88,072

88,072 is the number of New Zealanders whose voices have not, but maybe should have, been counted last weekend. I will be the first to admit that I am (very very) glad Winston is gone, and if that did not involve throwing away the Party votes of 88 thousand New Zealanders, that would be fine. It might even be okay if New Zealand First polled lower than any other Party. I could certainly live with it if they couldn’t have gained a single seat anyway. But ACT, the Progressives, and United Future are all sitting in Parliament with less Party votes- the supposedly more important vote- than New Zealand First.

Act New Zealand had its 77,843 votes counted because of 18,583 voters in Epsom. The Progressives had their 19,536 votes counted because of 14,174 electors in Wigram. And, to our electorate’s eternal infamy, 11,250 voters in Öhariu caused the 18,629 votes for United Future to count. The Maori Party had its 46,894 party votes overhung by its 67,466 electorate votes1. Why should it take less electors to get a party through the threshold than it actually takes them to earn their list seat?

If we’re going to get rid of politicians who fall out of favour- like Winston Peters- can we please not do it by ignoring the votes of tens of thousands of New Zealanders? Personally, I think it’s time- and past time- that we stopped making electorates more important than they should be2, and set the threshold to the amount of party votes required to win a single list seat outright. Had we abolished the party vote threshold and allowed every Party that wins a list seat outright into Parliament, here is what the (pre-special vote) results would have looked like:

2008 election results before special votes, with the threshold removed

Note that this would not have changed the government, nor John Key’s ability to govern without the Mäori Party.

1And I hope the fact that it required more electorate votes than Party votes for the Maori Party to secure two overhang seats will help pacify, to some degree, those who protest against them claiming overhang seats, despite having little problem with MPs like Peter Dunne having done so in the past.
2That is, electorates should be about choosing a specific MP to go into Parliament, not about giving small parties a boost.

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34 thoughts on “88,072

  1. To meet these requirements I believe that MMP could be altered by the proposals of a Commisssion – and a subsequent Act of Parliament – with no need for a referendum.

    However, if we also wanted a fairer method ( such as STV) of choosing our electorate representative, we would need to have a referendum.

  2. Well, I’m hoping that if National calls a referendum on MMP, we’ll get the option to change it in such ways as instituting more representative electorate votes, eliminating the threshold, and so on.

    edit: I just saw from Scoop that I/S has covered the same subject recently. Great minds think alike? I wonder if he drafted his on election day, too? 🙂

  3. Wait a minute: I thought the Greens have always espoused the virtues of MMP? Now you bag it because Winston wasn’t there to help form a government with you and Helen.

    What happened to your principles?

    And quite frankly, if the wishes of 88,072 bigots, racists and xenophobes are being ignored, shouldn’t this be cause for celebration?

    With your line of reasoning, then the wishes of millions of pro-Nazi Party German voters during the WWII era were being ignored by the international community when Germany was invaded. Mind you, Hitler was a democratically-elected leader.

    And therein lies the problem when you apply moralistic arguments selectively.

    Let’s not give Winston more credit than he deserves.

    You have no idea how happy the Asian communities are now that Winston is gone.

  4. I’m sorry? We’re not “bagging” it, we’re saying it’s a step in the right direction, but the adjustments made when it was implemented by Labour have lead to quirky results where extremists like ACT can get in on a safe electorate, but New Zealand First gets no seats at all because it loses Tauranga at the same time as falling below the treshold.

    Kjuv is talking about running an STV vote for electorates in an MMP system to my understanding, not replacing MMP with a system like STV that actually removes proportionality.

    And quite frankly, if the wishes of 88,072 bigots, racists and xenophobes are being ignored, shouldn’t this be cause for celebration?

    If their wishes are being ignored, yes, I’ll join you in the celebration. If their votes are being ignored, no. Given the choice between having Winston being ignored in Parliament and having people’s votes count for something, or treating those votes as worthless and getting rid of Winston, I would go with my principles and say their votes should count.

    You have no idea how happy the Asian communities are now that Winston is gone.

