Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MMP review: Running down the clock

Last year, the Electoral Commission presented its review of MMP [PDF]. But rather than supporting an improvement of our voting system, they blew it, recommending a much less representative Parliament than we have at present. At the time I pointed out that the decision would ultimately come down to the politicians, whose venality could be relied upon to neuter the worst of the Electoral Commission's recommendations. And that's what seems to be happening, with National apparently running down the clock on enacting the legislation before the next election.

As someone who thinks that the Electoral Commission's recommendations are worse than what we have at present, I'm not exactly broken up about this. The only concern is that if they wait too long, they'll basically be leaving it to the next government, which may be a Labour-Green one. And I'm even more afraid of Labour's ideas of how to "fix" MMP (which would fundamentally break it) than I am of the Electoral Commission's.

In the post linked above, Andrew Geddis suggests National has three options: enact the recommendations for 2014, delay and enact them for 2017, or do nothing. I think they have another one: enact only some of the recommendations, those bits they can gain consensus on (i.e. that their single-seat coalition partners do not object to). This would be better than nothing, and coincidentally would likely leave us with a better system than the Electoral Commission has recommended. Of course, they'd take a PR hit; the question is whether they think that's worth it to settle the matter in their favour.