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Referendum on NZ Voting System

, posted: 20-Nov-2011 13:54

No voting system is perfect.

FPP is definitely the worst option. Only swing voters in the "marginal" electorates influence which party governs. Everyone else is effectively disenfranchised.

MMP is better, but suffers from List candidates -- people who have never had the endorsement of the voters.

My recommendation is for STV. There are no List MPs. Instead, there are larger electorates with 3 - 7 MPs. So a typical electorate might end up with 2 National MPs, 2 Labour MPs & 1 minor party MP. Some argue that it is complicated to cast ranking votes. If this dissuades some people who find it too complicated, then I think this is a good thing, as raising the average IQ of voters might raise the average IQ of MPs!


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Comment by sbiddle, on 20-Nov-2011 14:03

I agree that STV is the best proportial system also.

While the finer details of how STV works will be beyond many voters, the actual process of voting isn't - simply rank candidates in numerical order depending on who you like.


Comment by Ewen, on 20-Nov-2011 14:50

The problem with STV is that you would not expect to see much of the minor parties in Parliament. Even with Electorates of 7, I would expect to see 7 National in safe National seats and 7 Labour in safe Labour seats. The list of names on the voting form would be so long, how would we choose, far less sort into some sequence.

As in Australia, I think we would find a single tick above the line option. And as in Australia, 90% of voters would use the single tick option which automatically selects a party, and the sequence submitted by the party.

Electorates would be very large. I've used the system with the health board elections and found it impossible to work properly.


Comment by Ewen, on 20-Nov-2011 17:25

The problem with STV is that you would not expect to see much of the minor parties in Parliament. Even with Electorates of 7, I would expect to see 7 National in safe National seats and 7 Labour in safe Labour seats. The list of names on the voting form would be so long, how would we choose, far less sort into some sequence.

As in Australia, I think we would find a single tick above the line option. And as in Australia, 90% of voters would use the single tick option which automatically selects a party, and the sequence submitted by the party.

Electorates would be very large. I've used the system with the health board elections and found it impossible to work properly.


Comment by n4, on 21-Nov-2011 10:48

A 'safe' Labour seat might only have 50% support for labour - so there is still a lot of room for other parties in the other 50%.


Comment by Linuxluver, on 21-Nov-2011 11:05

I don't know why people struggle so much to understand how list candidates work. It's very simple and anyone who has ever supported the All Blacks has already gone through the process required to understand it. 

Your MMP party vote is a vote for the whole 'team' you voted for. In giving your party vote to Party A, you have just voted for every canddiate on their list.

This becomes terribly obvious when you consider the case of the Green Party. They have no local seats at all, but 7 or 8 MPs who were all elected by the MMP party vote cast by voters in every nook and cranny of New Zealand.

Sure it is obvious, then, that the list candidates are elected by the party vote and they have been elected - as a group - by voters.

To me, this is awesome-in-a-can. My one party vote helps elect an entire team of MPs. To me, that is SO superior to FPP, STV and every other system as to beggar belief. 

When yu spport the All Blacks, aren't you supporting the whole team? Or are you only supporting Dan Carter because he's from your town and the rest of them don't matter to you?

The party list is 'the team'. I support the team. My party vote lets me elect several / many of the team I support.

Why is this so hard from some people to get their head around?


Author's note by dmw, on 21-Nov-2011 23:49

The problem with MMP, linuxluver, is that any team can have a nutcase. Or a bad apple. Or a loose cannon. (The Maori Party have expelled one.)

Under MMP, as long as that person is high enough on their party list, there is no way for the electorate to express their displeasure with that individual, purely by the ballot box. Thus, each list MP has no Direct Mandate to be in parliament. Only a collective one. 

Personally, I prefer to deal with individuals. That way I can assess their character and values, and decide whether they warrant my vote.


Author's note by dmw, on 22-Nov-2011 16:46

Followup:

Liberty Scott came to the same conclusion, but far more eloquently and with more in-depth analysis.


Comment by wally22, on 22-Nov-2011 20:43

I'm for STV myself. Even the limited literature enclosed with my voting papers states "... The number of MP's elected from each political party roughly mirrors the party's share of all the first preference votes across the country. ..."
Dear Bruce on Aardvark first raised my awareness of this system to the extent that I researched it's fairness and I think STV is the one!