    Did I not mention right at the start that I too am exceedingly happy that he is gone? I agree with you that he’s not just a xenophobe who enables racism, he’s also one of the least accountable politicians in New Zealand, a notorious cronyist, and he epitomises the kind of centrist pork-barrel politics that we find so distasteful when comparing our government to the United States.

    I have no problem with people reading their own views into what I write, but please, actually read first. 😛

  5. Shawn Tan said: Wait a minute: I thought the Greens have always espoused the virtues of MMP? Now you bag it because Winston wasn’t there to help form a government with you and Helen.

    Shawn, I think you have got it wrong. The Green Party supports the virtues of MMP, in that it produce (close to) proportional representation.

    I actually like National’s proposal for a review of it, because there are things that do not work right at the moment in terms of proportionality

    I agree with you Shawn, that most of Winston’s lot are bigots, racist and xenophobes. But, funnily enough, I agree that bigots, racists and xenophobes should not be denied represetation in Parliament. As disgusting as both you and I consider their views to be, I think the commitment of both the Green Party and the ACT party to freedom should not deny their being represented.

    The changes I would like to see to the electoral system are:

    1) The electorate vote being decided by the Single Transferable Vote system (STV). This would mean that every electorate MP had the overall support of his or her electorate, rather than being someone who squeaked through the middle on a split vote. Look at the Ohariu electorate results. On the basis of proportionality, given those results, Peter Dunne should not be the MP for that electorate and should not be in Parliament.

    2) Get rid of the regime that allows candidiates who win electorate seats to drag additional MPs from their Party in with them. If you get one seat, you should get one seat.

    3) Reduce the MMP threshold to get list representation 5% to 2%. This is just basic democracy, and counterposes the point I propose under 2) above.

    All these, I think, would create a fairer electoral system. Let’s treat the electoral reform proposals from National as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

  6. Ari,

    Yes, I did read what you wrote – but thanks for the concern. 😉

    My point is that wishes are reflected in votes. Therefore, the 88,072 bigoted, racist, xenophobic and repulsive wishes are reflected in party votes, which nobody should be weeping about given that they have been silenced.

    If voter supremacy was absolutely paramount, why did the international community intervene in Nazi Germany in WWII? A overwhelming majority of constituents voted for a genocidal party. If you’re arguing from a position of principle, you would be advocating complete non-intervention. Surely you cannot justify such a stance?

    And what about the 10,738 that voted for the Bill and Ben Party? Should we also be concerned about the views of those who have no views?

    I personally would prefer reducing the threshold to 4% (even if that means NZ First make it back in), or (like the views expressed here) implement some semblance of an STV system.

    But let’s not be apologists for NZ First. They played the game called politics fair and square, and lost.

    Remember, there were 2,015,770 New Zealanders who didn’t vote for Winston First. Let’s, perhaps, pay more attention to their wishes and their votes.

  7. Here’s the best way to summarise my points:

    If you vote for an ignorant and irrelevant party that the country increasingly despises, don’t be shedding any tears if you find your vote not counting.

    Make a stupid decision, and live with the consequences.

    Nobody wants Winston as their MP in Tauranga, and not enough New Zealanders are blind enough to let Winston First cross the 5% threshold.

    The people have spoken. Let’s just respect and accept that.

  8. Ah I agree with Toad that it would be far more democratic to reduce the MMP threshold to get list representation. My goodness Shawn Tan, Peters really gets your goat !

  9. It seems many people are outraged about the unjust 5% threshold. Good to see it raised here. It is a shame the Greens did nothing about this when they had more minor party MP’s in the house to convince the big 2 parties…especially as I lobbied Keith Locke to do just that, and he “didn’t think it important”.

    If the public knew there was no threshold (so any party getting 0.83% of the party vote gets an MP), there would have been drift to tiddler parties like Kiwi Party, Family Party and ALCP, but even so there would have been a smaller vote for Labour & National. These parties polarise people’s vote precisely because of the undemocratic 5% threshold.

    I also favour STV for electorate votes under MMP. However, there is a bigger debate about whether STV (electorates only) should replace MMP (party proportional system), so we get MP’s who do what their local community demand, not just follow ‘party policy’ or get an obscene ‘conscience’ votes (I can ignore everyone).

