The reason for it all: MMP

Guest post

I have been thinking about the current political situation and have come to the conclusion that the whole sorry set of affairs may be sheeted home to one origin: MMP. Anyway, I believe that the body politic of NZ basically believes in freedom of speech, individual and property rights, a desire to solve legitimate wrongs and provide a significant social safety net (by world standards) that allows people to survive – if not thrive. I believe that in the days of FFP National and Labour basically conformed to this policy ‘north star’ and when they veered away too much the public would dispatch them. If we are honest I don’t think that either party would ever have moved to far from this rough mid-point – and they certainly don’t today.

Enter MMP. What this desire to provide a voice to everyone has actually done is given influence to the ends of the spectrum that would have had to modify their views under FPP and generally compromise towards the desires of the rest of the population. This is no longer the case, as MMP has provided a cloak of legitimacy for arguably the strangest of viewpoints. As a result it has meant that the two middle of the road parties have had to at least consider the policies of the weird fringe in assessing their own election chances.

Now to DotCom. MMP has made it possible for an election to be largely stolen. All one needs is a 5% or so – not difficult to achieve relatively anonymously if one has enough money. Five percent (what is that – 4 MPs?) buys a lot more influence than it would have cost – look at how easy it was to buy the internet party and their sad little Nazis? This could never be a successful policy under FPP because you just could not afford to affect all of the electorates to the extent necessary. At best you might get two seats.

And finally we come to the media. The media and weird fringe parties actually have something in common. They both need a close election – or at least the perception of the close race. The media need it to sell papers while the fringe weirdo groups need it to increase their post-election influence. Which leads to the question – why does the media laud over Mana/Internet and despise ACT and Conservatives? To my mind this is the proof that the media id bias and corrupt. How, for example would the likes of Garner and Campbell spin the current polls in an FPP environment?

So – my argument is that FPP would have prevented this current malaise from occurring because the fringes would either have to moderate their policies to fit in with what the community wanted or not get anywhere near the levers of power. MMP allows these levers to be pulled more readily than in FPP and together this encourages the weirdo fringe to not conform and therefore be available for manipulation by ‘dark forces’.. Likewise the media, who should be on the lookout for this sort of stuff, desperately need a close election and will accept anything to allow this to occur. The end justifies the means and all that.

We are a country that for the best of reasons, has allowed ourselves to be corrupted by those who should know better, but unfortunately the media is largely too dumb, or too lazy, or too corrupt to be the fourth estate.

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