Monday, August 11, 2008

Not Proportional

Two weeks ago at their annual conferance, National made getting rid of MMP a core part of its election platform. Last wekeend we saw them trying to reassure the public that this would not lead to a return to the bad old days of unaccountable majority government, with John Key arguing that a move away from MMP would not necessarily spell the end of proportionality. Unfortunately, there's a problem: the system he favours - Supplementary Member - isn't proportional. It has some proportionality, in that the top-up seats are allocated according to shares of the party vote, but the overall result does not reflect the votes cast, and it would not prevent results such as 1978 and 1981, when National gained more seats than Labour despite winning fewer actual votes. As for minor parties, while they would have a better chance than under FPP, their representation would be tokenistic (around half what it is at present, according to DPF's calculations), and they would play a much smaller role in government formation than they do at present. As a result, the Royal Commission on the Electoral System concluded that the system was unfair to minor parties.

Sadly, the National Party sees these as strengths, not weaknesses. They want a disproportional electoral system precisely because it excludes other voices from power, returns politics to a cozy oligarchy favouring their party of rich dead white males, and increases the chances of winning absolute power (and thus being able to ram through a policy program without having to go through the tiresome business of seeking consensus for it). This is a deeply anti-democratic agenda, and one all New Zealanders should oppose.

More from Truthseeker here.