    STV though, needs to be combined with the ability of electorates to recall their MP if the MP strays far from voter wishes. A standardised electorate referenda would do that nicely, allowing the public to vote ‘no confidence’ (and hence sack that MP, and then have a byelection) in an MP. The public are quite good at deciding what issues are important enough to sign the petition to have such a referenda (say 10% of voters registered in an electorate). Attempts by big parties to undermine their opponents MPs would prove counterproductive.

    Oh, and @ Shawn Tan – grow up. It should be a concern for everyone when large numbers of Kiwis have their vote nullified – not by democracy, but by an arbitrary 5% threshold brought in by Labour & National to gerrymander the vote in their favour, as it just has. Regardless of which party it happens to (could easily have been the Greens a few times).

    And yes, Hitler was democratically elected, and the international community DID ignore his atrocities inside Germany, up to the point where he invaded Poland (having already invaded Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark).

    Atrocities (of the Nazis or anyone) have nothing to do with the importance of respecting democracy, or voting systems. The UN respects countries right to internal sovereignty, but this is overruled when they attack other nations, or when a government abuses its own citizens. By rights, the international community should have intervened in Germany earlier, to stop the attacks on Jews, gypsies, et al.

  10. I should also note that – in relation to Shawn Tan’s comment about the Bill & Ben Party – such ‘joke ‘ parties are likely to lose support radically if people know they might actually get such plonkers into Parliament (tho’ ya can never tell).

    And the only reason some people are claiming Bill & Ben or Kiwi Party would get 1 list MP each without the 5% threshold, when they got just 0.51% and 0.56% of the party vote, is because our MMP system rounds up the party vote to get whole list MP’s (a 1/2 MP not being much use to anyone!).

    One way to avoid this is to have a 0.83% threshold (which equates to 1 MP – list or electorate, rendering the electorate MP rule unnecessary). Another option is to have no threshold, but truncate the party vote, not round up or down. This means each party only gets list MPs they have fully earnt, and their partial MP party votes get ditched (not reallocated). This would usually give 1 or 2 MPs less in total, but ensures tiddler parties can’t get rounded up to get an MP with just 0.42% of the party vote or more.

  11. My point is that wishes are reflected in votes. Therefore, the 88,072 bigoted, racist, xenophobic and repulsive wishes are reflected in party votes, which nobody should be weeping about given that they have been silenced.

    Even bigots deserve to have their votes counted, and their representatives in the house. It keeps them peaceful and (hopefully!) appropriately marginalised. If they actually get a voice in government, that is the fault of the governing parties lacking moral standards, not the electoral system.

    The way to repress bigotry is not to just pretend it isn’t there. We have to confront it and show it to be wrong.

    And what about the 10,738 that voted for the Bill and Ben Party? Should we also be concerned about the views of those who have no views?

    They wouldn’t have been entitled to even a single list seat, so why should we be concerned? Ideally I would like less votes to be “wasted” in this fashion, but I don’t see a practical solution that allows for it.

    MMP is about representing a lot of views. Some views may be extreme, or distasteful… (Hi Rodney! 😉 ) but they still deserve a voice and a seat at the table. Whether the larger parties are willing to deal with them or not should be the measure of their relevance, not some arbitrary threshold. 🙂

    If you vote for an ignorant and irrelevant party that the country increasingly despises, don’t be shedding any tears if you find your vote not counting.

    Make a stupid decision, and live with the consequences.

    Nobody wants Winston as their MP in Tauranga, and not enough New Zealanders are blind enough to let Winston First cross the 5% threshold.

    The people have spoken. Let’s just respect and accept that.

    So do you agree that Act, United Future, and the Progressives should all be gone from parliament too? Because they all got less than the threshold. My problem is that electorates allow parties who “lose” the Party vote to get through. My preferred solution is to make “losing” the Party Vote a lot harder, and then people are still perfectly free to vote for whoever they like in electorates.

    As I said earlier- I am perfectly happy that NZF and Winston are out. I dislike their views and their philosophy, and especially their “dear leader” party structure. But not enough of the “people” have really spoken. 88 thousand is a really significant chunk of the people who voted this election, and they deserve to have their party votes counted in my opinion.

