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.

The TV3 debate


The first segment of the TV3 debate ended in a shouting match, the second opened with a request for better behaviour from John Campbell and he  got it.

It means that each of the leaders can talk uninterrupted – except by the chair.

I’m too biased to give a fair assessment of John Key’s and Helen Clark’s performances – of course John’s better 🙂

 But if the outcome of the election is influenced to any great degree by this then democracy is in trouble.

 Update: John Campbell asked what’s the difference between Bill English and Michael Cullen.

Point to Key for answering: “Bill’s got charm.”

Point off Clark for saying he didn’t in 2002.

Update # 2: Point to Key for: “If nine years isn’t enough to do that no amount of time is.”

Update # 3: Linda Clark, Jenni McManus and Jon Johansson have all agreed that Key will be our next PM; and Linda said she thinks it will be decisive enough that the Maori Party won’t hold the balance of power.

Pundit launched


A new on-line daily current affairs magazine, Pundit,  aims to:

. . . start an intelligent conversation about New Zealand’s place in the world and its future.

Its founders are: 

Tim Watkin (former deputy editor of the Listener and blogger for the Guardian in Britain) and Eleanor Black (former deputy editor at Next and associate editor of California magazine) came up with the Pundit concept in late 2007, while living in San Francisco. They joined forces with broadcaster Ian Fraser in early 2008 and together the trio launched the site in September.

Other contributers are David Beatson, Dr Jon Johansson David Lewis, Jacqueline Rowath and Jane Young,

Hat Tip: No Right Turn

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