MMP for stability

3 11 2011

‘Thinking about the system we use for voting in elections – MMP. How easy do you think it is for people like you to understand MMP? (5 point scale)’ Consistently more people think that MMP is easy to understand than think that it is difficult. - NZ Electoral Commission

Richard Edmunds (The Gisborne Herald, 31 October) claims that most New Zealanders oppose MMP and that a different electoral system would be more democratic. A few facts are needed.

There is no groundswell of opinion demanding a new electoral system. In fact, the only politician campaigning against MMP is ACT leader Don Brash. The anti-MMP campaign is being run by the same two men who ran Brash’s campaign to become ACT party leader. They are being supported by Ruth Richardson (also ACT Party affiliated). All these people are welcome to try, of course, but this is hardly mainstream New Zealand.

Another fact: opinion polls show that if MMP is rejected, then New Zealand will return to first past the post. Other options such as PV and SM are not well understood and don’t stand a chance. This would truly be back to the dark ages, where a party with thirty-something percent of the votes could become government.
So, Richard Edmunds is wrong. Most New Zealanders are intelligent, sensible people who value stable government, a strong economy and a Parliament that represents the whole country. I expect they will vote to continue with MMP.
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One response

3 11 2011
Christopher Breen

I am not in a position to enter into a debate about ‘fact’ or a particular audiences view (Yahoo poll) about a topic. Rather I wish to express my own support for representational electrol systems. They provide an opportunity for ‘others’ to be heard, not only heard but taken seriously. New Zealand has changed over the last few decades and continues to do so, systems such as MMP embrace this change. Those who react negatively to such change seek to keep an ‘old order’, one that drowns out anything but the ‘power elite’ of the day, who of course see value in maintaining a status quo (that of their own power). They believe that they and only they have the ideological right to determine a future, the future that we all are a part off (with them assigning us our part – that of criminal, welfare dependent, good ‘Kiwi Bloke’). I suggest it is fear of change that drives the need to control it. I would be hugely concerned if we choose not to embrace it and understand it. To do that systems such as MMP, which has its flaws in its implementation, are surely the best way forward.

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