This is why we need a threshold

July 25, 2012

One of the questions under consideration in the review of MMP is what the threshold should be to allow a party to enter parliament, or whether there should be a threshold at all.

This is why there should be a threshold and why the threshold for registering as a party should be higher:

TV star and comedian Ben Boyce has been discharged without conviction for a botched fake pilot stunt which was condemned by the aviation industry and Prime Minister John Key. 

 The former Pulp Sport star was discharged, alongside The Rock host Bryce Casey and TV producer Andrew Robinson at the Manukau District Court today. . .

The trio were charged with providing false information in an attempt to gain access to a secure area after a skit for the TV3 series WannaBen in September 2011 went wrong.

This is the Ben of the Bill and Ben Party which gained .56% of party votes in the 2008 election.

With no threshold he could have been in parliament.

Having a threshold is no guarantee against idiots gaining seats and power.

But having a higher hurdle to jump before being able to register as a political party and a threshold of at least 5% does make it harder and gives some protection against the plague-on-all-their-houses votes inflicting this sort of accidental MP on the country.

Bill & Ben could bring underhang

November 5, 2008

While many commentators are pointing out we could end up with an overhang after the election, Tim Donoghue has found a way to get an underhang.

Under MMP, people will actually be able to vote for a reduction in the size of Parliament, simply by voting for the Bill and Ben Party.

. . . There are only two people on their party list – Jamie “Bill” Lineham and Ben “Ben” Boyce.

Now here’s the rub. There’s been much talk about the Maori Party possibly causing a four seat over-hang if they win the seven Maori seats on Saturday night but poll poorly in the party vote. That would mean there could be up to 124 MPs in our next Parliament.

But wait – the Bill and Ben Party could actually be on the verge of reducing the number of seats in the Parliament.

Under the Sainte Lague formula, if by some miracle the Bill and Ben Party polls five per cent of the party vote the pair will be responsible for an underhang in Parliament.

The rules of MMP state if a party hasn’t nominated enough list candidates to fill all the seats to which it is entitled on the basis of its share of the party vote, the seats remain unfilled and the size of the Parliament is reduced by that number of seats till the next general election.

If disillusioned voters decide to vote en masse for the Bill and Ben Party as a protest vote and the party cracks the magic five per cent figure, Parliament could be cut to 116 or 117 seats. Bill and Ben would not be allowed to conjure up the names of four or five mates to help them fill the void.

Recent polls indicate National, Labour and the Greens are the only parties guaranteed to crack the five per cent threshold on Saturday. NZ First is the only other party with an outside chance.

So the message is simple – if you’ve decided you’re not going to vote because you don’t believe in encouraging politicians, think again: vote Bill and Ben Party and put three politicians out of a job.

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