    Squaredrive- Great minds think alike! I’ve had a wishlist of my changes to MMP on my hard drive for a while now and it includes a 0.83% threshold. I just posted something to The Standard about that as well.

  12. Ari: No, because ACT, UF and Prog all won an electorate seat, even though they polled under 5%. NZF neither won an electorate seat nor polled over 5%.

    It’s like saying: To stay in Parliament, you need either A or B. If you don’t have A, and you don’t have B, I’m sorry, but you gotta leave Parliament. It’s really that simple.

    Ari & Squaredrive: Ironic that you speak of the Bill & Ben Party so condescendingly, and dismiss them as a “joke” party. (Mind you, some on the Right see the Greens as a joke party, given the ex-McGillicuddy Serious members who’ve featured–and continue to feature–prominently in your caucus and leadership positions.)

    Sure, the B&B Party polled even lower than NZF (although much higher than “serious” parties like the Family Party, the Libertarianz, the Alliance and the Pacific Party) – but why should their votes not warrant your concern? Without the threshold, they would actually attain one seat.

    Actually, squaredrive, it’s you who should grow up: You’re concerned about the votes of NZF voters nullified, yet not those of all the other minor parties combined, whose total is greater than 88,072. Why so much deference to NZF voters? Your principled arbitrariness is what undermines your arguments.

    In fact, I notice a similar pattern of lamentation about the “wasting” of NZF votes on other left blogs like The Standard and No Right Turn. Trying to extract this out of you is like drawing blood from a stone, so let me spell it out:

    The reason why you’re so concerned about these 88,072 “wasted” votes is because, had they been counted, they may have helped prevent a National-ACT government – or at the very least bridge the gap and thus make the defeat less punishing.

    And by the way, I see Labour is launching a campaign to “save MMP”. Why save a campaign you’re now so critical of? (Mind you, no mention was made of how it should be amended, so I can only conclude it means preserving MMP as we have it.)

    This is the problem with the left: You’re critical of something when it disadvantages you, and highly supportive of it when it benefits you.

  13. (Meant to be “Why save a system you’re now so critical of” in the second to last paragraph.)

  14. There’s almost always further room for improvement, Shawn. That’s why we’re critical.

    And no- I’ve said this over and over again: I am happy NZF are gone, and would honestly rather see them gone for good than have a fourth-term Labour government. I have accepted that we’re going to have to deal with National for at least a term and I don’t think electoral reform should ever be based on wanting to have “won” a particular election. Many of the opinions I’ve expressed about MMP recently have been things I’ve been thinking about since way before the election. What I am upset about is the thought that tens of thousands of voters have essentially been disenfranchised at the whims of a single electorate that they probably outnumber- and I’m really not a fan of electorates in the first place. Stop. Assigning. Me. Motivations. 😛

    I don’t think I dismissed anyone as a joke party. I said they probably don’t have the votes to win a seat outright, which seems to be quite factual. As for the parties polling even lower: Maybe if we decide to take on additional population we could extend our parliament and lower the threshold even further. But I think there does eventually have to be a point where you say “right, there’s just not enough space to represent every micro party.” That’s a very different thing to cutting off parties that can win seats outright.

  15. @ Ari – good to hear you’ve taken the ideas wider! I favour no threshold, but with truncation instead of rounding list MPs up or down. This has the effect of a ‘natural’ 0.83% threshold, which precludes Bill & Ben party types getting rounded up from 0.51% of the vote to 0.83%.

    @ Shawn Tan – I can only quote Ari’s earlier comment to you:
    “I have no problem with people reading their own views into what I write, but please, actually read first. 😛 ”
    I said in the 1st paragraph of my first post that I had lobbied Keith Locke about ditching the 5% threshold BEFORE this election (in fact, over the last several years). As such, my opposition to the 5% threshold (or any lower level):
    1) is principled, not due to the election result, which we didn’t even know at the time I was lobbying Keith.
    2) had nothing to do with NZ First being the victim of the 5% threshold this time (the Alliance was a victim last time), and extends to all parties that drop under this high threshold.

    To spell this out to Shawn – some of us have been lobbying for a better MMP (or an even better electoral system) for some years now – this election has just highlighted how unjust the current threshold really is – to NZ First, the Kiwi Party and other such minor parties.

