Vote for change to what?

June 28, 2011

The campaign against MMP has become more organised with the newly incorporated Vote for Change .

“Vote for Change asks the 40% of New Zealanders who have already realised that MMP doesn’t offer enough accountability, to join our group” says Wellington Lawyer and Vote for Change Spokesperson, Jordan Williams. “We want Kiwis to use their opportunity to have a better voting system. Only by voting ‘change’ in November can we ensure a proper debate on MMP’s merits. Only a vote for change will mean there is another vote, a run-off between MMP and one of the four alternatives at the 2014 election.”

“Vote for Change wants a system that restores more certainty, that allows voters to easily hold governments to account and kick rascals out of Parliament,” says Mr Williams. “The current system lets party bosses sneak MPs who have been dismissed by their local electorates back into Parliament on party lists.

“New Zealanders are tired of Lists that make MPs beholden to political party bosses instead of being accountable to constituents. We want politicians to have to think of the people they serve and not party list rankings when making tough decisions” says Mr Williams.

Although it is clear it does not support MMP, VfC has not yet decided which alternative it will advocate voting to change to.

Vote for Change has not endorsed a particular alternative to MMP. “We want New Zealanders who understand that MMP has not delivered, to go to our website, join us help determine what voting system is best for New Zealand,” says Mr Williams. “With a more substantial membership base we will work out what voting system we think is the fairest”.

The VfC website lists its founding members who include former Labour Party president and mayor Bob Harvey, former Labour cabinet minister Michael Basset, former National party MP Annabel Young and Business Round Table executive director Roger Kerr.

Some of the more strident supporters of MMP try to vilify anyone who isn’t happy with the system but as David Farrar points out all five electoral systems on offer are acceptable electoral systems:

 All of them are in use in various countries that are universally recognised as democratic. The moment someone tells you that only one system is acceptable, is the moment when you should stop listening to them.

There are of course degrees of acceptability, some systems are more so than others, although which is very much a matter of opinion.

I don’t like MMP but am unsure which of the alternatives would be both better and have a chance of winning a referendum when put up against MMP.


HP on TV

September 4, 2010

Q&A’s bloggerhead slot aims to give two different positions on the issue of the week.

Tomorrow it’s Keith Ng from Public Address, chosen because he’s young, urban and financially literate and me because I’m not so young, rural and . . . ?

The media release says:

On Q + A this Sunday:                                                                                                         

Paul Holmes interviews former South Canterbury Finance Chief Executive Sandy Maier about what went wrong and what chance taxpayers have of recovering the losses.

South Canterbury Finance’s collapse has its origins in the global financial crisis. Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard joins Guyon Espiner to talk about his new book, Crisis: One Central Bank Governor & the Global Financial Collapse and his battle to save our finance sector during the worldwide meltdown. Was the deposit guarantee scheme that saved SCF this week well conceived? Did anyone see this coming? And what does he really think of the government’s efforts to counter the crisis?

Paul and Martin Sneddon talk rugby.  One year from RWC kick-off, are we ready? Or are the critics right to be sceptical?

Dr Therese Arseneau is joined on the panel by 2025 Taskforce head, the former Reserve Bank Governor and National Party leader, Dr Don Brash and Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, who’s soon to take over development of the Auckland waterfront.

@ Bloggerheads, are Keith Ng from Public Address and Ele Ludemann from Homepaddock.

Q + A is broadcast live 9-10am Sunday on TV ONE and repeated at 9.10pm on Sunday nights and 10.10am and 2.10pm on Mondays on TVNZ 7. 

 (TVNZ 7 screens on Freeview Channel 7 and Sky TV Channel 97)


Parliamentary stable

October 26, 2008

Deborah Coddington runs her eye over the parliamentary stable:

Helen Clark is obviously the old bay mare. For years, she’s delivered a stellar performance, occasionally stumbling but quickly finding her feet. She’s bossy.

Like the grey mare, Trixie, I rode along the south Wairarapa coast last week, Clark must be at the front of the pack or she gets snappy, laying her ears back and kicking or biting the other horses.

When things go her way she walks out briskly, interested in her surroundings, a great ride.

But start going downhill, or let other horses get in front, and she pig-roots – a minor form of bucking – tosses her head and turns caustic.

John Key’s unproven as station hack, eventer or showjumper, but is worth persevering with.

A vet check would return positive recommendations – he’s sound and has never foundered . . .  

Key’s always well turned-out, has pleasing paces, and given time and challenges, could become a winner.

Winston Peters is the show pony who delivers on promises.

