Electorate accommodation could backfire on both parties

18/10/2017

Is an electorate accommodation on offer in an effort to woo Winston Peters?

Many commentators think this will be his last term. That has been said    before and while each time it’s said he’s a bit older, there’s no certainty he’ll be any keener on retirement in 2020 than he has been before.

Whether or not he stands again, the party is at risk of slipping below the 5% threshold and out of parliament unless it wins a seat.

But even if Peters wants to contest another election, it’s unlikely he’d risk standing and not winning an electorate. He’s won three but also lost them, he won’t want to lose another.

His repeated criticism of National for allowing electorate accommodations for Act and United Future, would open him to criticism should he ask for one to give him a better chance. But doing what he’s criticised others for doing isn’t usually a problem for him.

However, the people of Northland tired of him in less than a term and voted for Matt King instead. He will spend the next three years doing the hard work a good electorate MP does and winning the loyalty of voters by doing so.

They are unlikely to show enthusiasm for ignoring that and voting Peters back in, even if they’re given a very strong message from National to do so.

Other electorates that have been suggested where National might stand aside are Whangarei and Wairarapa.

Accommodations worked in Ohariu and Epsom. But Peter Dunne already held Ohariu when National’s then leader Jim Bolger gave the wink and nod to voters to give his party the party vote but vote for Dunne as the electorate MP.

Act’s Rodney Hide didn’t need an accommodation to win Epsom the first time. He won the seat from Richard Worth without any help from National.

In successive elections, National’s candidate campaigned only for the party vote making it easier for Hide and then David Seymour to win the electorate vote.

But that is very different from asking voters to drop support for a sitting MP to allow a New Zealand First candidate to win the electorate.

There will be no enthusiasm for that from National members and absolutely no guarantee that enough voters would be prepared to turn their backs on their MP in favour of the NZ First candidate.

It would be a very risky move which could backfire on both parties.

 


Optional hypocrisy

29/09/2016

The Green Party has announced it won’t be contesting the Mt Roskill by-election, should there be one.

Not wasting time and resources on a contest they can’t win isn’t stupid but it shows up both the Greens and Labour as hypocrites.

Both have been highly critical of National for not trying to win Epsom and Ohariu to help Act’s and United Future’s candidates.

The hypocrisy is particularly bad for Labour’s candidate who stood in Epsom at the last election.

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Labour and the Greens claimed the principled high ground in their criticism of what they called ‘dirty deals’.

Neither can claim to be so principled and both are guilty of making the wrong choice when faced with otional hypocrisy.


‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly

31/08/2016

All I want is a seat somewhere/ I don’t care if it’s there or here/ Epsom, Roskill/I could if voters will/ ‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly?

Michael Wood stood for Labour in Epsom at the last election with no hope of winning the seat.

A lot of would-be MPs do that. It shows the party they’re committed and is good practice for if or when they’re given a chance in a seat they could win.

He’s now been selected as the Labour candidate for Mt Roskill to succeed Phil Goff  either if he wins the Auckland Mayoralty or when he retires at the next election.

It is expected to be a tight race. National won the party vote in the electorate at the last election and will have a strong candidate in list MP Parmjeet Parmar.

Enter the Green Party stage left.

The party could be prepared to do a deal with Labour and not stand a candidate.

That’s were it gets a bit whiffy because both those parties have lost no opportunity to criticise what they call ‘dirty deals’ in other seats, including Epsom about which Wood said in 2014:

“We are calling for a straight contest and an end to the dodgy deals.”

. . . In fact he went as far as bringing a bag of flour along to debates to replace National candidate Paul Goldsmith who stepped aside to make way for ACT’s David Seymour.

“Every time that Paul Goldsmith fails to front in this campaign, we’re going to remind people about the dirty deal with this bag of wholemeal flour,” Wood said on The Nation’s Epsom debate. . .

He told The Nation that voters were sick of dirty deals. . . .

It won’t be easy for Wood – he needs the “dirty deal” he once supposedly despised.

My question is who is bringing the bag of Quinoa to debates to stand in for the Greens?

The Green candidate got 1682 votes at the last election. Even some of those could make the difference in a tight race.

Wood could well find himself falling off his high horse on what he used to think were ‘dirty deals’ if it’s going to give him a leg-up to the seat.