    By contrast – I refer to the Bill & Ben party as a ‘joke’ party because…. they are!!! As they will admit I’m sure. A couple of media bunnies with a party list of 2, no policies and no campaign are all giveaways that they are a joke party Shawn, but I guess Act supporters don’t understand jokes (which explains their voting pattern).

  16. Pingback: Scrap undemocratic thresholds! « Square Drive

  17. Finding the right balance is important. Surely you wouldn’t want a situation where Parliament is beholden to fringe parties with 1% support?

    Mind you, this constitutes much of the public’s gripe about MMP – that it allows minor parties to hold major parties to ransom.

    I’m all for pluralist representation. But there is only so far you can slice the cake.

    Back to the “lost’ votes of the 88,072 who voted for NZF: I appreciate your batting for the voices of these people to be heard. But the system hasn’t failed them; they failed to beat the system. Accept defeat graciously.

    Besides, I don’t see NZF complaining about their supporters’ votes not being taken into account. Why must you Greenies/lefties do their bidding for them?

    <Edited your comment for you. -Ari>

  18. Finding the right balance is important. Surely you wouldn’t want a situation where Parliament is beholden to fringe parties with 1% support?

    Yes, I would, if voters genuinely didn’t like the other parties enough to let them form a coalition, then the “fringe party” deserves a deal that reflects their 1% support. What I have a problem with is leaders who would bargain away a lot more than 1% of the vote’s worth of policies in order to get into government. I don’t think that’s specifically a disadvantage of MMP so much as a reason to be very careful with who you vote for.

    Besides, I don’t see NZF complaining about their supporters’ votes not being taken into account. Why must you Greenies/lefties do their bidding for them?

    Because the Green party has a huge amount of electoral reform supporters as members, we’ll tend to speak out about this sort of thing. Hell, I’d speak out if it were ACT who was in this situation, and I’d like to see them gone more so than Winston 😛 The point isn’t that they “lost”*- the point is that how they lost reveals a flaw in the system, and we should be ready to patch that kinda thing up as it comes apparent. Such efforts, when carefully considered beforehand, are very healthy for our democracy.

    *I take issue with calling certain electoral results “wins” or “losses” in general, although I suppose this time might be appropriate for the word “loss” in NZF’s case.

  19. I’m surprised you’d find racists more tolerable than libertarians, but that’s your call. 😛

    Without a threshold, the Bill & Ben party would have one seat, and hold the balance of power. Surely you wouldn’t want a scenario like this?

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but ACT is here to stay. 😉

    The difference between ACT and NZF is that whereas ACT has a defined and coherent ideology, NZF doesn’t – they are populists, and will pander to base sentiments like xenophobia to get votes. UF and Prog won’t be around much longer either, as their ideology is rather flimsy, with Labour or National being well-equipped to occupy their space.

    In ACT, we are prepared to say and do things, even if deemed unpopular by the masses. The Greens should know what I’m talking about here.

    In fact, it’s only ACT and the Greens that have a defined ideology. Labour and National will always be around because centrism is really the default for a lack of ideological backbone.

    And that’s why ACT and the Greens will be around for quite some time yet. Green thought and libertarianism will always have their core backers in society.

    Can I put it to you that the reason why these 88,072 votes is such an issue now is because such a scenario has not previously occurred to such an extent, i.e. no party has gone out of Parliament by failing to cross the 5% and also not win a seat.

    Whatever amendments we do to the political system, there will always be a party that will fall victim to the vicissitudes of the voting process. This is unavoidable.

    If what we’re worried about is our democracy, then I’d submit that we should worry more about the 25% of eligible voters who don’t vote every single election. This number far surpasses 88,072 – and they haven’t had a say at all, let alone had their vote counted.

    There really is no end to this if we try and include absolutely everyone’s votes. There will always be those who fall through the cracks.

    Sorry if this comes across as cold-hearted; it’s simply a brutal rendering of the realities we live with.

  20. Without a threshold, the Bill & Ben party would have one seat, and hold the balance of power. Surely you wouldn’t want a scenario like this?

