Launch of anti-MMP moves selectively leaked

by frog

MMP referendumb

According to NZ Herald Columnist Fran O’Sullivan the issue of a referendum on MMP was discussed at cabinet on Monday 31 August 2009. 

 Yesterday Ms O’Sullivan informed Newstalk ZB drive time host Larry Williams of how this information was conveyed to her – presumably by Mr Key – and how the parliamentary press gallery was kept in the dark.

 Larry Williams: You wrote about this a week ago the MMP [referendum] – well it looks like it’s going to happen.

 Fran O ‘Sullivan: Oh yes I did.  I don’t usually get it that wrong.  It was very much on the table at last week’s cabinet though they never made an announcement of it in the post-cabinet press conference but it [the referendum] was let drop at a business function I was at during the week so I decided to put it in the public domain.

What is interesting, at least to this frog, is who it was in the media that was fed the information about the referendum.  Rather than being dispersed to the press gallery it was selectively leaked at a business function.  And was this information given to a defender of the status quo? Hell no.  Here’s how Ms O’ Sullivan conveyed her scoop to readers of the Weekend Herald.

 Gamesmanship will again come into calculations on the sequencing of the MMP referendum.

Businessman Peter Shirtcliffe has been campaigning for “enough intellectual and organisational horsepower” to be applied so a single stage definitive referendum could be held next year, then applied at the 2011 election.

Frankly, Key should adopt Shirtcliffe’s timetable. If past polling is anything to go by, many Kiwis would vote MMP down if given the chance.

Fighting the next election on an electoral system – even First Past the Post – which gave more power to the major party to implement sensible policies would do more to even the gap with Australia than endless horsetrading.

 And what sensible policies would Ms O’Sullivan like implanted? Time to go back to Larry Williams drive time show where Ms O’Sullivan explains what MMP has stopped happening for the last decade or so – privatisation.

…various single issue or smaller parties will be able to point to wins they have had through [their] influence on the major parties that happens to be in power.  But there are also some big things that aren’t happening – there are things from a business perspective.  No-one can talk about privatisation…

No-one can talk about privatisation! – well that’s probably because National took privatisation off the agenda last year fearing that it would remind everyone of the 1990s and lose them the 2008 election.  However it looks like it is back to the 1990s when it comes to electoral reform.  Ms O’Sullivan explains just where the push for getting rid of MMP is coming from.

Larry Williams: Are you expecting vigorous debate on it – we had Peter Shirtcliffe last time – [is he] still going to be in there?

 Fran O’Sullivan: Yes Peter and Graham Hunt have teamed up again to push this one – they are definitely in there. And Peter has been saying a few words behind the scenes…


Frog wants to know who Mr Shirtcliffe has been having a few words and why the once valiant defender of First Past the Post is now floating the idea of a  Supplementary Member system – the exact same system John Key favours and a system that will lead to smaller parties being decimated.

Whoever Mr Shirtcliffe was chatting to about the alleged evils of MMP it probably wasn’t  Bill English.  In 2007 Mr English told the media a National-controlled government would NOT hold a referendum on MMP.  By 2008 with National riding high in the polls holding a referendum became National party policy and Mr English’s view was – according to Mr Key –  a “personal one”.

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy by frog on Tue, September 8th, 2009   

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