index. I’m not convinced by your explanation, perhaps when you have time you could elaborate on how it works.
    I note that the inverse of the value is, essentially, an indication of the total votes garnered per party member. Looking at it this way, it shows that the Greens and Labour get the highest number of votes per member. It could be a measure of the efficiency of the party machinery in achieving a goal of every political party, getting seats in parliament. And by this measure, the Greens and Labour are better than National (raising serious questions about the suggestion that money can buy votes) and way better than UF.
    You barely mentioned NZ First and ACT – do they ruin your argument?

  8. homepaddock says:

    Liberation underestimated National’s membership – it was around 30,000.

  9. homepaddock says:

    Graeme Edgeler who doesn’t have my bias says: http://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle/d-day-for-dunne/
    “. . . I had a quick look at the Speaker’s Directions, and the Standing Orders. They weren’t very clear, and didn’t seem addressed to the issue in hand, but I concluded that they probably turned on the situation in place at the election and would thus allow continued funding, . . .
    Standing Order 34 now states:

    Every political party registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993, and in whose interest a member was elected at the preceding general election or at any subsequent by-election, is entitled to be recognised as a party for parliamentary purposes.

    Peter Dunne was elected at the preceding general election in the interest of a political party registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act. That party is no longer registered, but he was so elected, and under that banner. United Future was recognised. Properly. A new general election would change that, but we haven’t had one. . . ”

    He also says: “I do, however, have a concern with the decision of the Speaker to give Dunner and United Future time to deal with this matter. Whatever interpretation one takes, this isn’t something that can be fixed up. Either the rules require a parliamentary party to maintain registration with the Electoral Commission as a continuing pre-requisite to recognition, or they do not. If they do, then United Future has lost its entitlement to funding, and that should cease; if they do not, it doesn’t matter whether United Future re-registers next week, or just gives up, the entitlement to recognition in the House would remain until this Parliament rises before the next general election.”

  10. JC says:

    “You barely mentioned NZ First and ACT – do they ruin your argument?”

    I was really just taking a dig at the whole kerffufle in an already too long a post.

    But if you read Bryce’s whole article you’ll see the real point which is there’s been a seachange in party membership where the members are increasingly bypassed and taken for granted. In essence parties simply meet the 500 member threshold plus sufficient fodder to get the pamphlets delivered, have a full theatre for the annual kneesup and and then go whoring after votes wherever they can find them across the political spectrum. For instance if National had a 1950s type membership of several hundred thousand would it have agreed to the anti-smacking legislation.. or indeed Labour?

    And as Bryce points out one wouldn’t need to delve too deeply into the membership of yore to find shonky practice in how donations turned into membership and how “affiliated” unions became “members”.

    FWIW I think the Speaker’s ruling on UF is shonky and takes full advantage of unclear law but is no worse than other stuff we’ve seen over the years, such as the Dynhoven (sp) affair.

    JC

  11. JC says:

    I was aware of that but to be consistent I used Bryces figures for all the parties I mentioned.

    JC

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