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Submitted on 03/03/2012 - 12:02pm relating to the issues Basis for eligibility for list seats (thresholds), By-election candidates, Dual Candidacy, Order of candidates on the list, Overhang, Proportion of electorate seats to list seats
Should the 5% threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:
While 5% is quite difficult to achieve it does keep the loonies out however I firmly support the principle of not wasting votes. If I recollect the recommendation of the Royal Commission was to have a threshold of 4%. I support 4% as it reduces wasted votes but is still a reasonable challenge.
Should the one electorate seat threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:
I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to the one seat threshold and note it was NOT a recommendation of the Royal Commission but was added by Parliament, presumably to discourage us from voting for MMP in the first referendum. There should be NO extra MPs until the percentage threshold is reached.
Should there be a different combination of thresholds? What should they be and why?:
Should list MPs continue to be able to stand as candidates in by-elections? If so, why?:
I don't think so.
If not, why?:
They have the advantage of Parliamentary funding which may disadvantage their opponents.
Should dual candidacy be kept? If so, why?:
I don't see the reasons for the paranoia about "the electorate voted him/her out but they are back in Parliament on the list" as one of the reasons for lists is that a party can put competent candidates high on the list who might not have sex appeal in an electorate e.g. would a disabled candidate be elected as an electorate candidate - I very much doubt it.
In an election, should voters be able to alter the order of candidates from the list order decided by political parties?:
If there really is a huge concern about where candidates are on a party list then yes.
If you recommend change, how should this be done?:
Give voters the OPTION to undertake an STV vote on the party list. Force parties to allow ALL their members to vote on list placings, as far as I am aware the Greens are the only party that currently do this, it may also encourage participation in parties as was envisioned by the Royal Commission
What should happen when a party wins more electorate seats than it would be entitled to under its share of the party vote?:
There must be an overhang otherwise the proportionality is destroyed. While to date it has only been a slight change it could still mean that a party that has only just scraped over the threshold could be knocked out unfairly.
Is this a problem, and what should be done to fix it?:
I don't believe that it is a problem although servicing some of the South Island and especially the Maori seats is an issue for those MPs. Perhaps the size of the electorate could be a factor for funding MPs electorate offices. The only real solution, shock horror, is to increase the number of MPs. With the top half of the North Island growing much faster than the rest of the country this is going to be an issue in any system. I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to reducing the percentage of LIST MPs. Another solution is of course to go to a truly proportional system such as Scandinavia and do away with electorate MPs but that wasn't an option to vote on.
Please use the space below for any other issues you want to raise:
There has been some talk that now we have MMP we don't need the Maori seats. As a 3rd generation Pakeha I believe that the Maori seats must stay as long as Maori want them and they must not be got rid of unless some genuine form of PR is entrenched in NZ. I can easily see a situation where they are disposed of and then FFP is put back (any govt could just decide to do that under present rules) and then that is the end of any say for Maori. I believe that many of the gripes about MMP are because while we have reformed our electoral system we have NOT reformed Parliament. It is hard to make a more representative system work when Parliament is still committed to an adversarial way of operating. The house needs to be rearranged so it is more inclusive rather than set up as them against us. The public perception could be radically improved if select committees were broadcast rather than Parliament! We also need to learn that having a minority government is not the end of the world and means another election. Parliament is supposed to be a contest of ideas - if you can't get majority support for an idea (bill) then it is just not a good idea; it should not mean the end of the government!