The cacophony of mainstream corporate media rushing right wing pundit after right wing pundit to the opinion pages to decry MMP has reached fever pitch.
The delegitimisation of any possible Labour led change of Government requires not only an attack on Jacinda, Winston and the Greens for not willing to work with National, but it also needs the system of MMP to be defaced and denigrated as well.
What few New Zealanders seem to realise is that our Parliament is one of the most powerful in the world. Because we have no upper chamber to act as a hand break, a bare majority of the Chamber is all that is required to read a bill into law within a few hours under urgency.
Because our Parliament is so powerful, and because First Past the Post kept producing unjust results where a National minority kept winning power, we elected to have MMP because it forces big Parties to negotiate with other interests to temper the legislative power they gain as a Government and also to make Parliament far more representative of the people they are Governing.
You know, actually being a democracy where the peoples voice can be fairly represented rather than pretending to be a democracy.
What is happening right now with us waiting until the Special’s are counted and a negotiating process set in motion is exactly what MMP is supposed to do. The system forces big political parties to negotiate and work co-operatively with different interests to get an agenda passed, that’s a triumph of civil reason, not a broken political system that can’t call a winner on the night.
MMP isn’t perfect by any means. The greatest failure of our current system is the 5% threshold that destroys so many political movements. This lack of political movements gaining enough traction to get over 5% doesn’t just rob those movements of representation, but it robs us of new ideas and political dynamism and leaves the big old parties to dominate the entire political narrative.
Some have suggested we should scrap the threshold altogether, I think that is a dangerous suggestion that opens the door to political radicalisation and extremism. You only need to look at Israel who has a totally representative voting system and it leaves them hostage to tiny religious splinter group factions who hold any Government to ransom for hardline brutality against Palestinians.
No threshold allows extremism, what we need to do in NZ is lower the threshold, not abandon it.
You should at least need to gain some basic level of support if you want to gain political representation, and I think that threshold should be 3%.
5% requires around 100 000 voters and in a country with a small population base like NZ, that isn’t easy. If we went for 3% you’d be looking at around 70 000 votes, that’s more manageable and removes the risk of extremists.
Giving political movements the chance to incubate and build from a 3% threshold would strengthen our representation and inject dynamism into the political spectrum.
MMP demands more power sharing, more co-operation and more interests to be taken into account than corporate farming, banks, property speculators and the rich.
We should not allow ourselves to become manipulated by our impatience and panic caused by widespread ignorance of MMP. The only reason we are suddenly questioning MMP is because the right wing have realised there’s a chance they will lose the election.
Don’t get conned into scrapping MMP, get engaged with modifying it and lowering the threshold to 3% so we can gain a more vibrant and deeper democracy.