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# 91270 10-Oct-2011 11:35
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In Australia I was becoming more politically savvy - taking more of an interest, learning more, etc. I think it's important to have some political knowledge of the country you're living in (under-statement, perhaps) but in my 3 months here in NZ so far, politics hasn't been top of my "get to know" list (local eateries etc, however, another story)...

Can some politically minded person give me a basic run down (dot points work for me!) of the political system/upcoming election here in NZ?

I realise some of you will roll your eyes at this...

Thank you in advance for taking pity on me and sharing your dot-pointed knowledge.

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  # 531452 10-Oct-2011 11:48
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ignorance is bliss ;)

The more I follow politics the more depressed I get!



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  # 531455 10-Oct-2011 11:50
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Hmm! Good answer but not the succinct summary I was hoping for!

Anyone else?

 
 
 
 


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  # 531456 10-Oct-2011 11:51
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I won't go in to parties coz I'm biased :p

But we have MMP here, are you familiar with that awesome concept?



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  # 531462 10-Oct-2011 11:57
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I googled earlier when colleague referenced it in an email - it's not something we have so I'm not familair with ins and outs and my understanding is they're looking at abolishing? T/F?

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  # 531475 10-Oct-2011 12:37
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Have a look here:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/AboutParl/HowPWorks/




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  # 531476 10-Oct-2011 12:38
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I think we have a referendum asking if we want to change it, then next election if we choose yes it will be voting for what we will change to.

The biggest problem with MMP is it gives the minorities too much power

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  # 531481 10-Oct-2011 12:51
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MMP (apart from giving the ACT Party undue influence) seems to be about the best of the bunch for parliamentary systems.  I'm from the UK and MMP seems much better than first past the post, I'm not so savvy as to how it compares to the Aussie system though. 

The 'unfairness' of the current system is best explained by using ACT as an example - the have a single electorate MP, and under 5% of the party vote, but 5 MPs.  Compare that to NZ First, who also had just under 5%, but there sitting elecotrate MP, Winston Peters, was voted out so they have no MPs in parliament - their party vote counts for nothing.  The Green party has MPs woing to getting over 5% of the party vote? I'm not 100% sure how it all works either to be honest!

The referendum question about in the next elecion is basically because some rich guy who gives lots of money to the National Party doesn't like it, so National agreed to a referendum about it.  I can't remember who the name is without researching it, but it's the same person  who was key in getting John Key as leader instead of Bill English.   Most people seem happy with it, or at least are not actively against it, so I predict the referendum will vote to keep MMP. In any case, the vote is not to get rid of MMP, just to vote for a review, the result of which may even decide to keep MMP!

I like it that it gives people a voice who otherwise wouldn't have one. Not just the smaller parties, but also people like who live in an electorate that has no chance of changing hands, be it National or Labour,  and would otherwise have a wasted vote, like the AV system in Australia.

Personally, as a left leaning voter I'm not sure who to give my party vote though, Labour or the Greens.  Seems the Greens are amenable to joining a coalition with National  at the next election, and National wouldn't rule them out either as the Greens seem to have some business friendly policies this time around.  With ACT potentially being evicted altogether this time around (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=10757619), there is a chance of left leaning coalition with Maori, Greens and United First.

That would depend on National not having an outright majority though, in which case they can do pretty much as they please after the next election.

That's my view of NZ politics, after living herefor a four years. Prior to that I know next to nothing..

 
 
 
 


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  # 531487 10-Oct-2011 13:14
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lyma: In Australia I was becoming more politically savvy - taking more of an interest, learning more, etc. I think it's important to have some political knowledge of the country you're living in (under-statement, perhaps) but in my 3 months here in NZ so far, politics hasn't been top of my "get to know" list (local eateries etc, however, another story)...

Can some politically minded person give me a basic run down (dot points work for me!) of the political system/upcoming election here in NZ?

I realise some of you will roll your eyes at this...

Thank you in advance for taking pity on me and sharing your dot-pointed knowledge.


Some points: 

The election is on November 26th. 
NZ only has one chamber in its Parliament. The (appointed) second chamber was abolished in 1955. 

When you vote, you get two votes. 

1. One vote for a person in your local electorate. This  one is usually worthless unless you voted for the person who was elected. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. 

2. Your other vote is for a party. This is the vote that really matters. Provided your party of choice gets at least 5% of the party vote OR wins at least one local seat, your party vote will contribute directly to the election of not just one MP, but several....even many. 

The local vote is like voting for Dan Carter to be Fly Half, while the party vote is for the All Blacks as whole as the best team and the one you support...and you're voting for the whole team (even if you might not like one or two of the players).

