Thursday, September 14, 2006

Verdict on the 100 MP bill

The Justice and Electoral Committee has reported back [PDF] on Barbara Stewart's Electoral (Reduction in Number of Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill. Their conclusion?

The committee recommends that this bill not proceed. We consider that any benefits gained by reducing the number of members of Parliament from 120 to 100 would be outweighed by adverse effects on Parliament. The current number of 120 members ensures proportionality and diversity in Parliament and thus contributes to its effectiveness; and we consider it essential that these benefits are not compromised... with the growth in population, 100 members of Parliament would be inadequate in either an MMP or First-past-the-Post system, and the number of members would have to be increased regardless of any change to the electoral system.

Not quite "we recommend that this bill be burned, and the ashes placed in Te Papa as a monument to stupidity", but its close.

They seem to have relied quite heavily on DPF's submission, to the extent to reproducing one of his tables in an appendix. Kudos to DPF.

National produced its own minority report, supporting the conclusion, but echoing most of the "pro" submitters in voicing their "grave doubts about the effectiveness of the MMP electoral system" - more effective representation, diversity, democracy and a greater trust in government (see the report's Appendix D) apparently taking a backseat to whether the government system allows a government without majority (and possibly not even plurality) support to run rampant and impose its demented vision on the rest of us.

So, as it stands, the bill is as good as dead. Next Member's Day is early October, but I think the bill will still be "below the line" then, so we won't get to see it finally go down in flames until October 25th.


The study results at the end really says a lot - despite all the negative feelings towards MMP, public perceptions of the government have, in most respects, improved.

I like the fact they mentioned the public knowledge bit on referendums, that was the thrust of my submission...

Posted by Lewis Holden : 9/14/2006 12:59:00 PM

while I generally support the idea of ignoring the opinion of the public (because most of them are idiots).
I find it a bit strange to fly right in the face of a referendum on democratic grounds.

I think that there is little chance that the public (unless properly 'educated') would vote for more MP's. I also don’t think they would consider 'diversity' to be a major consideration (unless it was grossly under threat) they might be concerned by representativeness - but would probably go for reducing the number of south Is seats as a solution to that.

But I guess at least it builds a precedent of ignoring referendums as hugely wasteful as that may be…

Posted by Genius : 9/14/2006 07:13:00 PM