Little hints

09/03/2015

Labour leader Andrew leader can’t quite bring himself to tell Northland voters not to vote for his party’s candidate Willow-Jean Prime but he’s dropping little – or should that be Little? – hints:

Mr Little told TVNZ One’s Q+A programme that Labour will not pull its candidate Willow-Jean Prime from the by-election contest, despite a Q+A Colmar Brunton poll showing Mr Peters would win if she was not in the running.

However, he called for left voters to be “realistic” with their candidate choice.

“They’ve got a vote they should use it. If they want to vote to send a message to the Government …

“They are intelligent enough to see how they can do that.” . .

Every election Labour has criticised National for electoral accommodations in Epsom and Ohariu but now he thinks it would be too his advantage, Little is indicating he’s willing to do just that.

He’s throwing his candidate under the wheels of Peters’ bus, not to help Labour or Northland but, as Rodney Hide points out, to get a New Zealand First list MP in Invercargill and give more power to Peter Dunne:

. . . A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington. . .

This would not bring down the government but it would make it more difficult for it to pass legislation and give Dunne and the two other government partners – Act and the Maori Party – a lot more bargaining power.

That won’t help Labour this term, nor will it make it any easier for it and its potential coalition partners to gain enough seats to govern next term.

In fact it might make it more difficult because the Little hints make him look downright shifty.

When National campaigns in Epsom and Ohariu it is open about campaigning only for the party vote and it ensures its candidates are high enough on its list to get into parliament.

Little isn’t being open, he’s trying to have a bob each way. He hasn’t clearly said voters should ditch Prime for Peters but nor has he said they shouldn’t. Yet he’s prevaricating enough to handicap his candidate and there’s no list seats up for grabs in a by-election to compensate her for her wasted efforts.

And what’s in this political playing for the people of Northland?

. . . Peters is 70 this year. It’s a long way from Auckland to Northland. It’s even further across the electorate. Peters will be bogged down and busy doing the bare minimum needed to be local MP. I doubt the region will be much troubled by him.

And he would lose in 2017. Northland will return a National candidate in a General Election.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Little is willing to sabotage his candidate to help Peters who will have neither the will nor the energy to service the large Northland electorate and its many communities while also attending to the demands of party leadership.

We can but hope the people of Northland will have learned from Tauranga voters who saw through him and send both him and Labour a message: they need an MP who lives in the electorate who will be in government and who will represent them well and work hard for them.

There’s only one of those standing – National’s Mark Osborne.

 

 


Banks resigning

08/06/2014

A media release from John Banks:

“Further to the of the decision of the High Court at Auckland last Thursday,  I will  resign the seat of Epsom effective from 5pm this Friday the 13th of  June 2014” Mr Banks said.

“I will write to the Speaker tomorrow advising him of my resignation, said Mr Banks.

“This timeframe allows a number of constituency, administrative and staffing matters in Epsom and Wellington to be dealt with over the next few days.

“I have been privileged to serve the people of Epsom and New Zealand at both a local level and in Wellington. 

“I have given my heart and soul over four decades to making a worthwhile contribution to this country.  I have always endeavoured to do the right thing.  Consequently I am deeply saddened at this turn of events.

“As the matter is still before the Court I will be making no further comment” said Mr Banks.

This is a sad end to decades of public service motivated by the desire to balance the family ledger.

It is however, the honourable thing to do.


2 new faces for Act

02/02/2014

The Act party has a new leader and a new candidate for Epsom:

Writer and philosopher Jamie Whyte is Act’s new leader and David Seymour will be the party’s candidate in Epsom at the election later this year.

The decision was made by the Act board today and is due to be officially announced at 3 pm.

Dr Whyte is expected to take over in about a month at the party’s AGM.

Dr Whyte, aged 48, has recently returned to live in New Zealand from abroad and has only recently become active in the party.

Mr Seymour, aged 30, first stood for Act in 2005 in Mt Albert against former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Last election he stood in Auckland Central.

He has been working for a think-tank in Canada and may well have returned permanently had he not been made candidate for Epsom. . .

This gives the party two new and younger faces.

It also provides an opportunity to re-brand itself.

If the party can win Epsom it would help National but if it manages to look more credible than it has it could also take party votes from National’s right flank.

However, this is not a good start:

As Labour has shown only too well for the last few years, a party needs discipline, unity and good management.

Leaking an announcement like this displays none of that.


Boscawen seeks Epsom selection

16/01/2014

Act President John Boscawen is seeking the Act selection for Epsom and his party’s leadership.

