Electorate representation better than tokenism

Jon Johansson reckons John Key’s decision to speak out against MMP smells of partisan greed and hubris.

Johansson hasn’t got his knickers in a twist when other party leaders have spoken in favour of MMP so why so upset that John Key said he’d probably vote for Supplementary Member?

This is not the first time he has spoken about doing that and even had it been, what’s wrong with that?

He was asked a question and he answered it, openly and honestly.

Johansson also said:

We have a Prime Minister who wishes to vote to turn back progress for women participating in parliamentary politics, and a Prime Minister who in defiance of our dramatically changing demographics prefers not to facilitate Asian New Zealanders, Pacifika New Zealanders, or other ethnic Kiwis participating in their own democracy. . .

That is patronising and wrong.

With SM we’d have more electorates and it is likely that most of the list MPs would stand in those seats, and win.

My MP happens to be a woman  and I was electorate chair when she was selected. She wasn’t selected because she’s a woman, she was selected because we were confident she’d be a good candidate who could win the seat, be a good MP and an asset to caucus, as she is.

However, she has to service an electorate that’s 34,888 square kilometres in area which is far, too big.

If I was a woman I’d be very unhappy that my Prime Minister, one who has seemed to make MMP work rather effortlessly, has decided to favour an electoral system that will make it harder for me or my daughters or grand-daughters to pursue a political career.

I am a woman and I’m delighted that my Prime Minister has decided to favour an electoral system that will make it easier for other women to pursue a political career.

Bigger electorates reduce the pool of people who are willing and able to stand as candidates. In cities would-be MPs could keep working and campaign in the evenings and weekends until close to the election. In bigger provincial electorates, the large distances they’d have to cover and the time that takes would require full or very near full time campaigning for a much longer period.

Juggling family life with the demands of an MP’s job is difficult enough in a city. I know women who were considering standing in bigger provincial electorates who chose not to because of the impact it would have had on their children.

I’d much rather have more, smaller electorates under SM which would be more likely to attract women candidates than MMP with huge lectorates and lists characterised by tokenism.

2 Responses to Electorate representation better than tokenism

  1. If you really favour smaller electorates you`d be writing a blog post to at least double the number of Maori electorates – which are the largest in the country. You`d also be writing to ensure that more woman are selected as candidates in safe seats. Only 7 of Nationals top 30 are women and most are not in safe seats


  2. homepaddock says:

    On the contrary, Dave if there were no Maori electorates all electorates would be smaller.

    The biggest electorates in order are: Te Tai Tonga 161,443 sq kms; Clutha-Southland 38,247;
    West Coast-Tasman 38,042; Te Tai Hauauru 35,825; Waitaki 34,888; Ikaroa-Rawhiti 30,952;
    Kaikoura 23,706; Waiariki 19,212; Te Tai Tokerau 16,370; East Coast 13,649; Taranaki-King Country 12,869 Hauraki-Waikato 12,580 Northland 12,255.


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