The Mahurangi Magazine

Mixed-member proportional (MMP)

Mixed-member proportional, with addition of preference voting, is fairest possible system

Peters’ single super-coalition shot

If New Zealanders elected their prime minister, there would now be a clear winner. And, unless it was under the old deeply undemocratic first-past-the-post system, that winner would be Winston Peters. Because, while Jacinda Ardern and Bill English top the... read more

Let’s deliver this

It would be hard to contrive a more effective means of turning youth off. After being lectured for months on the importance of enrolling and voting, young people are now told nothing. Not only are they not told how young people voted, they are not even told how many young people enrolled…

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Just when Jacinda needed Germany most

When Jacinda Ardern stepped up, Labour was on 24% and National was at 47%. Once the special votes are counted, which include whatever youthquake or youth-tremor has occurred, the New Zealand National Party share will be lucky to be 45%…

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Failure to fix MMP could cost Labour

Gareth Morgan’s failure to crash last Friday’s leaders debate drew attention to the inescapable. His briefly promising political initiative hasn’t come close to breaking the 5%-threshold barrier to tyro…

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No Dunne deal

As with the America’s Cup, coming second place in party politics generally equates with losing. Until recently, it had been looking as though the hospital pass Bill English received from the charismatic, if unchivalrous, Sir John Key might not prove fatal. But…

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Courage for more than a cuppa

It’s 30 years since David Lange belatedly called taihoa. His Labour Party caucus cohorts had unleashed the neoliberal onslaught that, amongst other tragedies, precipitated New Zealand’s ongoing youth suicide…

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Make direct democracy smart democracy

Professor David Altman wrote the book on it. Academics know it as direct democracy; Australians, bless ’em, mostly as plebiscites; and mere citizens, as initiatives or referendums. Semantics aside, most democracies allow for direct democracy, to a greater or lesser... read more

Loyal opposition reaches oblivious conclusion

It was a stroke of unintended brilliance, which has blighted democracy ever since. When John Cam Hobhouse coined the term loyal opposition, in jest, he could’ve had no inkling he would help dignify 190 years of two-party parliaments, where typically the only loyalty... read more

Make Aotearoa egalitarian and great again

His timing is impeccable, and his mission merciful. Immediately mocked by the mainstream media, Gareth Morgan’s launch of a party dedicated to eliminating poverty and closing the inequality gap is a cause worthy of wholehearted support, even by the mean-minded.... read more

Hard lessons loom as history repeats

Corrected 5 October 2014 Like Dirty Politics, Watergate was revealed ahead of an election that saw the perpetrating political party rewarded, by being returned to power with an increased majority. Five months after five burglars were caught in Democratic Party offices... read more

MMP permits youth to be given lifetime licence to vote

Before 1996, it mattered—in order to participate in an election, a person needed to be registered in an electorate. This requirement reflected the Westminster system whereby the extent of a voter’s democractic entitlement was, at best, to help elect a local... read more

After a little shadow voting elect the prime minister

It must be exercising the mind of ‘Mattiavelli’ McCarten. Simply give the job of prime minister, post the election, to ‘Wily’ Winston. After all, it is entirely up to the winning bloc as to who the prime minister should be. Across all voters, Winston Peters would... read more

This time it might be politicians maintaining the miracle

It has happened only once. That the people, rather than the politicians, of an established democracy have led the change to a more proportional system. In fact, Aotearoa in 1993 elected to change from a sometimes inversely proportional system—the patently undemocratic... read more

Voilà! Lance, Laila and Lucy can vanquish neoliberalism

Undemocratic, unnecessary and now, in Germany, unconstitutional. In last month’s European Parliamentary elections, most member countries, and for the first time that included Germany, faced no explicit electoral threshold. In February, Germany’s top court had found a... read more

Concurrent elections closest to voter-turnout silver bullet

Another local body election, and another uninformed swipe at STV. While it is probable that the at-large, single-transferable-vote, district health board elections are the single biggest reason only a third of Aucklanders returned their ballots, the explanations for... read more

Cure for ills of democracy is smarter democracy

As submitted 7 September to MMP Review, except where noted Aotearoa is still very near to having the world’s smartest electoral system. If, as is entirely probable, the Electoral Commission’s proposals become its recommendations, and those recommendations are... read more

MMP commission has perfect hearing

The primary motivation in producing the Mahurangi Magazine to champion the Mahurangi harbourscape. Just an hour’s bus ride away from the city centre—or it will be once the Mahurangi Coastal Trail is complete—the Mahurangi is many Aucklanders’ favourite bolthole, a... read more

Very near to being world’s best electoral system

As submitted to the Electoral Commission The Mahurangi Magazine has campaigned for MMP to be retained and improved for four and a half years—‘1 2 3, tune-up MMP.’ This submission primarily addresses an inherent historical deficiency of mixed member proportional... read more

