NZ Green Party
Don Brash and SM

To be clear this is isn’t a blog post about Don Brash’s sexual predilections.

It is about Don Brash’s call for supplementary member electoral system (SM) to replace MMP.

It looks like Don and his rich right wing business buddies have decided that reselling FPP is too hard. So they have gone for supplementary member voting system which is very similar to FPP and is not a proportional system at all

What’s wrong with SM?

The amount of votes a Party gets does not determine the number of seats they have in Parliament –i.e it is not proportional.

If it isn’t proportional then it isn’t representative, and if it isn’t representative – it isn’t really fair or democratic (well not a fair version of democracy anyway).

So how does SM work? 

Under SM you have electorate seats that work under the old FPP system, so the person who gets the most votes wins (and all the other electorate votes don’t count for anything).  You then have a limited number of seats which are decided on a party vote.

So, for example, you could have 90 electorate seats determined under a first past the post model and 30 seats determined on the party vote.

Under this example if a party gets 10% of the vote but doesn’t win any electorate seats then they would get 3 seats (10% of the 30 seats determined on the list). 

That seem fair to you?

We think MMP is the fairest electoral system. It makes our Parliament truly representative of the people and brings with it a more diverse range of political voices – Māori, Pasifika, young, old, male, female – in a stable and effective environment.

If you are interested in more information on what’s happening with the MMP referendum- check out the Campaign for MMP.

10 thoughts on “Don Brash and SM

  1. Brash is not interested in democracy, only in power – his takeover of the ACT party is evidence of that.
    Even more disturbing, in my view, is that in his ‘debate’ with Hone Harawira last night on TV1 he stated categorically that the Treaty is not about a partnership between tangata whenua and the Crown, but is a document that requires us all to be the same, i.e. like him, with the same world-view and the same aspirations. His assumption is that, because Maori have the same rights and responsibilities there is no need to consult them or include their views on how governance or any other system, education, health, justice might take place. There is no room for their contribution on any of these matters – like it or lump it. He is a throw-back to the 19th century.

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  2. Janine, we should certainly all be treated the same in terms of the rules and regulations of the land. That’s about the only thing I agree on with Brash. I don’t think he’s saying it requires everyone to be like Don Brash, only that Don Brash should have no more and no less rights under the law than anyone else.

    As for MMP being the fairest system, I think that is open to debate. Maybe it’s the fairest system among the ones currently discussed, but look what it produced last time. Do we have a fair representation of people’s views in government? How about the supercity debacle that was steamrollered through against the will of many affect and against the will of the majority in some districts. So I think we could do a lot better than MMP for representative democracy.

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  3. He actually said that the Treaty did not represent any kind of partnership, ignored the principles entirely and banged on about the laws as though they were a given, not written by people with a particular perspective on the world. Partnership to me means that all of us should have the right and the means to participate in creating laws and systems – that has not been the case, with the shameful results that we see.

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  4. @ Tony. If I undertsand correctly your concerns with a voting system are getting a fair representation of people’s views and avoiding stuff like supercity getting pushed through against the will of the majority.

    Well MMP is way better than Supplementary Voting or First Past the Post at meeting those concerns.

    What voting system do you suggest?

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  5. Andrew, I agree that MMP is better than the alternatives you listed but it doesn’t, for example, get representation in government for those who voted for parties excluded from any coalition. Parties that gained 3.65%, 2.39% and 0.87% shares of the vote currently have government positions, leaving large sections (e.g. Greens and Labour) of the voters unrepresented in government. Obviously, the MPs elected by all parties that gain seats can play a part in the parliamentary process, though that’s not quite the same as direct involvement in government. In addition, some sections of voters have no representation in parliament, even though they are a bigger proportion of voters than others who do have representation.

    What would be a better system? Off the top of my head, I’m not sure, though I’d like to see more creativity in the options. However, I think party systems don’t offer real democracy. I often feel that devolved government would be more democratic, with smaller regions having their own empowered governments and they feed into governments of larger areas for decisions that need a broader consideration. I’d also like to see more use of referenda for controversial policies, if an inexpensive secure system can be found.

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  6. Even more disturbing, in my view, is that in his ‘debate’ with Hone Harawira last night on TV1 he stated categorically that the Treaty is not about a partnership between tangata whenua and the Crown, but is a document that requires us all to be the same, i.e. like him, with the same world-view and the same aspirations. His assumption is that, because Maori have the same rights and responsibilities there is no need to consult them or include their views on how governance or any other system, education, health, justice might take place. There is no room for their contribution on any of these matters – like it or lump it. He is a throw-back to the 19th century.

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  7. @Tony, I think solving the problems you describe would require a change to the way parliament works, not to the voting system.

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  8. So let’s have a discussion and referendum about the way parliament works. If the aim is truly representative democracy then maybe fiddling with the voting system won’t help.

    However, if the voting system is the only thing on offer to change, then we need to remove the 5% lower limit. I see no democracy in having a party with 0.8% of the vote represented in parliament (and even in government) when a party with 4.9% of the vote having no representation anywhere.

    The national parliament and government debates national matters and legislates nationally (usually). Maybe there is some rationale in having a wholly proportional system, with electorate MPs having a different role, a role focused on their constituency.

    Just mumbling, here. MMP has obvious flaws, to me. I’d like to read about more alternatives than the ones usually discussed.

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  9. @Tony 11:14 AM

    If the vote is to retain MMP there will then be a review of the detail of how it operates. This will include the threshold and the “yellow jacket tails” provision under which a party that gets less than the threshold can still bring in additional MPs if it wins an electorate seat.

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