Electoral Law Review: Cancelling Coat tailing + enrolment bias hurts Māori politically


Seeing as we are seriously going to do this Electoral Law Review, let’s argue it out.

I say Cancelling Coat tailing + enrolment bias hurts Māori politically.

The MMP coat-tailing rule was a quirky feature that recognized regional political movements and allows for Minor Parties to build infrastructure. The inability for many minor parties to exist suggests it hasn’t been successful to date but doesn’t mean it should be removed!

We aren’t discussing lowering the MMP threshold yet are wanting to kill off a representative feature that currently benefits Māori political representation!

How typical.

While we are highlighting bias against Māori, the manner in which Māori are only allowed to swap between the Māori Roll and General Roll once every 5 years is very regressive in terms of Treaty obligations and democratic representation of Māori.

As the country begins to appreciate the yawning chasm of inequality lockdowns have exacerbated between Māori & Pakeha while acknowledging we aren’t safe until we are all vaccinated, this revelation has to translate into strengthening Maori political representation, not amputating it!
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  1. I like how it exposes Seymour – freedom to choose ideology – but in practice in support of the Epsom Grammar Schools zoning, to be their local MP.

    Even now, with ACT over 5%, he still won’t give up his MP for Epsom for life tenure by proposing support for an end to the Grammar zone.

  2. Not only publicly funded but all the free to air TV and radio time should be allocated strictly based upon number of seats contested. Not based on current Parliamentary seats held nor upon polls of Party support.

  3. The coat tailing rule is unfair on parties who don’t win a seat. In 2017 TOP received 2.4% of the party vote and won no seats. ACT with a fraction of that support won one seat.

    Of course, if the threshold was reduced to zero the coat tailing rule would have no effect; each party would simply win whatever number of seats the party vote percentage entitled them to.

    • 1) Reduce Parliament to 100 seats make 1%= 1 seat with no coattailing necessary. Remember when NZF got 4.7% but no seats while ACT with 4.2% got 5 seats? Hardly a fair and equal system.

      2) Voting age 16.

      3) Main chamber 5 or 6 year term but with an upper senate being elected during midterm of Lower House made up of 14 or so provincial/regional senators and abolish Maori electorate seats in lower house but incorporate the Maori seats into the senate.

  4. I have never agreed with the coat tail provision.
    But unfortunately some pundits here are trying to make it a racial thing because the Maori Party is the only party in the present parliament that is benefitting from it.
    In 2005 ACT and United Future both did quite nicely from it with 1.51% and 2.67% of the party vote respectively.
    The pattern has historically been that parties with minimal nationwide support, but with charismatic leaders who had split from either National or Labour, having entrenched themselves in one electorate – in effect creating a kind of mini fiefdom relying on the coat tail provision to get one or more buddies in as well even though they were scoring insignificant party votes around the country.
    Obvious examples are Peter Neilsen, David Seymour, Jim Anderton.
    A party securing an electorate MP only needs about 1.2% of the party vote to get another (list) MP whilst a party without an electorate MP can get over four times this vote and end up with no-one, which was the case of the Conservative Party in 2014.
    I don’t think this is really fair.
    At the same time I want to see the threshold dropped from 5% to 4%.
    4% of the party vote would still be about 115,000 votes, which is not an insignificant amount.
    It would encourage more national and/or broadbased parties to have a go, but still be beyond the reach of the single issue parties, joke parties and religious mystics to get into parliament and waste everyone’s time and money.
    Some people say the coat tail provision and the threshold are separate issues.
    But I believe that they are linked, because by doing only one actually increases the disparity.
    Maori could gain much if we had an upper house, with a minimum proportion of seats resolved for Maori.
    This happens in some Canadian provinces, I believe.
    But ultimately I don’t believe there will be much change to our system.
    There doesn’t seem to be much appetite for change.
    There are still a lot of people who don’t even like MMP and you still get derisive comments about someone “only being a list MP” as if list MPs aren’t really MPs.
    We should remember that MMP was adopted in no small part because at the time (in 1993) neither National nor Labour were enthusiastic about MMP as each feared losing electoral advantages in their safe electorates. Also at the time both major parties had become increasingly unpopular -the National government because of their attacks on the welfare state and Labour due to their abandoning of their core principles during the Rogernomics government.
    Adopting MMP was seen as a good way to give both Labour and National the finger and it was parties who favoured MMP (like the Alliance and NZ First) who did well. There was a deep sense of disillusionment in the electorate and people hoped that MMP might fix that, and thus it won.
    MMP gives us a range of MPs that much better reflect our present society, not just middle aged company directors and country squires.

    • “MMP gives us a range of MPs that much better reflect our present society,”

      Not necessarily. One of the problems with MMP is a that many of the “minority” MPs that enter as list MPs are activists with extreme positions on issues like gender identity, race and sexuality. So we get bills like this so-called “Conversion therapy” bill, which if passed would make it all but impossible to suggest any kind of treatment of teenage gender dysphoria apart from “transition”. A thoroughly unscientific position, but ideologues aren’t usually very interested in evidence.

      • Granted this can happen.
        You can end up with total disasters, and there have been a few.
        But you can also get some very good ones, that is what you get in societies.
        In the past the main parties tended to select the middle-aged pakeha men or women who stood the least chance of offending anyone.
        You would get useless old twits standing in ultra safe seats doing very little except trading on their (doubtful) reputations and receiving their parliamentary salaries.
        What I mean is that our society has a lot more variance and cultures than it had even 20 years ago and it is reflected in the make up of parliament.

        • You sound a bit out of touch to me. We undoubtedly have more diversity of ethnicity, and gender and sexuality now in parliament, but these changes have mostly been rather superficial. Our parliament is overwhelmingly middle class, and that shows in their priorities. Let’s ban smacking! Like that’s going to have much impact on what happens in Mangere or Flaxmere. Let’s ban “conversion therapy” – well actually I’d rather you were focused on rolling back user-pays. Let’s stop people from saying mean things about each other! How about lowering the cost of living by removing GST from food and other essentials, and restoring a fairer tax system.

  5. You’ve mentioned everything except the most obvious reform needed – reduce the number of MPs. Most of them are plonkers, and 120 MPs is far too many for our small population.


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