Comment by wally22, on 22-Nov-2011 20:46

I'm for STV myself. Even the limited literature enclosed with my voting papers states "... The number of MP's elected from each political party roughly mirrors the party's share of all the first preference votes across the country. ..."
Dear Bruce on Aardvark first raised my awareness of this system to the extent that I researched it's fairness and I think STV is the one!


Comment by Linuxluver, on 22-Nov-2011 22:05

dmw: The only people who can really express their displeasure with any MP is the people who voted for them in the first place. 

I see a lot of people "displeased" with Hone Harawera (elected by FPP, by the way)...who never voted for him in the first place. He isn't a nut case, either. He definitely does have a difference of opinion over the resolution to the seabed and foreshore issue. he is absolutely entitled to his opinion and when he put it to voters they backed hi and re-elected him.

Maybe you don't like Winston Peters. But you don't vote for him anyway....so your "displeasure" is already expressed by that simple fact.

What I can't understand is your view that your displeasure gives you the right to seek a change to the voting system to make someone ELSE's vote worthless......

That just seems wrong. 

I think the National Party a perennial blight on the life and sucess of New Zealand. They do far more harm than good whenever people dim enough to elect them......but I don't seek to change the voting system to make the votes of pople who vote for them worthless.....I just dont' vote for them. 

That's the answer. MMP lets you vote for who you want...or not. Just do that. 

Leave other people's votes alone. That their business.


Author's note by dmw, on 22-Nov-2011 23:36

linuxluver: Your premise is ludicrous.

If someone deliberately spills their drink over you at a party, are you not allowed to be displeased with them, unless you're the host who invited them? That is nuts.

I am quite entitled to hold the opinion that Winston P is a liar (witness his evidence to the Privileges Committee), a thief (he still owes the taxpayer $150,000) and undeserving to be anywhere near the halls of power.

But you are correct that I cannot vote against him, unless he is standing in my electorate. And only by voting FOR someone else.

STV will give me greater opportunity to do that -- there will be more candidates, and more MPs from each electorate.

For example, if I lived in the electorate that included Nelson, I could potentially vote for a National candidate without voting for Nick Smith (whom I loath), if there was one that supported private property rights. AND I could also vote for a Labour candidate who had her head screwed on, if I chose.

I agree that National have not aided NZ's recovery as well as they could. They have continued to borrow money, failed to prune wasteful election bribes (such as WFF and free student loans), failed to address looming retirement bills, and generally smiled and waved too much, instead of facing up to the economic realities.

But at least they have not tried to tilt the electoral system in their favour -- like Helen Clark tried to do, with her Electoral Reform Act. Or steal the election by deliberately overspending (as she also tried).

Elections - where wannabe politicians bribe voters with their own money.


Comment by Linuxluver, on 24-Nov-2011 18:44

dmw: My premise isn't ludicous at all. 

Let's say you live in Northcote and Jonathan Coleman is your local MP. 

But John Key is at your party and he spills his drink over you. He's the MP for Helensville. 

You don't live in Helensville. You can't do anything about John Key via the ballot box under FPP. he is beyond your reach. 

Under MMP, you can take your party vote away from National...and at least in some small way hold John Key to account through his party. 

Under FPP....You're stuffed. Oh...and you don't vote for National in Northcote anyway. You *always* vote for Labour....but thanks to FPP,  Labour never, wins in Northcote. So even if you had an issue with Jonathan Coleman, he'd just lagh at you because your vote for Labor in Northcote is meaningless. He knows it. You know it. 

There is no real accountability. ...and John Key, the guy who spilled the drink of your...well he couldn't give rat's either. You don't even live in his electorate. 

That's FPP. That's the far more accurate analogy: one voter to one politician and one party. 

You. Your vote. Screwed by FPP.  


Author's note by dmw, on 24-Nov-2011 23:51

Another pundit has come out in support of STV (David Farrar).

This is becoming "the thinking person's alternative to MMP and FPP."  


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David White
Auckland
New Zealand


Goon fan, .NET developer, contrarian seeker of truth