Discussion:
Don Brash on MMP
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John
2007-10-14 10:14:28 UTC
Permalink
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
13 October 07
We Deserve Another Referendum on MMP

Last month, New Zealand passed a milestone - happy or unhappy
depending on your point of view. Last month marked the 10th
anniversary of MMP in New Zealand.

I still get asked at public meetings: "When are we going to get
the MMP referendum we were promised?" And I try to convince the
questioner that there never was any promise to hold another
referendum on MMP.

Let me begin by saying that I think MMP has worked better than I
expected - but then let me also admit that I had very low
expectations! I thought it would lead to weak and indecisive
government - as it has in many European countries.

I thought it would lead to short-lived governments, as it has in
some other countries. I thought it would increase the power of
political parties at the expense of voters. I thought it would
lead to governments being formed after negotiations between party
bosses, not as a result of the opinions of voters.

I remember Jenny Shipley - like Helen Clark, strongly opposed to
MMP in the early nineties - observing that, under the First Past
the Post system, political parties were themselves coalitions of
people with quite widely differing views. Voters got to choose
between those rival "coalitions", one called "National" and the
other called "Labour". Under MMP, she prophesied, those with
differing views would split off to form small parties, and the
coalitions would be chosen after the election, not by voters but
by party bosses.

Well, I think MMP has worked better than I expected. Governments
have not been particularly short-lived. Minority views have been
heard in Parliament in a way which did not happen under First
Past the Post. There is a greater diversity of people in
Parliament - more women, more Asians, more Pacific Islanders,
more Maori. Some able people who would almost certainly not have
entered Parliament under First Past the Post have done so under
the MMP system.

But against these benefits of MMP, there have been some
substantial costs.

Small parties now have quite disproportionate influence: in a
Parliament where the two major parties are often fairly evenly
balanced, it's often one of the smallest parties which decides
which of the major parties will lead the government.

We saw that in 1996, when after weeks of negotiations, Winston
Peters decided to support Jim Bolger as Prime Minister rather
than Helen Clark. We saw it last year, when again Winston
Peters - after previously promising not under any circumstances
to accept the "baubles of office" - decided to support Helen
Clark as Prime Minister.

I don't know of any objective observer who believes that the
quality of government has been improved by giving Mr Peters such
influence: the risk is that both large parties agree to things
which, in their saner moments, they know make no sense at all in
terms of the long-term well-being of the country.

Of course, the system also lets small parties make grossly
irresponsible promises to the electorate - promises which sound
good to their more gullible supporters but which have not the
slightest chance of being implemented. The small party can always
blame Labour or National for the promise being broken.

Moreover, while Parliament may have a greater diversity of
Members, it's not at all clear that the overall quality of
representation has improved. Having a greater gender and ethnic
balance does not necessarily mean better overall quality, and
with 28 former trade unionists now in Parliament it's not obvious
that MMP has brought us a more representative Parliament.

It's certainly clear that MMP has strengthened the hand of party
bosses at the expense of voters: it's party bosses who negotiate
the formation of a government, often weeks after the election
itself, with horse-trading over policy an absolutely inevitable
part of the process.

Similarly, Members of Parliament are now routinely defeated in
electorates, only to re-appear in Parliament on their party lists
if they have done enough to win favour with party bosses - good
examples in the current Parliament are Winston Peters, David
Parker, Jim Sutton (until he resigned to be replaced by another
party appointee), Georgina Beyer, Russell Fairbrother, Rick
Barker, Jill Pettis, and Ann Hartley.

MMP also requires there to be more MPs in total than some other
electoral systems. In 1999, more than 80% of voters voted in a
non-binding referendum to reduce the size of Parliament to 99. We
currently have 121 MPs in Parliament, and frankly we need
something like that number for MMP to work properly, as the Royal
Commission on Electoral Reform recommended in its report 20 years
ago.

So while MMP has got some advantages, it leads to
disproportionate influence for very small parties, as a
consequence leads to weak and "compromising" government, requires
more MPs than most New Zealanders see as desirable, and greatly
strengthens the hand of party bosses at the expense of voters.

