Tag Archive: democracy

NZ First gamed the system

NZ First has been getting large loans from the NZ First Foundation. Problem: it’s all anonymous.

If these were donations, then this wouldn’t be a problem. If you donate to an organization that would then use that donation to give money to a political party, then the law would require that you wear that donation. But not so with loans – those can remain anonymous.

NZ First does not seem to know or care about this. Their party secretary only admitted to being aware of the foundation’s existence until after documents proving that she had signed off on loans to the party from the foundation were provided to her.

In fact, everyone is super secretive about it. Only two trustees of the foundation are known, and both when questioned were defensive and refused to comment.

In my opinion, this shows some pretty blatant contempt for NZ’s democracy. The worst part? It’s legal. Loans don’t face the same level of scrutiny as donations. As a country, we’ve done so well to either remove or be transparent about corporate influence in politics, but here we have NZ First disregarding democracy and transparency.

This loophole where loans can remain anonymous while donations cannot must be fixed, ASAP. NZ First cannot be allowed to game the system.

Sustainable NZ – here to sink the Greens

Former Green party male co-leadership candidate Vernon Tava has launched his new political party, Sustainable NZ.

Sustainable NZ claims to be neither left or right-wing, and is apparently here to provide a voice for the environment, and solely a voice for the environment. That’s in contrast to the Greens which is both an environmental and left-wing party.

Sustainable NZ has said that it is willing to work with either major party, which means that it will get an electorate deal from neither. So unless Sustainable pulls off something major, they aren’t getting into parliament.

What Sustainable will do is pull votes off of the Greens. Given that the Greens are hovering around 6-7% in the polls, it’s very easy (and very likely in my opinion) that Sustainable is a scheme set up by the Nats to get the Greens out of parliament.

After all, taking out the minor parties is National’s best path to government.

It’s a strategy that is good for getting National into government – if appalling for the health of our democracy.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about Sustainable is that they could very well result in there being no voice for the environment in parliament.

Please, no return to two-party politics

Bryce Edwards at The Guardian has pointed out the problem Jacinda and Labour have with minor parties:

Bridges knows that his best chance is not making new friends in parliament, but rather taking out Ardern’s current support parties. It’s a cunning, if very cynical plan.
A number of new “micro parties” will be attempting to make it into parliament in 2020. They have little chance of success, but they do have the potential to have a big impact. Two small environmentally-focused parties – Sustainable NZ and the Opportunities party – could end up acting as spoilers, stealing votes from the Greens and sinking them under the crucial 5% threshold.

No no no no no no no.

The change from FPP to MMP was the best and most important political change for recent political history. FPP is a terrible system, voters should not be forced into voting for the lesser of two evils. Yet, that’s what’s essentially that we could be staring at, despite being in MMP.

If we do lose the minor parties, barring changes to the electoral system (which isn’t hugely unrealistic, to be fair) it will be difficult to get any minor parties back in parliament.

Going to a two-party system is a bad idea, period. One party having absolute power in government is bad.

Come 2020, if we are in danger of losing the minor parties, NZ voters, please do the right thing. Vote for the minor parties if you have to.

Minor party shortage

No Right Turn recently blogged about TOP’s dissolution.

However, it’s the last line of his post which I find the most interesting:

But while its clear that TOP has died a natural death, it means we’ll be down to only 12 registered political parties (and only 5 in Parliament). Which isn’t a lot of options for voters to choose from. One way of measuring the health of a democracy is by the number of registered political parties. And on that metric, ours seems to be in slow decline.

Not including the five parties in parliament, the seven remaining ones are:

  • Maori
  • Legalise Cannabis
  • Conservatives
  • People’s Party
  • Democrats for Social Credit
  • Outdoors
  • Mana

Of those seven, the only party which holds a reasonable chance of actually getting into parliament come 2020 is the Maori party. What’s more, all three of our current minor parties are in danger of failing to be re-elected in 2020: NZ First and the Greens are hovering around the 5% mark, and National have refused to guarantee ACT that they will endorse them in Epsom.

This does leave me concerned that we will just have two parties in parliament in 2020, and if that happens, given there will be no coalitions with minor parties, the ruling party will have no power checks. That ain’t good. And even if they’re not in power, as NRT said, having minor parties is good for democracy.

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