    If you read my post carefully, you’ll notice that I said we should “abolish” the threshold by setting it to 0.83% of the party vote. Not only would Bill & Ben not have won a list seat with that threshold, as many people have pointed out, they would likely have received a lot less of the vote given that people knew their votes for micro parties were more likely to count.

    In fact, it’s only ACT and the Greens that have a defined ideology. Labour and National will always be around because centrism is really the default for a lack of ideological backbone.

    The problem I have with ACT is that they’re too quick to pander to their extreme-right core of voters and don’t really seem to vote along libertarian lines. For instance, no self-respecting libertarian would vote for marriage to be restricted to only men and women- yet ACT did. If you stuck with your anti-interventionist streak on social issues, I could respect ACT as a Party, even while fervently disagreeing with them. As it is I really just view ACT as a way for National to excuse its more extreme policies.

    Can I put it to you that the reason why these 88,072 votes is such an issue now is because such a scenario has not previously occurred to such an extent, i.e. no party has gone out of Parliament by failing to cross the 5% and also not win a seat.

    That would be entirely correct. I’m sure I acknowledged this last time I posted. 🙂

    Whatever amendments we do to the political system, there will always be a party that will fall victim to the vicissitudes of the voting process. This is unavoidable.

    Indeed it is. But I maintain that there is a mountain of difference between parties with too few votes being excluded, and parties with enough votes to win a seat or more being excluded. In a small parliament like ours, one seat is an excellent minimum threshold for election.

    If what we’re worried about is our democracy, then I’d submit that we should worry more about the 25% of eligible voters who don’t vote every single election. This number far surpasses 88,072 – and they haven’t had a say at all, let alone had their vote counted.

    Have a look at my past posts. 😉 I’m also very worried about those who don’t vote- I do accept that there are some that don’t want to be convinced, of course. In my own dream world, we’d have multipartisan efforts to get 90% turnouts. 😉

    There really is no end to this if we try and include absolutely everyone’s votes. There will always be those who fall through the cracks.

    Sorry if this comes across as cold-hearted; it’s simply a brutal rendering of the realities we live with.

    Right, I agree with you and have already addressed this. It’s not that I want every single vote to be counted- I just think this incident is way past the line in the sand that I’d draw. 88 thousand people out of 2.5 million is too many votes to throw away.

  21. I’m not aware of ACT voting to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

    When it comes to moral issues, such as same-sex marriage, abortion, voluntary euthanasia and prostitution, ACT does not have an official party position on this. We allow our members to vote according to their conscience on these matters.

    This is the libertarian thing to do, I would have thought.

    So it may well have been the case that both Rodney and Heather both voted for a “one man, one woman” definition of marriage, as per their individual consciences. If so, one cannot begrudge them of this.

    That said, I very much doubt they voted as such, given that GayNZ has always given favourable opinions of ACT. (Pointed out to me, mind you, by a lesbian ex-Princes St Labour activist who joined ACT in recent weeks due to our stance on GLBT issues.)

    But back to votes being wasted:

    I admire your conviction in trying to enfranchise as many voters as possible. A noble endeavour, in one respect.

    But for me, my view remains that if 88,072 New Zealanders are stupid enough to vote for a party as repulsive as NZ First, then to have their votes entirely discounted is fair and reasonable punishment. 🙂

  22. This is the libertarian thing to do, I would have thought.

    Well, sure I agree that individual consciences should prevail- not just on moral issues but in fact on every vote, and for every party. However, the Libertarian thing to do would be to vote to keep the government out of people’s private lives. One would think that members of a libertarian party would overwhelmingly vote so when allowed free reign.

    I’d be very suspicious of giving my Party Vote to any Party that brings MPs into Parliament that would act against their principles in that sort of way.

    If I get any free time in the next… year or so… I’ll check up on what where and when of some of the votes that’ve really annoyed me in ACT’s case. Basically, it comes down to them being in my estimation dead wrong on economics and only half-right on social issues 😛

    But for me, my view remains that if 88,072 New Zealanders are stupid enough to vote for a party as repulsive as NZ First, then to have their votes entirely discounted is fair and reasonable punishment. 🙂

    Trust me, I have those sorts of thoughts too. I just think they’re not the right ones to act on. 🙂

  23. I’d be keen to see/hear what you can find on ACT’s voting record as well. You’ll probably find a number of instances where ACT and the Greens have voted similarly on various issues.

