Monday, June 16, 2014

Putting the threshold on the agenda

The unlikely alliance of Internet-Mana has caused a surge of hate from the political status quo for the electorate lifeboat rule, which guarantees us a more representative Parliament (and gives outsider parties another way of "breaking in"). Meanwhile, Internet-Mana is trying to shift the debate to the real problem: the undemocratic 5% threshold:

The Internet MANA Party has called on Parliament to change the law on voter thresholds and will test public opinion online.

An online petition went live on the Internet Party’s website today (Sunday) and will run for a week. It calls for a change to the law to guarantee equal value for all party votes.

Harré highlights the distortionary effects of the threshold: distorted voting preferences and wasted votes. Hone Harawira is more scathing, calling it a "protection racket set up by the old guard". They're both right. The threshold is an undemocratic distortion in our electoral system whose primary effect is to reduce electoral competition and choice. The arguments for it - that small parties are undeserving of representation or are simply "ineffective" - cannot be justified. It needs to go. Sign the petition today and add your voice to calls for a better democracy for New Zealand.

[And in related news: Keri Henare's MMP calculator is back up, so you can calculate the effects of tweaks to the system on electoral outcomes]