Surprisingly, MMP is also a system which is still, after four MMP
elections and the expenditure of considerable sums in public
education by the Electoral Commission, poorly understood by many
voters. I found it extraordinary, for example, how many well
educated people in the Epsom electorate lamented the loss of that
electorate by the National candidate in last year's election. If
only, they said, Richard Worth had won that electorate, National
would have had one more seat in Parliament and would have been in
a better position to form a government.

Of course, National's winning the Epsom electorate would simply
have meant that our candidate was an electorate MP and not a list
MP - we would still have had exactly 48 seats in Parliament.
Ironically, the beneficiaries of that outcome would have been the
centre-left parties: both Labour and the Greens would have got
one more MP, and ACT would have disappeared.

How on earth did we come to adopt a system which has so many
obvious problems? There will, of course, be many answers to that
question, but my own view is that we adopted MMP because voters
were sick of being misled - not to put to fine a point on it,
they were sick of being lied to.

Nowhere were the lies more obvious than in the whole area of
superannuation policy. In the eighties, the Labour Government
promised not to means test New Zealand Superannuation - and
instead introduced a surcharge. People felt conned. In the
election campaign of 1990, the National Party promised to scrap
the surcharge - and instead tried to introduce a means test and,
when that proved too difficult, retained and increased the
surcharge. People felt betrayed.

So when the two referenda on the electoral system were held in
the early nineties, people were understandably in no mood to
trust politicians. And when the leaders of both National and
Labour expressed opposition to MMP, the fate of First Past the
Post was sealed: many people concluded that if politicians don't
like MMP, then that must be something we should vote for! In the
event, not many people voted for MMP out of any real
understanding of what they were voting for.

Polling of those who voted for MMP in the November 1993
referendum indicated that only a third did so because they were
convinced that it was a better electoral system. And since only
just over half of the 85% of registered voters who voted
supported MMP, this implies that only one voter in six voted for
MMP out of any real conviction that it would produce a better
system. But whatever, now we have it, and it is 13 years since
the last referendum on MMP, and 10 years since the system was
adopted. We've now had four MMP elections.

There was in fact never any promise to hold another referendum on
MMP. What was promised was a full review of MMP. And, ladies and
gentlemen, I am sorry to tell you, that was conducted in 2001 by
a special select committee of Parliament. And surprise surprise!
The conclusion of that select committee was to retain MMP!

The National Party has no official position on MMP but at least
since a special Constitutional Task Force chaired by Sir Douglas
Graham reported in April 2001, there has been strong support
within the National Party for allowing voters to express their
views on MMP in another referendum. The National Party made a
commitment to hold such a referendum in its manifesto for the
2002 election, and again for the 2005 election.

Let me say that personally, if given a chance to vote in a
referendum, I wouldn't vote for a return to First Past the Post.
I think there are important benefits in having minority views
represented in Parliament. I think there are benefits in having a
way in which people who do not or can not spend years working
their way up through the hierarchy of a political party can
contribute to the political process. I think there are benefits
in having a greater diversity of people in our Parliament.

But nor would I vote to retain MMP. My personal preference - and
this does not reflect an agreed National Party position because
there is none at this point - would be to adopt the Supplementary
Member system with a total Parliament of 100 members.

There could be 75 electorate MPs, thus enabling a small reduction
in the size of current electorates. (There are currently 69
electorates, some of them very large indeed.) And 25 list MPs. As
now, voters would have two votes - one for their electorate
candidate and one for their preferred party. But whereas at
present the party vote determines the overall composition of
Parliament, under the SM system the party vote would determine
only the composition of the list seats.

A system of this kind would enable minority voices to be heard
without giving small parties disproportionate influence, would
enable a reduction in the total size of Parliament (very
difficult to do with MMP without requiring enormously large
electorates), would provide a route for people to enter
Parliament without spending a lifetime working through the party
hierarchy, and would provide a way of ensuring reasonable
diversity in the overall composition of Parliament.

To the extent that a higher proportion of the total Members of
Parliament would be elected in electorates, SM would also
increase the power of voters and reduce that of party bosses.

Funnily enough, when a Parliamentary select committee reviewed
the findings of the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform in the
eighties, it recommended retaining First Past the Post but
holding a referendum on the idea of electing extra MPs using the
SM system.

