Monday, 14 April 2014

MMP = More Marriages of Convenience?

I can’t think of a fancy-arsed acronym to describe it, but MMP obviously stands for More Marriages of Convenience. The InterMana Party sort-of agreement, should one ever be made and either party (or agreement) stay around long enough to make a difference, is exactly the sort of marriage of convenience the MMP laws, rules and environment not only makes possible, but positively encourages.

Why that should surprise media commentators says more about media commentators than it does about either Mr and Mrs Harawira or Mr DotCon.

Regardless of what the media commentators think, the rules as written do favour deals between small parties with either big policy differences,1 or going for different votes2.

A ManaNet Alliance fits both bills. The groups are different enough that they’re not competing over the same policy ground. And they have sufficiently similar aims (getting rid of National; promoting leaders’ egos) that they have something around which to coalesce.

The rule being exploited is that allowing a victory in a constituency to trigger MPs on the basis of party votes. While the arrangement being discussed by DotConAndHarawira may not have been contemplated by the rule’s writers, again, says more about the writers than it does the negotiators. 

That it would suit both Harawira and DotCon and  is obvious. For the former, he can trade his potential for electoral success in return for gobs of DotCon’s money (if by then the FBI haven’t got it) and maybe even an extra MP; for the latter, it allows him to parlay his ill-gotten money into MPs – and, thereafter, he hopes, negotiating power in a new Government that might deliver him immunity from extradition.

Both get what they want, they hope, courtesy of MMP.

It may not be what anyone ever contemplated when MMP was begun, but maybe when this jerry-built electoral system was set up, it should have been.

* * * *

1. Parties with very similar policies will obviously be fighting for the same voters, and might therefore find little  on which to agree organisationally, normally...
2. Whereas parties going for different votes, with one going for party votes and the other for electoral, may be able to accommodate each other to mutual benefit whatever their perceived differences, or similarities.


  1. Hone is going to lose his seat.

    His poor attendance record is really hurting him up North and he only got elected last time on Winston First votes (1900 NZ First party voters ticked Hone for their electorate vote; Hone's majority is 1100).

    If Winston First fields a candidate Hone is history, if Winston doesn't it is still unlikely he will hang on because his main opponent is a former MP who is promising to at least turn up for work every day - a message which is connecting quite successfully.

    Ironically Hone/Dot Con will actually help National - if they get, say, 30,000 votes (24,000 Mana 6000 brain damaged Dot Con) and Hone loses his seat.

    It means not 1 but 2 seats getting redistributed for proportionality -

    National gets an extra 1 seat - guaranteed - and the second seat is fought over between ACT, Peter Dunne and National (to be decided by how the cards fall at the margins); in terms of re-electing Mr Key it doesn't actually matter - it is still another vote for his government.

    So by Dotcon and Mana entering the race it gives National 2 extra seats in a smaller house. Weird but true.

  2. One more point on this - I am working it out on the assumption that Mana gets about the same number of votes as last time, and the Internet party gets about what the jokesy 'Bill and Ben' party got, for a total of around 30,000 votes.

    However, the more successful Mana/Dot Con become, the more it helps National.

    If they received, for instance, 75,000 votes and Hone loses his seat, when that is redistributed for proportionality National starts roaring ahead in seats.

    If they got, say, 90,000 votes (the actual figure is around 88,200) it would mean National would end up with 60 seats and an outright majority in Parliament once proportionality is calculated after the election.

    [All assuming a similar number of votes cast as at the last election]

    You could almost think that Mr Key put Dot Con up to it! haha!... ("Kim - you form a party with Hone, he is dumb enough to swallow it whole, and when I am safely re-elected we won't extradite you to America")


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