Beautifully groomed; mane and tail shampooed, brushed, then plaited for extra points, he’s charisma on fetlocks. With his coat gleaming, hooves blackened, saddle and bridle clean and supple, he dances into the ring rolling his eyes, playing to the crowd, certain he’s going to scoop the prizes despite most judges writing him off at each new gymkhana.

But just when this crowd pleaser’s on track for the rosette, as Bob Harvey said of his performance as Labour president, the show pony shat in the parade ring.

The powerful, thrillingly scary, rearing, snorting and occasionally uncontrollable stallion has to be Hone Harawira.

Nobody expected this steed to grow from the shaggy, station-bred, desperado he once was, into the impressive black National Bank lookalike he’s become. . .

. . . With Peter Dunne, the name says it all – a reliable, bombproof dun gelding trusted with your granny or the fearful kiddie who’s never visited a farm. Good in traffic, easy to float and shoe, often underrated, you’d be surprised how valuable these old faithfuls really are.

Rodney Hide’s like the little teaser stallion – a pint-sized troublemaker useful for egging on the mares (literally); a loner who entertains everyone, but must remain over the fence, plotting and alone in his paddock, maybe a donkey for company, lest he sully the popularity of the winning herd.

Peters might be a crowd pleaser but if he doesn’t do better than the polls he’s bound for the electoral knackers yard; and win or lose Clark will be searching for fresh pastures before the end of the next parliamentary term.


Yule wins Local Govt Presidency

July 30, 2008

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule has been elected president of Local Government New Zealand.

Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast, who contested the presidency too, is the new deputy.

Bob Harvey, Waitakere mayor had earlier criticised local bodies supporting Yule’s nomination:

“It’s a brainless stand as the largest urban authority in New Zealand to not think through what the job entails and I’m surprised and amazed at their decision. Local government will be in serious trouble if they don’t come to their sense and realise that the job is beyond the mayor of a small rural district.”

Obviously enough of those who voted realise that size doesn’t matter and a president with an understanding of provincial issues and a deputy who knows about urban issues should ensure the views of all local authorities are understood and represented.

Update: I stand to be corrected on this but I think Yule was electorate chair for Michael Laws when he (Laws) was a National MP. The skills he’d need for that job will be very useful in his new role 🙂


Size doesn’t really matter, Bob

July 28, 2008

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey says support for a small-town politician’s bid to for the presidency of Local Government New Zealand is “brainless”.

The Sunday Star Times (not on line) says that Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule is running against Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast. Yule’s bid is supported by the Auckland Regional Council and Environment Canterbury which Harvey labelled misguided.

“It’s a brainless stand as the largest urban authority in New Zealand to not think through what the job entails and I’m surprised and amazed at their decision. Local government will be in serious trouble if they don’t come to their sense and realise that the job is beyond the mayor of a small rural district.”

I wouldn’t call a population of 77,500 small and given the district includes the city of Hastings I’d say it’s more provincial than rural. But of course I’m biased because I live in the Waitaki District which has only 20,000 people and no cities.

However, all that’s beside the point.

What matters is not the size of the local bodies the candidates for the position represent but whether or not they have the skills for the job. I have no idea which of the two would be a better president but I take exception to Harvey’s presumption that the job is “too big for the mayor of a small rural district”.

Harvey might not realise this, but there is intelligent life in the provinces.


Capital Idea to Shift South

June 11, 2008

Bob Harvey wants the capital to move to Auckland but I’ve got a better idea – move it to Oamaru. Auckland doesn’t need more people or traffic and property is much cheaper down here.

There’s an historical precedent for shifting the seat of power south because our capital was originally in Russell. It then moved to Wellington so a second southward shuffle would simply be a continuation of a natural progression down the country.

It would also give Oamaru the city status for which it was destined in the 1800s until the gold ran out and land wars were settled which tempted people further north.

This capital transfer would have undoubted benefits for the locals. Thousands of people work in parliament and associated agencies. If the seat of government moved south, so presumably would the hangers-on and at least some of them would bring partners and families and this injection of people into Oamaru would increase job opportunites, property prices, facilities and services.

Some will question the wisdom of moving parliament down here when most MPs live in Auckland. But if their homes are up there then working down here would enable them to cover the country in a much more equitable fashion and reverse the problem caused the lack of geographical proportionality in our current representation.

There’d have to be something in the shift for the MPs and bureaucrats and there would be.

They’d get the satisfaction of knowing they had personally made a major contribution to regional development and there’d be lifestyle gains from exchanging the city rat race for the more sedate pace of provincial life.

If they’re concerned about leaving the beehive behind they could bring it with them and pop it down on the foreshore where it could provide nesting sites for the little blue penguins.

That way anyone who doubted the wisdom of the move would be able to wander down to see it and realise how much worse off they were in Wellington.


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