    But going back to what it means to be a libertarian, I guess there are many interpretations of what this translates into in terms of actions.

    Equally, I can point to instances where the Greens, who tout themselves as defenders of freedom as well, pass authoritarian legislation and promote draconian measures.

    I’m thinking of the EFA, Anti-Smacking Law, limiting showers to 6 litres of water, using the right kind of lightbulbs, controlling your birthrates, etc.

    Now, even if I accept that 6 litres is the ideal amount of water you should use in a shower, what gives the Greens–or indeed anyone–the right to enforce this? Shouldn’t individuals decide this for themselves?

    As for you also entertaining “those sorts of thoughts too”: Thanks for being brutally honest. 🙂

    Now, I might be a libertarian, but I’m a pragmatist rather than a puritan (I’m opposed fundamentalism of all kinds, including libertarian fundamentalism, if ever it existed). Therefore, while in theory, I care about the rights and freedoms of all individuals, in this particular scenario, I will make an exception for these 88,072 who failed to exercise discernment and sound judgment. 😛

  24. Tan, about this liberty and freedom business. I suppose ACT must favour liberalisation of the drug laws on principle right? If so, what’s up with the zero tolerance policy?

    Surely a party that favours liberty over all else, would not in any way want to institute a zero tolerance policy until such a time as the laws that are going to be enforced are up to scratch, liberty of the individual recognition wise.

    Seems more like spotty boys talk to me than anything to do with actual freedom. But it’s opinions that make for horse races right?

  25. Zero Tolerance does not extend to victimless crimes, an as such will not include drug offences.

    Moreover, zero tolerance does not involve the abrogation or violation of one’s individual rights and liberties, as you have so clumsily asserted.

    Zero tolerance is simply a term to describe our approach to law enforcement: that every criminal offence was be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

    This is derivative of the central tenet of libertarianism, which states that individuals are free to do as they please, so long as they do no harm to others, or intervene in another’s exercising of their rights and fredoms.

    A crime is a interference with someone else’s rights and liberties, and certainly does the victim harm. And that’s why crime cannot be tolerated.

    If, for a moment, you doubt ACT’s commitment to individual liberty, just remember that we voted against the Terrorism Suppression Bill, along with the Greens. That’s because we value the liberty of individuals against the strong arm of the state.

    On one level, one can say that because of our zero tolerance approach to crime, we should therefore support the crushing of terrorism etc.

    That would be a sweeping statement. Law and order must never be enforced to the extent that an individual’s rights and freedoms are violated. And that goes for criminals too. They will be subjected to due process, even under a Three Strikes policy.

    The stereotype of ACT as gun-toting rednecks is getting about as exhaustive as the stereotype of the Greens as tree-hugging, dope-smoking, square dancing hippies/luddites.

  26. @ Shawn Tan (again) – you said:
    “Can I put it to you that the reason why these 88,072 votes is such an issue now is because such a scenario has not previously occurred to such an extent,” – to which I totally agree, but then you said:
    “i.e. no party has gone out of Parliament by failing to cross the 5% and also not win a seat.”
    to which I reply – NZFirst, Kiwi Party (Copeland), NZ Pacific Party (Phillip Field) in 2008, and the Alliance in 2002.

    Of even more concern is that no party other than Act has entered Parliament without splitting from another party in Parliament (and even Act is arguable, given they were started by recent ministers Douglas & Prebble).

    And on Act’s libertarian voting record, Rodney Hide & Heather Roy voted:
    * for Civil Unions (supporting ‘gay marriage’)
    * and for the 2005 Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill (opposing ‘gay marriage’)
    Nice libertarian hypocrisy, that.

    Oh, and conscience votes aren’t libertarian, they are dictatorial. Why should 1 MP get to impose their own personal moral views on their electorate and NZ? They have a party policy (hopefully) on any issue – if not, go back to their electorate and NZ and consult…. before making any final (3rd reading) vote.

