MMP’s fatal flaw confirmed
This will be my last column for the Herald on Sunday. I have enjoyed writing them immensely. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.
It’s a fatal flaw of MMP that two weeks on we still don’t have a result.
We voted, our votes were counted, and a result declared all on election day.
But still no Government. Election day has proved anticlimactic. Worse, our votes now don’t matter. We voted in a Parliament, not a Government.
With MMP the politicians decide the Government, not us.
More particularly, it’s up to Winston Peters. He gets to decide whether Bill English or Jacinda Ardern will be prime minister. He gets to decide whether National or Labour will be in Government.
It’s remarkable power for just one man. In theory, it’s the New Zealand First Party that gets to decide. In practice, it’s just Peters. His power is all the more remarkable because on election day Peters lost his electorate seat.
The people of Northland voted him in then voted him out. Such is the nature of MMP that he comes back into Parliament through the list system.
That’s amazing enough but then he gets to choose who will be government, despite his party coming a distant third. It’s a very strange situation.
That’s because MMP is a very strange system.
MMP was imposed on Germany after the war. They didn’t have a choice. We did. We chose it. Our hope was it would make politics fairer and more honest. It’s hard to see what’s remotely fair or honest about the present shemozzle.
The only other countries to enjoy MMP are Bolivia and Lesotho.
Albania, Hungary, Italy, Venezuela and Romania tried MMP but dropped it. It’s easy to see why. It’s also easy to see why other countries have not chosen the system.
Of course, it’s not the end of the world. There will be a new Government soon enough and living under a caretaker Government is pleasant enough, especially compared to what may lay ahead. But it’s preferable to have voters voting governments in and out than to have politicians deciding through machinations and manoeuvrings kept well out of public view.
It would be quite something if the negotiations were public. The goings-on between the parties and within them would make the greatest reality TV show of them all.
It would be tremendously entertaining. It would be a ratings hit. But it would also be shocking. We would never view government or politicians quite the same. We would have altogether too much information. It’s probably for the best that negotiations are kept behind closed doors and we just await the result.
This will be my last column for the
Herald on Sunday. I have enjoyed writing them immensely. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.
I have been greatly helped and guided by editors past and present. They have taught me such a lot.
With my final words I would like to thank them very much.