Brian Rudman takes a break from lobbying for a ratepayer funded theatre to have a crack at MMP, coat-tailing and other rorts.
Labour is promising to abolish within 100 days of taking office the MMP coat-tail rule that enables a minor party electorate MP to bring party list mates into Parliament regardless of the 5 per cent entry threshold.
The joke is that, barring a miracle, there seems little chance of Labour leader David Cunliffe and his Green allies forming a government without the aid of the Mana-Internet “party”, whose existence depends on gaming the coat-tail provisions.
And having exploited the system for all it is worth – and spent more than $3 million of internet millionaire Kim Dotcom’s cash – to get back into Parliament, it seems unlikely that Hone Harawira and Laila Harre will turn around and vote to end the fun.
Precisely, making a joke and a mockery of David Cunliffe’s unprincipled and hypocritical stance.
The stitch-up between embattled Mana Party leader Mr Harawira and Mr Dotcom, the millionaire refugee from American law enforcement agencies, is not the first attempt to game the MMP rules. It’s just the most egregious.
In 1999, in the second MMP election, Labour leader Helen Clark encouraged Labour supporters in Coromandel to support Green candidate Jeanette Fitzsimons to ensure the defeat of the National incumbent and bring in several Green list candidates on her coat-tails.
Ms Fitzsimons narrowly won – but in the end the Greens’ party vote just sneaked over the 5 per cent threshold, entitling them to six seats anyway.
But it’s the well-heeled inner Auckland electorate of Epsom that has become the Las Vegas of MMP.
In 2005, it was a total circus, with Labour’s Stuart Nash voting for National incumbent Dr Richard Worth and encouraging his supporters to do the same to try to keep out Act leader Rodney Hide.
Not to be outdone, National voters thwarted this tactic and voted for Mr Hide in the hope he would win and drag another Act MP or two in on his coat-tails to provide much-needed allies for National in the House.
Mr Hide won and brought one extra Act MP into the House despite Act receiving only 1.5 per cent of the party vote.
Thanks to this sort of jiggery-pokery, Act has held Epsom and helped prop up National ever since.