Thursday, November 14, 2013

The battle for MMP

A ballot for two member's Bills was held today and the following bills were drawn:

Lees-Galloway's bill implements the core recommendation of the Electoral Commission's review of MMP: a 4% threshold with no "coat-tails" clause. This change would make our Parliament less representative than it is at present, so I am hoping it goes down in flames. Fortunately, I think I can rely on the venality of politicians to ensure that. ACT and United Future have already gone on the record opposing the change, I can't see the Maori Party supporting it either (at least not if they can think beyond the last election result, which could be doubtful), and National is hardly going to vote to render its scheming with Colin Craig pointless. So, if it gets its first reading before the next election, we're fine.

Unfortunately, in the long-term, we're not. The Electoral Commission, with its sniffiness about small parties, has set the frame for reform in an entirely negative direction. And eventually some government will act on it. We need to change the conversation away from "coat-tailing" MPs and towards thresholds. Unfortunately, National isn't exactly making that easy for us.