The National Party hasn't yet determined its manifesto for the
next election of course, but I believe it should commit to a
referendum on MMP. Many voters believe they were promised such a
referendum in the early nineties, and I believe they should be
given that opportunity.
--
John
"The only complexity in life is the ego trying
to undo the simplicity of reality." -Lester Levinson
E. Scrooge
2007-10-14 10:51:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All Blacks were in
and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be playing round with
politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.

E. Scrooge
EMB
2007-10-14 19:19:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All Blacks were in
and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be playing round with
politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective time as
leader of the National party, but in that article he makes a lot of
sense. Take the blinkers off for a couple of minutes Scrooge, read and
comprehend the article, then comment again.
E. Scrooge
2007-10-14 21:18:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All Blacks were
in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be playing round
with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective time as leader
of the National party, but in that article he makes a lot of sense. Take
the blinkers off for a couple of minutes Scrooge, read and comprehend the
article, then comment again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place though? Brash just
wanting some attention and a boost to his damaged ego perhaps after quiting
National?

People could do many articles involving work experiences etc etc, but they
don't bother because what they know themselves is good enough for them
without the need to share it with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that don't even
actually know of as well.
Brash was a political failure but to some degree had good intentions unlike
a lot of other politicians. Some of best writers have no associations with
who they write about.
And why would he still want to be publically involved with politics anyway.
He wasn't all that great with the media while leader of the National party.
Shipley as bad as she was at least had the sense to keep away from it all
after walking away from it.

E. Scrooge
John
2007-10-15 01:57:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by EMB
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All
Blacks were in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be
playing round with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't
even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective
time as leader of the National party, but in that article he
makes a lot of sense. Take the blinkers off for a couple of
minutes Scrooge, read and comprehend the article, then comment
again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place
though? Brash just wanting some attention and a boost to his
damaged ego perhaps after quiting National?
The article was actually written ages ago when he was Leader of
National. It was never used because his MP's thought other things
needed attention at the time.

Brash is a very 'rational' and 'objective' man Scrooge. To see
you dis someone and their valid ideas because they had an affair
is fucking stupid to say the least.

His thoughts on this matter would make things a hell of a lot
better for all taxpayewrs and voters in this country if something
was done about them.

READ IT FFS! It doesn't matter WHO wrote it, it's the truth of it
and the ideas presented that matter.

His ideas are more important than where he sticks his dick, you
stupid fool!
E. Scrooge
2007-10-15 03:48:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by EMB
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All Blacks
were in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be playing round
with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective time as
leader of the National party, but in that article he makes a lot of
sense. Take the blinkers off for a couple of minutes Scrooge, read and
comprehend the article, then comment again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place though? Brash
just wanting some attention and a boost to his damaged ego perhaps after
quiting National?
The article was actually written ages ago when he was Leader of National.
It was never used because his MP's thought other things needed attention
at the time.
Brash is a very 'rational' and 'objective' man Scrooge. To see you dis
someone and their valid ideas because they had an affair is fucking stupid
to say the least.
His thoughts on this matter would make things a hell of a lot better for
all taxpayewrs and voters in this country if something was done about
them.
READ IT FFS! It doesn't matter WHO wrote it, it's the truth of it and the
ideas presented that matter.
His ideas are more important than where he sticks his dick, you stupid
fool!
LOL
So being in and out of politics in only a few years means nothing at all.

Do you even have any idea how long Helen Clark has been in politics for.
Same with many other politicians.

If Brash was successful and had all the answers he wouldn't just still be
the leader of the national party but the Prime Minister of NZ as well.
His failure as a politician over only a few years speaks volumes.

Though in fairness to you it does help when some people can remember a lot
further back then just the last 5 minutes, and it does help if one can see
the entire picture instead of just a very small part of it.

