Archive for the ‘Parliament’ category

The overhang

March 10, 2008

As I’ve said in a few posts before the Maori Party could have a big overhang at the next Parliament, and this could be crucial when it comes to forming a government after the election. Today a new Roy Morgan poll came out, giving National 62 seats with 49.5%, and Labour 44 on 35%. Nothing exceptional about this poll. But say between now and the election there is a 2% swing to Labour from National. The new seat figures (asuming the Maori Party win all seven Maori seats) are:
National 59 (47.5%)
Labour 46 (37%)
Greens 9 (7%)
Maori Party 7 (2%, 3 overhang seats)
Act 1 (1 seat)
Progressives and United Future (0.5% and 1 seat each)
National with Act and United Future gather 49.5% of the vote and 61 seats (usually enough to govern). Labour with the Progressive Party, Greens and Maori Party gather 46.5% of the vote but 63 seats, 4 of which come from the overhang. Labour (barring an unlikely National-Maori Party deal) get to govern, despite being over 10% behind National, and the coalition as a whole 2% behind National.

This is a very real possibility. David Farrar has a good post on that possibility. The first consequence would be to undermine MMP. I would even go as far as saying it could lead to the end of MMP. It would fatally undermine the main reason for introducing MMP to make Parliament more proportional. The other consequence suggested by Farrar. A Labour government elected under such circumstances would have no electoral mandate, although Helen won’t care so long as she is in power.

The other possibility that Farrar states is the possiblity of major parties creating two seperate parties, an electorate vote party and party vote party, leading to supplementary member style electoral system of around 190 politicians. I find this possibility unlikley, and there is nothing stopping this happening today. Whats more likely is that if the Maori Party entrenches its hold on the Maori seats, which are gradually increased in number each census, and they continue to preform badly in the party vote, the Maori party could hold the balance of power in perpetuity. Not a good outcome for New Zealand.

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Parliamentary film ban gets respect it deserves

July 18, 2007

The ridiculous Parliamentary self-censorship has been given the respect it deserves. TV3 showed footage of National MP David Carter picking his nose, while TV One had footage of National MP Bob Clarkson being expelled for refusing to apoligise for calling another MP a liar, and 4 other MPs, Eric Roy (National), Winston Peters (NZ First), Peter Dunne (United Future) and Mahara Okeroa (Labour) taking naps. Salient has showed similar respect for the ban. As I blogged earlier, the public should have a right to see the behaviour of their MPs and the press should have a right to report on it. Just like they can with any other citizen in public.

Parliament’s censoship

July 10, 2007

Not long ago, Parliament introduced new rules to prohibit using images of MPs for “satire, ridicle or deginiration”, which rightly got heavily criticised in the media, as MPs should be judged for their actions in the court of public opinon, not introducing rules protecting them from being viewed by their constituents. the new agenda lat night showed how usefull the ban was, by proposing a similar one for the All Blacks, no showing missed tackles or bad kicks at goals among other things. In some cases, (e.g showing large numbers of empty seats where a party sits might be unfair to MPs, as MPs get their whip to vote for them, and are probably doing something more useful than sitting merely listening to parliament debate (note: the media didn’t actually do this)) the media can be unfair to MPs, but they should tell the public their side of the story and let the public judge for themselves, not ban the media from showing such images.