Sunday, September 13, 2009

Labour and reconfiguring breaking MMP

Post updated Monday
Did I hear correctly that Labour is discussing, in the context of electoral reform, whether the electorate/list seat mix should be reconfigured by reducing the numbers of list MPs, and replacing them with electorate MPs?

If so,the Greens will not be supporting this "SM/MMP" measure.

Here's why.

The Greens, who rely on list seats, will lose have a lower proportionate number of list MPs. Labour and National will of course lose more list MPs, but they'd be replaced by electorate MPs, probably from the land of the "wrong white crowd". Fewer women, fewer Maori, and the potential for overhang within major parties if the number of list MPs is too low.

update Actually its worse than that. I've since been following the discussion at Red Alert, after I got wind of the proposal and felt it stunk to high heaven. Delegates at the Labour Party conference were discussing the reduction of the size of electorates, by increasing electorate numbers, leading to the decrease in the number of list MPs. Figures of 90 electorates and 30 list MPs have been suggested. There will not be the "potential" for overhang, it will be a reality, and I can't understand why Labour is even suggesting this. Lianne Dalziel is even suggesting that such a move will retain proportionality! Granted, she did mention an 80/40 split, but if the minor parties were to get a substantial share of the vote she`d be wrong in saying the proposal retains proportionality.

In reality the proposal could perversely benefit Labour by giving the party a handful of overhang seats to make up for the lack of list seats.Even more so than it would benefit National. I think it is a worse proposal than the Supplementary Member system that the party opposes. Assuming the intended size of Parliament remains constant, overhangs will be a reality if the minor parties, with a system of more than 80 electorate seats, get a large combined vote of over 30 percent - and they did in 2002, in fact they got a bigger vote than National.

This proposal is something that should be rejected outright in any discussion of our electoral system. Back to the drawing board, folks - and this time, engage your brains.

And I see from this mornings paper that Labour also wants to prevent minor parties that get one electorate seat from getting more than one seat unless it gets more than 5 percent of the party vote. Another move intended to screw minor parties of the Right. Either that, or Labour simply gets its ideas from the media.

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Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

Technically they're only talking about altering the number of list seats, not the method of allocation. But its still a very bad idea, because it will lead to regular overhangs in favour of large parties, and an erosion of the ability of the list to restore proportionality - essentially the same problem as would have occured with the wretched "99 MP" bill.

But as a large party, Labour probbaly doesn't see this as a problem. You can always trust them to do the unprincipled, self-interested, hypocritical thing.

September 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

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