E. Scrooge
John
2007-10-15 04:18:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by EMB
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the
All Blacks were in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be
playing round with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective
time as leader of the National party, but in that article he
makes a lot of sense. Take the blinkers off for a couple of
minutes Scrooge, read and comprehend the article, then
comment again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place
though? Brash just wanting some attention and a boost to his
damaged ego perhaps after quiting National?
The article was actually written ages ago when he was Leader
of National. It was never used because his MP's thought other
things needed attention at the time.
Brash is a very 'rational' and 'objective' man Scrooge. To see
you dis someone and their valid ideas because they had an
affair is fucking stupid to say the least.
His thoughts on this matter would make things a hell of a lot
better for all taxpayewrs and voters in this country if
something was done about them.
READ IT FFS! It doesn't matter WHO wrote it, it's the truth of
it and the ideas presented that matter.
His ideas are more important than where he sticks his dick,
you stupid fool!
LOL
So being in and out of politics in only a few years means
nothing at all.
Do you even have any idea how long Helen Clark has been in
politics for. Same with many other politicians.
If Brash was successful and had all the answers he wouldn't
just still be the leader of the national party but the Prime
Minister of NZ as well.
His failure as a politician over only a few years speaks
volumes.
Though in fairness to you it does help when some people can
remember a lot further back then just the last 5 minutes, and
it does help if one can see the entire picture instead of just
a very small part of it.
All that, and you haven't even read it! Astonishing.
E. Scrooge
2007-10-15 05:36:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by EMB
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the All Blacks
were in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be playing
round with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his ineffective time as
leader of the National party, but in that article he makes a lot of
sense. Take the blinkers off for a couple of minutes Scrooge, read
and comprehend the article, then comment again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place though? Brash
just wanting some attention and a boost to his damaged ego perhaps
after quiting National?
The article was actually written ages ago when he was Leader of
National. It was never used because his MP's thought other things needed
attention at the time.
Brash is a very 'rational' and 'objective' man Scrooge. To see you dis
someone and their valid ideas because they had an affair is fucking
stupid to say the least.
His thoughts on this matter would make things a hell of a lot better for
all taxpayewrs and voters in this country if something was done about
them.
READ IT FFS! It doesn't matter WHO wrote it, it's the truth of it and
the ideas presented that matter.
His ideas are more important than where he sticks his dick, you stupid
fool!
LOL
So being in and out of politics in only a few years means nothing at all.
Do you even have any idea how long Helen Clark has been in politics for.
Same with many other politicians.
If Brash was successful and had all the answers he wouldn't just still be
the leader of the national party but the Prime Minister of NZ as well.
His failure as a politician over only a few years speaks volumes.
Though in fairness to you it does help when some people can remember a
lot further back then just the last 5 minutes, and it does help if one
can see the entire picture instead of just a very small part of it.
All that, and you haven't even read it! Astonishing.
Nothing would be in there to claim that Elvis has never left parliament, and
that Elvis isn't all shook up to see National well ahead of Labour.

E. Scrooge
John
2007-10-15 06:00:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by EMB
Post by E. Scrooge
Post by John
Opinion piece by Dr Don Brash
Brash was in and out of politics alomost as quick as the
All Blacks were in and out of of the World Rugby Cup.
Brash had enough problems stuffing up his marriage to be
playing round with politics as well.
The guy disgraced himself to the entire country and
doesn't even realise it.
I haven't got a lot of time for Brash after his
ineffective time as leader of the National party, but in
that article he makes a lot of sense. Take the blinkers
off for a couple of minutes Scrooge, read and comprehend
the article, then comment again.
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place
though? Brash just wanting some attention and a boost to
his damaged ego perhaps after quiting National?
The article was actually written ages ago when he was Leader
of National. It was never used because his MP's thought
other things needed attention at the time.
Brash is a very 'rational' and 'objective' man Scrooge. To
see you dis someone and their valid ideas because they had
an affair is fucking stupid to say the least.
His thoughts on this matter would make things a hell of a
lot better for all taxpayewrs and voters in this country if
something was done about them.
READ IT FFS! It doesn't matter WHO wrote it, it's the truth
of it and the ideas presented that matter.
His ideas are more important than where he sticks his dick,
you stupid fool!
LOL
So being in and out of politics in only a few years means
nothing at all.
Do you even have any idea how long Helen Clark has been in
politics for. Same with many other politicians.
If Brash was successful and had all the answers he wouldn't
just still be the leader of the national party but the Prime
Minister of NZ as well.
His failure as a politician over only a few years speaks
volumes.
Though in fairness to you it does help when some people can
remember a lot further back then just the last 5 minutes, and
it does help if one can see the entire picture instead of
just a very small part of it.
All that, and you haven't even read it! Astonishing.
Nothing would be in there to claim that Elvis has never left
parliament, and that Elvis isn't all shook up to see National
well ahead of Labour.
It's Brash's thoughts on MMP, you fool. Nothing to do with Elvis.
Such fantasies seem to be where you reside, rather than Brash.

