Monday, September 07, 2009

A pig in a poke

Cabinet has begun discussing its plans for its staged referendum on MMP. Unfortunately, the process they have chosen makes it quite clear that their aim is to ditch MMP and move us back towards a less proportional, less democratic electoral system - essentially restoring the elected dictatorship of old.

Back in 1992 - 1993, when we made the decision to adopt MMP, the possible options available were in front of us from the start. In the 1992 referendum, voters were given two votes: one on whether to retain or change the existing first-past-the-post voting system, and one on what it should be replaced by. Then, in 1993, the winner of the second vote - MMP - was run off against the status quo. Back then, we knew at every stage what we were voting for. National's plan is deliberately designed to hide that. First, we vote on whether we want change - but with no indication of what that change might be. Then, the government shows us what change it wants us to adopt. It's a pig in a poke, a stacked process to undermine our democracy from a party which still clings to pre-MMP notions of absolute power. And we should reject it utterly.