Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Vote for “change”?

As Lindsay Perigo used to say, one of the maddening delusions of our time is the knee-jerk idea that changing our voting system is going to protect our freedom—far more important, we would say, to put our freedoms beyond the vote altogether.

The knee-jerk idea is back again nonetheless, with a group of worthies, unworthies and former examples of both  announcing this morning a Vote for Change organisation to promote a voting system that allows voters to throw bums out the front door, without them coming in the back.

Unusually for me, I have no opinion on them, their arguments, or the various voting systems they suggest we (might) change to.

How about you?

NB: The 2011 referendum on the voting system gives you five systems to vote for.

  • More Morons in Parliament (MMP);
  • First Past the Post (FPP);
  • Preferential Voting (PV);
  • Single Transferable Vote (STV);
  • Supplementary Member (SM)

All five are summarised here.


  1. FPP is the best system by a country mile. It's still used for the UK general election and US Presidential elections. Produces a clear result without the need for coalitions - mostly.

  2. It's not the system that's then problem, it's how it's used.

    We would have Less Morons in Parliament if we the voters used our votes more wisely. Some electorates seem to have figured it out, like Epsom, Ohariu, and the Maori seats. Why don't more electorates use the only power they have?

    I won't suggest most voters are morons, but many just don't bother to think much about their vote.

  3. MMP Advantages - proportional
    MMP Disadvantages - Electorate MPs voted out can get back in on the party list; parties not voters effectively select (rank) party list MPs

    FPP Advantages - generally provides a clear overall winning party and losing party, even if total vote difference is small; incompetent governments can be wiped out and then politicians "get the message" (refer Canada)

    FPP Disadvantages - not proportional; disadvantageous to minority groups e.g. refer most African "democracies"; incentive for parties to concentrate pork barrelling on maybe 10 marginal electorates and put the interests of the rest of the country last

    PV (Australia) Advantages - as per FPP, but swings are less

    PV (Australia) Disadvantages - as per FPP, plus parties policies tend to coalesce around the "pragmatic" middle compromise (as most seats determined on two-party preferred basis)

    STV Advantages - somewhat proportional, there is no "party list" for rejected MPs to sneak back in

    STV Disadvantages - creates pork barelling fiefdoms, government captured by special interests, refer Ireland disaster

    SM Advantages & Disadvantages - as per MMP and FPP

  4. I'd like a system where I can vote against parties/individuals.

    It would make the voting so much easier.


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