    @ Ari – and coming back to the disenfranchised votes thread – the Bill & Ben party did not get enough votes to get 1 list MP (roughly 17,000 votes required), but got 0.51% of the vote (10,738 votes), which gets rounded up from being 61% of 1 MP to a whole MP, under the current system. Using truncation instead of rounding solves this – Ari, you suggested truncation for the initial threshold (i.e. having a 0.83% threshold), but we should just have this for all party vote percentages, with no threshold (and hence no discarded votes).

    For example, this election, Act got 3.72% of the party vote, which equates to just 3.46 list MPs, which would round down to 3 list MPs. But discarded/’reallocated’ votes from the 5% threshold (and even a 0.83% threshold) means they get between 3.52 and 3.78 list MPs, which rounds up to 4 MPs, which is what they got. Point is, parties should have to earn every list MP with a full 0.83% worth of party votes, not get halfway and get rounded up.

    To sum up – no threshold means no ‘reallocated’ votes, and truncating party vote (discarding party vote that does not make up a full 0.83% of the vote) means no party gets list MPs by rounding up (effectively with votes from another party).

  27. * and for the 2005 Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill (opposing ‘gay marriage’)
    Nice libertarian hypocrisy, that.

    This was the specific bill I was referring to earlier, thankyou.

  28. squaredrive,

    Please learn your facts before doing a rant:

    1) Civil unions are not the same as gay marriage. It is logically consistent to support a civil union, whilst asking for the definition of ‘marriage’ to be clarified.

    2) A heterosexual couple can obtain a civil union as well. Therefore, it is logically consistent to support the Civil Union Bill (for instance, such that heterosexual couples can obtain civil unions too), while supporting the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill (on the grounds that you ‘oppose gay marriage’, even if this were the effect of the Bill).

    Further, you ask:

    “Why should 1 MP get to impose their own personal moral views on their electorate and NZ?”

    Sounds awfully like an argument against MMP to me. This is certainly the type of argument MMP opponents make – ‘the tail wagging the dog’, etc.

    I thought the Greens supported MMP?

    And wait a minute: Didn’t Sue Bradford impose her personal moral views on her electorate (of North Shore – a rather conservative electorate) and NZ, by drafting the repeal of Section 59?

  29. 1) Civil unions are not the same as gay marriage. It is logically consistent to support a civil union, whilst asking for the definition of ‘marriage’ to be clarified.

    2) A heterosexual couple can obtain a civil union as well. Therefore, it is logically consistent to support the Civil Union Bill (for instance, such that heterosexual couples can obtain civil unions too), while supporting the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill (on the grounds that you ‘oppose gay marriage’, even if this were the effect of the Bill).

    The bill did not ask for marriage to be clarified, it explicitly defined it as exclusively between a man and a woman, despite this ALREADY being the interpretation of the current law.

    The bill was likely deliberately redundant, in order to make it harder for queer New Zealanders to assert their equal rights. That’s not only against social freedoms, it’s a vindicative waste of time.

    Both of which strike me as against ACT’s stated principles, if not necessarily inconsistent with the conduct of its leader.

  30. No, squaredrive’s point was the inconsistency of, as he/she put it, “voting for gay marriage” on the one hand (through voting for the Civil Union Bill), but “voting against gay marriage” on the other (through voting for the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill).

    My point was is it logically consistent to vote for both – because the application of a civil union transcends a same-sex couple.

  31. Pingback: Lowering the threshold (again) « g.blog

  32. I would have said that the only reasons to vote for the Civil Union Bill are that you believe that human rights trump discrimination on the basis of: gender, (lack of) religion, traditionalism/marital status, and/or sexuality.

    Any of those principles can be very good justification for voting against marriage discrimination. While civil unions certainly apply to straight couples as well, I have a sneaking suspicion that Act had human rights concerns that lead to their support of the Civil Union Bill. (Sadly I can’t find any documentation on the matter, and parliament’s website seems to be malfunctioning severely enough to stop me getting at the Hansard) Like you’ve noted, ACT is generally considered GLB-friendly because it wants the government to stay out of people’s private lives. In the case of the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill, that would have been a good thing.

  33. Pingback: This merger is not an affront to democracy | Le Matt Juste

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