In a media release he says:

I am today announcing my intention to seek the Epsom nomination and leadership of the ACT Party in the 2014 general election.

  • I have been a member of ACT for over 17 years. I first stood for ACT in Epsom in 1996 and been involved in each of the five general election campaigns since. In 1996, I stood on a platform of maximising the party vote and our team achieved over 22% of the party votes cast in Epsom – a record not broken since.
     
  • In the years since 1996 I have held a number of party positions including over eight years’ service on the ACT board and as Campaign Manager, Treasurer and fundraiser.
     
  • In 2008, I stood in the North Shore electorate to maximise party votes and was elected to Parliament at No. 4 on ACT’s party list.
     
  • In August 2010, I was elected Deputy Leader and appointed Minister of Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Commerce.
     
  • At the 2011 general election I decided not to seek re-election on the party list although I did stand in Tamaki in an effort to maximise the party vote.
     
  • Following the 2011 election I continued in my role as Deputy Leader until my election, unopposed, in February 2013 as ACT President.
     

The ACT Board has announced it intends to make a decision on the ACT leadership over the weekend of 1-2 February 2014. Until a decision has been made, I will immediately stand aside from the position of President in the interim and leave the Board to be chaired by Vice President Barbara Astill.

We must rebuild our previous support and parliamentary representation and I believe that I am the best person to lead the party into the 2014 election. Just as importantly it is critical for New Zealand’s future that we do. We are the only party with a core philosophy of individual responsibility, prosperity and freedom. We have constantly pushed for social welfare and education reforms and for less government waste and lower taxes. We must get the incentives right if we are to encourage and reward hard work, savings and investment and that is why I have decided to offer myself for the position of candidate for Epsom and leader of the ACT Party.

Boscawen was an MP and replaced Heather Roy as Minister of Consumer Affairs.

He would bring experience to the role, he wouldn’t be regarded as the fresh blood the party needs.

It’s up to members to decide if he could resurrect it.


Give the people of Epsom a break

09/05/2012

Speculation of a by-election in Epsom is premature as is Colin Craig’s announcement he would contest it  should it happen.

Craig’s announcement is also presumptive.

His Conservative party did very well for a new one in the last election but was well short of winning an electorate.

National has been a victim of its own success and lacks potential coalition partners, but the people of Epsom have almost certainly had enough of saving small parties from electoral oblivion.

They have voted tactically in successive elections to ensure that Act has a presence in parliament.

Rodney Hide was a list MP when he targeted Epsom. He was active in the electorate and it’s possible he might have won the seat the first time without the nod and wink from National.

Whether he would have held it in successive elections without tactical votes is debatable. It is almost certain that his successor, John Banks, wouldn’t have won the seat without the very clear indication it would help National if he did.

But there is a limit to how many times voters can be expected to vote tactically, especially if the one they’re voting for isn’t a natural fit for the electorate.

It is impossible to know how many National voters held noses while splitting their votes in the past few elections but it’s time to give them a break.

If Craig wants to contest a seat and expects voters to split their votes for him, he needs to find another one and earn the support of the people in it.


Punters beat pollsters?

28/11/2011

iPredict says its predictions market was a more accurate indication of election results than polls:

The Chief Executive of iPredict, Matt Burgess, has declared the performance of Victoria University’s online predictions market in forecasting the election result to have been “absolutely outstanding” and said refinements would be made to assure even greater accurate in 2014. Mr Burgess was commenting on iPredict’s initial post-election analysis which shows iPredict’s trading prices were closer to the final result than 41 of the 51 traditional opinion polls published in the eight months before election day.

The analysis also shows that, in the month before the election, iPredict forecast each of the National, Labour and Green party votes to within 1.5% of the final result.  During that time, the average iPredict forecast of National’s party vote was 47.10% (0.89% less than won by National on Saturday), Labour 28.60% (1.47% more than the actual result) and 11.1% for the Greens (just 0.48% more than its 10.62% result).

Even more significantly, over the three months before election day, iPredict forecast National’s party vote to within an amazing 0.01% of its actual result, while overestimating Labour’s vote by just 1.67% and underestimating the Greens by just 0.42%.

This is a lot more credible than Horizon which is trying to spin its way out of the huge gap between its polling and the election results.

The accuracy of polls is one question, whether they not only reflect what peole are doing but lead them to do it is another.