Under MMP, the number of seats a party wins is directly in proportion to their share of all the party votes.  So provided your party made one or other of the thresholds, all votes are equal in terms of representation.  

This election, I probably won't bother with the local vote at all. The party that always wins in my electorate is one I never vote for....and the only vote worth casting is the party vote. My local MP is deaf as a post to any policy that his government isn't already supporting. 

There is also a referendum on the voting system. It was put up by the present government because they don't like it and haven't done as well under it as they did under the old one. They would prefer a system that gave a majority to one party most people don't support....and I'm sure in their mind, that would be them.

In the referendum, I'll be voting to keep MMP because I very much prefer having a vote that actually elects people to having one that doesn't.

You will also be asked what other system you might prefer. I'll be voting for STV on that question as it can still be a fully proportional system, where all our votes are equal in terms of representation,  while the other 3 options (FPP, SM and PV) all contrive, one way or another, to produce a majority result for one party that most people didn't support.

If there is anything else you'd like to know, PM me.




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  # 531490 10-Oct-2011 13:22
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That's a bit of a pessimistic view of MMP lol.
I would say the majority of NZ does not like MMP in it's current form.
Aside from the Maori/Green/ACT voters no one really likes it as you get those minor extremist parties holding the country to ransom demanding certain polices the rest don't really want.






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  # 531491 10-Oct-2011 13:23
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Thanks! I might sit and read through these posts with google at the ready for acronyms I'm not familiar with etc.

Will also look at parliament link.

Cheers :-)

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  # 531492 10-Oct-2011 13:24
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TheUngeek: I think we have a referendum asking if we want to change it, then next election if we choose yes it will be voting for what we will change to.

The biggest problem with MMP is it gives the minorities too much power


MMP doesn't give minorities "too much power".

The majority *always* rule.

The problem you're referring to is when one minority party can't do as it pleases because most people didn't vote for them and wants, instead, to blame the voting system. So they single out the smallest grouping who disagrees with them and pick on them, claiming they have "too much power".

It rather suggests they can't count and shouldn't trusted to be the government. They haven't got more than half the seats.....so stop whining and learn how to work with others. 
 

 



 




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  # 531494 10-Oct-2011 13:25
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No, it's when a party that around 95% of the country don't want anywhere near the beehive get a say.

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  # 531497 10-Oct-2011 13:28
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TheUngeek: No, it's when a party that around 95% of the country don't want anywhere near the beehive get a say.


That makes no sense.

The 95% presumably voted for who they did want...and have no right to suggest the other 5% aren't there, asserting their own interests, with just as much right. 

If you don't like Winston Peters or Hone Harawira...don't vote for them. But don't then behave as though these guys have no right to be there just because you don't like them.

Solving this "problem" by contriving ways to make people's votes worthless and excluding them is far worse.




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  # 531500 10-Oct-2011 13:36
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TheUngeek: That's a bit of a pessimistic view of MMP lol.
I would say the majority of NZ does not like MMP in it's current form.
Aside from the Maori/Green/ACT voters no one really likes it as you get those minor extremist parties holding the country to ransom demanding certain polices the rest don't really want.


You've stated the unfounded prejudice rather well. 

However, history has shown various parties are perfectly able to work together to produce reasonable outcomes most people can support. 

Without MMP, the norm was we get one party doing whatever it pleased.....and that was a party most people don't want.  

Sorry, MMP is FAR better.

As for the math issues: There is NO WAY 5  or 10 MPs in a small party can out vote the other 110 or 115.

Under MMP, the majority *always* rules.....it just might not be the government on every vote. 

Under FPP, the largest minority had 100% of the power. That was far worse. 

The "ransom" meme is rubbish. It pretends to ignore that a majority of MPs don't back the proposed policy without some concession being made. 

That's democracy. More, please. 







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  # 531501 10-Oct-2011 13:38
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TheUngeek: No, it's when a party that around 95% of the country don't want anywhere near the beehive get a say.


That's absolutely ridiculous. 5% of people voted for them so it makes sense for them to have some influence if they can be part of the government. Remember they are a minority so while they may get a few small pieces of legislation through the larger coalition partner runs by far the majority of policy so I don't get where you mean "to ransom".

I agree that the 5% threshold is stupid and unfair so it would be much better to get rid of that then the popular vote would be almost perfect. That's really the only weakness I see in the current MMP system.

The only other problem that causes distortion then is the situation with the Maori seats where for example the Maori party got far more seats than their party vote should support. I'm no fan of the Maori seats and think they should just be removed.

 




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