Read it, and see what you think.
Jonathan Walker
2007-10-15 06:07:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
It's Brash's thoughts on MMP, you fool.
Now that's a concept.

That senile ex politician (along with most of the New Right morons)
actually having thoughts.

When did he last have *A* thought of his own, let alone a NEW thought?
--
Jonathan Walker

"The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
John
2007-10-15 07:32:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Walker
Post by John
It's Brash's thoughts on MMP, you fool.
Now that's a concept.
That senile ex politician (along with most of the New Right
morons)
actually having thoughts.
When did he last have *A* thought of his own, let alone a NEW
thought?
Did you read it? How about commenting on it then?

Oh, that's right, you can't think can you? You're a brainless
gaping smelly shitty hole... and we all know they can't think.
Robert Howard
2007-10-15 07:50:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by E. Scrooge
Possibly true.
What were the reasons for the article in the first place though? Brash
just wanting some attention and a boost to his damaged ego perhaps after
quiting National?
The article was written while Brash was in parliament. He did not release it
recently. Muriel Newman dug it out and included it in her weekly political
commentary.
Post by E. Scrooge
People could do many articles involving work experiences etc etc, but they
don't bother because what they know themselves is good enough for them
without the need to share it with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that don't
even actually know of as well.
What that means and how it relates to the subject beats me.
Post by E. Scrooge
Brash was a political failure but to some degree had good intentions
unlike a lot of other politicians. Some of best writers have no
associations with who they write about.
Brash was not a failure. He came close to knocking Helen, a very experienced
leader, off her perch. She only just beat him using massive bribes.
Considering his age and inexperience in politics he did very well. He failed
to win but doubled National's vote.
Post by E. Scrooge
And why would he still want to be publically involved with politics
anyway. He wasn't all that great with the media while leader of the
National party.
I don't think he does. His handling of the media reflected his inexperience.

Even if he is an ex political leader doesn't he have a right to his opinion
even to be quoted by the media? Mike Moore has had a public opinion. Michael
Basset writes comments on Labour fairly constantly. Both criticise their own
party. Brash is hardly the only ex leader who has had his personal opinions
publicised after leaving office. David Lange wrote a serial newspaper column
after leaving parliament running Jim Bolger into the ground. The articles
have been collected together in a book and can be found in libraries. Have a
read sometime and see his vitriol against National after Labour lost in
1990. I doubt you will see that from Brash.



Bob Howard.




Bob Howard.

Patrick FitzGerald
2007-10-14 19:30:28 UTC
Permalink
Who or what is don brash?


Patrick
EMB
2007-10-14 19:51:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Patrick FitzGerald
Who or what is don brash?
Yet another shining example of your comprehension issues.
Levi
2007-10-14 22:05:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by EMB
Post by Patrick FitzGerald
Who or what is don brash?
Yet another shining example of your comprehension issues.
Yeah, pretty profane stuff from Pattie the old Mid-Canterbury sheep
shagger.
Patrick FitzGerald
2007-10-15 01:24:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Levi
Yeah, pretty profane stuff from Pattie the old Mid-Canterbury sheep
shagger.
You are a filthy , vile perverted coward Levi to post such vile
depraved obscenities while hiding cravenly behind a pseudonym

What a yellow gutless coward you are - too terrified and ashamed to
affix your real name to the perverted , filthy contents of your
depraved vile mind.

Patrick
John
2007-10-15 01:53:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Patrick FitzGerald
Who or what is don brash?
What wants to know?
Levi
2007-10-15 02:29:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by John
Post by Patrick FitzGerald
Who or what is don brash?
What wants to know?
A simple Mid-Canterbury yokel called Patrick.
John
2007-10-15 03:00:11 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 14:53:19 +1300, "John"
Post by John
Post by Patrick FitzGerald
Who or what is don brash?
What wants to know?
A simple Mid-Canterbury yokel called Patrick.
Is that what *it* is? Not worth bothering *it* -is it? Better off
leaving it chewing its little bone, I reckon.
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