An Otago University study shows:

 . . . that people often take the ‘popular vote’ and go with the party that’s  already seen as a success.

Michelle Nicol carried out the research and says the ‘bandwagon effect’  would have had a negative impact on ACT.

Had polls led to more confidence that John Banks would win Epsom Act might have got mroe votes but when his success was in doubt people were concerned that their votes would be wasted on a party that was unlikely to get any seats.

 


Why only a rort now?

12/11/2011

Phil Goff reckons that Act going for the electorate vote in Epsom while National goes after only the party vote is rorting MMP.

If that’s rorting MMP why wasn’t not trying to win Wigram ever since Jim Anderton left Labour a rort?

And why wasn’t Peter Dunne sitting in three successive Labour cabinets after National voters elected him in the seat but ticked National for their party vote a rort?

Maybe acting within the rules of MMP to maximise the chances of governing is only a rort when it doesn’t help his party.


Sorry not sorry

27/10/2011

The only reason a senior MP would go on a hiding to nothing by standing in an electorate he couldn’t possibly win would be if he was desperately seeking publicity.

Labour’s Epsom candidate David Parker must have thought the strategy wasn’t working so he sought more publicity by asking for a guest post on Kiwiblog.

He was given plenty of rope. He didn’t hang himself but he did tangle himself up with it and fall flat on his face when he said the Sensible Sentencing Trust had bought a place on Act’s list for David Garrett through a large donation to the party.

It must be a difficult concept for a leftwing politician, so used to unions, to grasp. But most lobby groups are not politically aligned and don’t donate to political parties.

The SST and Act Party both immediately refuted the statement.

As soon as the lie was exposed, blog host David Farrar posted an update saying the statement was wrong.

Very belatedly Parker asked for this to be added:

Garth McVicar has today (25 October) said that the Sensible Sentencing Trust has not made donations of money to any political party, including Act. It appears from his statement that the only gift the Trust itself made to Act was David Garrett. What donations, if any, came from members of the so-called Sensible Sentencing Trust to Mr Garrett or Act  I do not know.

That’s a very sorry example of how to show you’re not sorry.

No voluntary organisation can control what its members do with their own money and what they do as individuals is their own business unless they choose to publicise it.

Had anyone made a large donation the party is required by law to declare it.

It would be difficult to know if an individual donor was a member of the SST or any other organisation unless they said so. Most voluntary organisations respect the privacy of their members and don’t make their membership public.

I don’t know enough about the law to know if what was written was actionable.

But like most not-for-profit groups , largely run on the goodwill of volunteers, the SST will need every cent it raises for its own work and this slur on its integrity will damage its ability to fund raise.

However, the greater damage is that which was self-inflicted. Mud spatters the one who throws it and this episode has left Parker looking both petty and dirty.


Why stand to lose?

09/08/2011

During the 2002 election campaign we knew National’s chances of winning were slim but those of us working in Otago didn’t expect to lose the seat as well.

I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought Labour’s candidate, David Parker, didn’t rate his own chances very highly in the seat and possibly didn’t even want to win it. I’ve always wondered if he was standing to lose the seat but gain a toe in the door for a Dunedin seat when one of the city MPs retired.

However, whether or not he intended to win he did and served three years as an electorate MP before Jacqui Dean won the seat back for National in 2005.

Boundaries changed and the electorate’s name changed too. He stood in the new Waitaki electorate in 2008 and this time made it quite clear he wasn’t trying to win. He conceded to Jacqui  at a public meeting in Geraldine a couple of weeks before the election much to the consternation of Labour Party volunteers who were supporting him.

They made it clear to their party HQ that Parker wouldn’t be welcome back as a candidate. When he didn’t put his name forward to succeed Pete Hodgson in Dunedin North it was assumed he’d decided he preferred being a list MP. His decision to stand in Epsom doesn’t change that because he’s very unlikely to win.

Why, then, is he doing it?

Could it be because this seat will get a lot of media attention which will help his leadership aspirations? Could it also be that he’s not only looking for Phil Goff’s job but his seat as well?

Is he standing in Epsom not to win but to make a showing in Auckland and help his chances at selection in Mt Roskill when Goff retires?

P.S. His media release included this:

National and Act are taking the people of Epsom for granted and treating them like sheep to try and construct an outcome that brings MMP into disrepute . . .

That’s a bit rich when one of the aspects people most dislike about MMP is not accommodations made publicly between parties before elections, but that MPs voted out of an electorate come back on the list in exactly the way he did.