Ranking not ticking to tame party lists

It’s a graphic illustration of the limitations of an electoral system. Despite every poll screaming its opposition to asset sales, the National Party ploughs ahead claiming that last year’s win over Labour provides it with an unassailable mandate to implement its... read more

Challenge to capture voters’ true intent

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood It’s the Christmas present the planet doesn’t need. A signature of runaway global warming is the sudden release of methane from the ice-like clathrate compounds buried in ocean... read more

Dispatching two electoral review room elephants

Two elephants in the room, are two too many. The Māori roll and size of parliament are the two no-go areas for the Electoral Commission review, which will call for public submissions in mid-February and hold public meetings in April and May. The two subjects share... read more

Overdue tune-up will leave MMP better loved than understood

At 74.21%, Aotearoa hasn’t seen lower turnout percentages, consistently, since 1887. And although the 1978 turnout is recorded as 69.2%, this was a one-off aberration reflecting an under-resourced attempt to reform the electoral enrolment process—the following two... read more

Tactics and polls or preference voting

It was uncannily similar to ancient Greece. In Saturday’s tactical voting, where 54% could be said to have voted against John Banks, citizens were mimicking the first formal Greek use of the ballot, which was to ostracise a civic leader—his name having been scratched... read more

Mixed member means rout no landslide

The word has been expunged from the electoral lexicon. Had the election been held under first-past-the-post, the result would have been a landslide of global warming proportions. In its first successful election, in 1949, National won 51.9% of the vote but enjoyed a... read more

Graduatedly and preferentially fixing the fixed threshold

The two things are tied together. The coattails provision and the 5% threshold, in Aotearoa’s implementation of mixed member proportional. But first, it is necessary to consider why either might be necessary. Mixed member proportional is designed to ensure that... read more

Possible change in six years or definite change in three

If its fortunes markedly improve, it could receive a third of the votes. Two weeks to the election and polling has the Labour Party struggling to stay above 28%. With only entirely uncharismatic characters waiting in the wings to take over from the leadership failure... read more

Electoral Commission review and mixed member disinformation

Political parties are universally distrusted. The level of distrust varies, but the 83.2% of Seoul residents in their 20s and 30s recently surveyed who considered no political party supported their interests is reasonably representative. This dissatisfaction is behind... read more

Fascination with the beauty of models

There is nothing put at risk, bar the possible dashing of preconceptions. Such is the beauty of models; they allow scenarios to be explored virtually, at very little cost—once the software has been written, the model can be run again and again with the only... read more

First-past-the-post ‘win’ argument for preferential

It is easily overlooked. Aotearoa may enjoy exemplary proportional representation, but electorate representatives are still elected by the multiply flawed first-past-the-post system. Voters in last Saturday’s by-election were allowed to express only their first... read more

National’s Power sets scene to retain and change MMP

Some’ll see it as fiddling while climate warms. And never mind reviewing the electoral system, many see democracy as inherently incapable of responding adequately to avert runaway global warming, and hanker for a benign dictator. Famously James Lovelock, father of the... read more

Prendergast loss somehow pinned on preferential

As mayoral majorities go, it’s one of the slimmest. Because the democratic world is so inured to the deficiencies of first-past-the-post, it mostly goes unnoticed that mayors are typically elected by a minority vote, often a tiny minority. Whereas Celia Wade-Brown won... read more

Tuned-up MMP could be ninety-nine not out

First, it was a fateful decision. Then it became a cynical decision, when parliament ignored the 81.5% of voters who asked for the house to be reduced to 99 seats—the cosy two-party duopoly had no desire to see mixed member proportional endure. In fairness, most will... read more

Out of all proportional Aussies eat their Greens

Updated 9 September 2010 Grand coalition is the only honourable option. In yesterday’s election, neither major party obtained a mandate to lead Australia. The undisputed winner, out of the shameful defrauding of Kevin Rudd and the Australian people, is the Green... read more

Voting for and against, and with first past the post

It is a continual improvement advocate’s worst nightmare. It would be like lining up the 15-year-old family hack at Bathurst, without even checking the dipstick. Mixed member proportional is about to be compared with a yet-to-be-determined range of other systems, with... read more

Aotearoa has MMP half right

Only half know what they are doing. That’s in general elections, where the turnout puts local government elections to shame—in spite of voters needing to travel no further than the mailbox. And not only do a mere 52% (post election 2003) understand ‘which of the two... read more

What’s to fix with MMP

Updated 16 November 2011 The member of Parliament’s ‘What’s to fix with MMP’ wasn’t rhetorical. Consequently, the editor was somewhat taken aback. It was a sharp reminder that opinion on mixed member proportional is, mixed. That it is either a huge improvement on... read more

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