Jacinda watch your back !
First the attack on the electoral system
Before the final votes were even counted the defenders of the status quo had already started attacking MMP. Their discontent was the fact that under proportional representation the biggest party being National does not automatically form the government. A lot has happened since the following article of mine (in excerpt) was published on 3 October 2017. I tried to put the record straight about our electoral system we have voted for over the last 25 years not once, not twice but three times.
Hans Grueber: Nothing says the largest party has moral right to govern
• Hans Grueber was a campaigner for MMP at the 1992-93 referendums.
“The mechanism how the parties in Parliament decide who will form the government is often misunderstood.
Some think the party with the most votes and seats should be able to form the government. Anything else they think is undemocratic especially when a much smaller party is in a position to decide the outcome and might not choose the biggest party.
However, the whole purpose of a proportional system like MMP is that the government needs the support of the majority of the house, which represents the majority of the voters.
It does not matter who is the strongest party if it does not get the majority of the votes and seats. In this election National on preliminary results got (only) 46 per cent of the votes, well shy of a majority and therefore has no mandate to govern.
It does not matter if the majority is reached by one, two, three or any number of parties as long as they together represent the majority of the voters. That is why a proportional system is regarded as the most democratic. Majority rules.
There is nothing undemocratic about the fact that the voters have decided not to give one party an absolute majority but spread their votes among four parties in the clear expectation that these parties would have to compromise and work together to form a coalition to reach a majority in Parliament.
The other reason for misconceptions looks more like deliberate misinformation by people who want to achieve their favourite outcome.
The “moral authority” of the biggest party is one of those notions spread by people who would like to see a National government returned. There is no moral authority whatsoever, all that counts are numbers, which have to add up to the magic number of 61, the majority in the house.
As for a “constitutional convention” that the biggest party should have the first crack at negotiating a coalition deal, New Zealand does not have a (written) constitution. If in the past the party with the most votes and seats formed the government it is purely the result of it having a better chance of reaching the magic number of 61.
It is however perfectly fine and democratic if that number is reached without the biggest party.
In summery there are no valid moral, constitutional or electoral arguments for Winston to turn right rather than left. All they do is show the bias of the people making them.”
Then the attack on the outcome
The media created hysteria about the time it took. However the entire process forming the new coalition government was actually conducted at break neck speed. See the following graph comparing the time with other proportional representation countries :
We expected from all the polls before the election one politician/party to be decisive. Winston Peters skilfully kept us guessing, second guessing, third guessing. The media fell for it making us believe that there was even a chance that after all the campaigning for change he might back the old tired National government for a fourth term. That was never going to happen as the comparison of the policy platforms pointed to Labour/Green. Most of all Winston knew from personal experience that National could never be trusted. Still the National Party and it’s supporters were delusional till the end.
The inevitable – as I always predicted – result was announced in a dramatic act of suspense.
The daggers came out immediately to declare the new government illegitimate. Former government minister Richard Prebble even went so far to call it a coup.
Let me give you some background on that former minister. He is the one who flogged off state assets at bargain basement prices without a mandate from the owners That made me wonder at the time if he was corrupt with a big fat Swiss bank account or just stupid. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought him to be extremely stupid. With his latest attacks he has proven me right. Or may be not.
This attack on the legitimacy of our democratically elected government is part of a concerted effort. The 1% lost control of the government.
The new coalition challenges their neo-liberal dogma. “Capitalism has failed” they dared to say, which echoed around the world. We held our breath. Heresy ! They want to be the government for the many not the few.
The 1% are not taking this lying down. The 1% who enriched themselves on the back of beneficiaries, underpaid workers and the taxpayer’s largesse for so long are fighting back. To hell with democracy. The 1% have their privileges not taken away by the the people. If you kept up with our newspapers, TV and radio lately you realise that their biggest weapon are the mainstream neo-liberal media.
The 1% are fighting back. We all must resist !