Epsom stitch-up?

20/07/2011

Labour is accusing National of a stitch-up in the selection of Paul Goldsmith as the Epsom electorate candidate.

National has the most democratic selection process and most difficult to rig of any party in New Zealand.

At least 60 members in the electorate, who have been in the party for at least 6 months, choose the candidate by preferential voting.

It would be impossible for National’s board or leadership to influence selection. Such is the feeling about the importance of local selection, any attempt to sway the vote would almost certainly have the opposite affect.

It’s more than a bit rich for Labour to make this accusation against National when its selection process can be not just swayed but determined by unions and/or the party hierarchy.

It’s even richer if the rumour Kiwiblog reports is true – that Labour’s leadership and council have selected list MP David Parker as their Epsom candidate.

Keeping Stock has another example of Labour’s leadership exerting its power in last year’s selection for Mana.


Not another by-election!

29/05/2011

The headlines said: Winston staying quiet on by-election plans. The story below it began:

NZ First leader Winston Peters is keeping his cards close to his chest over whether he’ll suit up against John Banks in the Epsom by-election. . .

But if you follow the link : http://www.3news.co.nz/Winston-staying-quiet-on-by-election-plans/tabid/423/articleID/213081/Default.aspx the story has disappearred.

Someone must have realised that it’s not another by-election. John Banks is Act’s candidate for Epsom in the general election.

Even if Epsom MP Rodney Hide resigned (and there’s absolutely no indication he will), we’re it’s less than six months to the election and parliament can agree to leave the seat vacant until the country goes to the polls on November 26.


Voters not parties determine who wins electorates

17/01/2011

Most voters don’t want the National Party to stand aside in Epsom and Ohariu to help coalition partners if a Horizon poll conducted for the Sunday Star Times (not online) can be believed.

In Epsom, only 16% think National should stand aside, with 55% saying it shouldn’t. The bulk of Act (53%) want National to stay out of the electorate.

In Dunne’s Ohariu electorate, 48% want National to field a candidate, 16% want it to stand aside and 36% don’t know. Of National’s 2008 voters, 54% oppose the party standing aside for United Future.

This is a sorry reflection on the respondents’ understanding of MMP and recent history.

It’s the voters in the electorate who’ll determine who wins the seat not National.

National fielded candidates in both seats in 2008,  and previous elections, it was the people in those electorates who voted tactically who gave the seats to Rodney Hide and Peter Dunne.

Having Act in this parliament gives National the ability to govern with its support although at times it has turned to its other coalition partner, the Maori Party, to pass legislation Act didn’t favour.

It’s debatable whether there is any advantage to National in having Dunne in parliament.

If around half those who voted for the Green candidate had voted for the Labour one in Ohariu in 2008 Dunne would have lost his seat and United Future would have gone with him. The votes which that party received would have been distributed among the other parties in parliament and National would have got another MP.

From 1999 – 2005 votes for Dunne enabled him to prop up the Labour-led government.

Dunne’s hold on the seat was strongest in 2002 when National was at its weakest, since then his majority has slipped and the electorate could now be regarded as marginal.

Hide had a bad year as party leader last year, although he performed well as a minister. If he’s worked hard in his electorate the people of Epsom might overlook his use of the perks he’d campaigned against and return him to parliament.

As in previous elections they’ll work out what to do themselves regardless of any nods or winks from National.


June 4 in history – Emily Davison

04/06/2009

Emily Davison, a suffragette was struck by King George V’s horse at Epsom on Derby Day 1913. She died four days later.

On a happier note for women’s rights, on this day in 1919 the United States’ senate voted for the 19th amendment  to the Constitution which gave women the right to vote.


MPs per sq km

10/12/2008

 One person one vote is a core principle of democracy and from that comes the requirement for electorates to have a similar population.

The quotas for current boundaries  are:

North Island general electorates: 57,243 +/- 2,862

South Island general electorates: 57,562 +/- 2,878

Maori electorates:                             59,583 +/1 2,979

The result of this is a huge variation in the area a MP represents – from Rodney Hide in Epsom who covers just 23 square kilometres to Bill English in Clutha Southland, the largest general electorate which is 38,247 square kilometres in area and Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga which covers 161,443 sqaure kilometres.

MMP adds to the dispropotion of MPs per square kilometre because list MPs serve parties not electorates and most of them are in the North Island and in cities.

