Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Edwards on MMP

John Key's cup of tea with John Banks has got some people up in arms, with Phil Goff promising to unilaterally amend the Electoral Act to prevent such deals by removing the electorate lifeboat. But as Bryce Edwards points out in the Herald this morning, its not the electorate lifeboat which is at fault here, but the undemocratic 5% threshold:

The threshold acts as an antidemocratic element in the system because for many supporters of minor parties their vote simply doesn't count - in 2008 about 6.5 per cent had their party vote "wasted" because they voted for parties that didn't meet the arbitrary 5 per cent threshold. In 1996, 4.4 per cent of voters chose the Christian Coalition, the Alliance gained 1.3 per cent in 2002, New Zealand First won 4.1 per cent in 2008, and so forth. All these parties were kept out of Parliament by the threshold, and their voters marginalised.
If we abolished the threshold, there would be no need for such deals. There would be no all-or-nothing barrier, and no incentive for parties to gift seats to one another, or try and deliberately disenfranchise others. Instead, every party would gain representation in proportion to its party vote. Fair and simple.