Friday, June 25, 2010

MMP means diversity

The hearings on the Electoral Referendum Bill have got off to a good start, with political scientist Jon Johansson reminding everyone that MMP means diversity:

Dr Johansson said MMP was a fairer system than first past the post, and it had brought more ethnic minorities and female politicians into Parliament.

"The dramatic increase in ethnic representation in the House is one of the most vibrant, progressive changes. MMP is an excellent fit, not just for our current demographics, but more importantly, the dramatically changing nature of our demographics.

The result is a Parliament that looks like New Zealand and represents us all - rather than just representing dead white males.

But don't just take it from him - the government’s own statistics show this. Here's their statistics on Women in Parliament from the 2009 Social Report, and here's the same graph for Māori, Asian and Pacific MPs. The difference between the two electoral regimes is striking. If we regress to a less democratic system, then much of that representation will be lost. And with it will go the legitimacy of our Parliament and our government.