MMP encourages parties to work where the votes are and there are more votes in the North Island and cities than in the provinces and South Island. The result is that the provincial and southern voices aren’t being heard so strongly and that has been exagerated by the bluewash of the provinces in last month’s election because there are very few opposition MPs outside the four main cities.

I’m not suggesting a change to one person, one vote. But when considering if MMP if is retained or not some thought needs to be given to how big electorates can be to ensure MPs are reasonably accessible to their constituents and that they can effecitvely cover the area they are supposed to serve.

A small concession to the difficulty of servicing the larger electorates has been made in the agreement between National and the Maori Party which gives all Maori MPs and those in general electorates  larger than 20,000 square kilometres an extra staff member.

However, they don’t get any extra funds for associated costs and while Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau which is 730 square kilometres in area gets an extra member of staff, 23 general electorates which are bigger than that but smaller than 20,000 don’t.

Similarly Nania Mahuta in Hauraki Waikato which covers 12,580 square kilometres gets an extra staff member but Shane Adern in Taranaki King Country (12,869 sq kms) and Anne Tolley in East Coast (13,649) don’t.

The table below (from the parliamentary library) shows the areas electorates cover, colour coded for the party of the MP representing them.

Name

Area sq.km

Te Tai Tonga

161,443

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

Rangitikei

12,189

Wairarapa

11,922

Taupo

9,101

Selwyn

7,854

Napier

6,866

Rangitata

6,826

Whanganui

5,948

Invercargill

5,617

Rotorua

5,535

Waikato

4,947

Coromandel

4,653

Tukituki

4,277

Dunedin South

2,702

Waimakariri

1,757

Otaki

1,728

Whangarei

1,628

Hunua

1,266

Bay of Plenty

1,188

Rodney

1,051

Helensville

865

Tamaki Makaurau

730

Dunedin North

642

New Plymouth

579

Nelson

565

Rimutaka

518

Auckland Central

499

Mana

321

Hutt South

311

Papakura

255

Waitakere

254

Mangere

155

Hamilton West

148

Wellington Central

146

Ohariu

130

Port Hills

115

New Lynn

97

Tauranga

89

Christchurch East

78

Palmerston North

46

Wigram

40

East Coast Bays

37

Hamilton East

37

Manurewa

37

Maungakiekie

37

Botany

36

Tamaki

36

Mt Albert

34

Manukau East

31

Pakuranga

29

Christchurch Central

28

Ilam

27

Northcote

27

Rongotai

27

Te Atatu

27

North Shore

25

Mt Roskill

24

Epsom

23

 


No to MMP not necessarily no to proportionality

09/08/2008

Those opposing a referendum on MMP seem to be saying it will mean a return to First Past the Post. But there are other alternatives which may be considered including Supplementary Member, Single Transferable Vote and Preverential Voting.

The chances of us getting a referendum aren’t high because National, which will campaign on the issue, would almost certainly need the support of at least one of the wee parties to do it and Act and United are the only other parties which say they trust us to choose our voting system.

If we do get a say, I’d prefer to be able to rank the choices rather than just tick one because that could split the vote and allow a less popular system through, which ironically is one of the criticisms of FPP.

However, regardless of the referendum, MMP can’t continue forever without some changes because proportionality declines after each census and it will eventually be too far out of kilter.

That happens because when the boundaries are reviewed more electorates are created in the North Island, to keep the number of people in them equal to the number in the 16 South Island electorates which are determined by law. This means every six years the North Island gets more general seats and there is a corresponding decrease in the number of list seats.

We started with 60 electorate and 60 list seats in 1996; after this election there will be 70 electorates (including the Maori seats) and only 50 list seats.

Another problem with the boundry revision under MMP is that rural electorates are getting too big. I am not suggesting we should change from one person one vote; but I do want a system which recognises there is a limit to the area we can expect an MP to service.

People in an electorate covering 38,247 square kilometres (as Clutha Southland, the largest general electorate does) can not hope to get the same ease of access to their MP as those whose MP has to cover an area of just 23 square kilometres as Epsom, the smallest general electorate.

It doesn’t matter who the MPs are nor which party they represent, it is humanly impossible to service these huge rural electorates as easily or effectively as the smaller city seats.

P.S. For more on this issue see the Herald where Clare Trevett backgrounds the case for a referendum on MMP and looks at alternatives.


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