MMP’s fa­tal flaw con­firmed

Herald on Sunday - - EDITORIAL - Rod­ney Hide rod­ney.hide@hos.co.nz

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.

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