Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Winston and MMP

Winston Peters says he wants to hack around with the electoral system:

Changes to the MMP electoral system could be back on the table including the controversial coat-tailing provision, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has indicated.


Peters told TV1's Q + A he would be open to the last MMP review being revisited.

The previous Government had thrown the last review "in the rubbish bin."

Asked if he would be open to the review being reconsidered, he said that was a "marvellous suggestion."

"I might put that to my cabinet colleagues and after consultation, if they agree, we might do that."

The problem? Changes to the electoral system traditionally require supermajority support, but there's no consensus in Parliament for any change. National (and NZ First) oppose any move to make the electoral system more democratic by lowering or removing the threshhold. And Labour, who do want to do that, won't do it unless it also gets to remove the electorate lifeboat - making the system less representative in the process. On both sides, the positions are driven by naked self-interest and an effort to fuck over each other's potential coalition partners for electoral advantage. The interests of voters in being able to cast a vote for the party they prefer and be represented without distortion are ignored by our self-interested political elite.

If the government makes these changes without supermajority support, they will both lack legitimacy, and open the door to a future National government doing the same (and on that front, remember that undemocratic National hates MMP, and that the system is not entrenched). Given the parliamentary deadlock, the only legitimate way to change the system is to put specific questions to voters in a referendum. But given the scale of the changes, people may very well ask why they're voting on them, rather than MPs sorting it out.