In 1996, New Zealand changed their system from a two-party system to a mixture of half winner-take-all and half full-representation.

At least that is what they voted for: 60 seats elected by first past the post on the electorate vote, 60 assigned proportionally by the Party vote. We expected that if a party got 40% of the Party vote, they would get 40% of the 60 seats = 24 seats plus whatever they won in the electorate seats. What we got was the Party vote was used to assign party seats to make the percentage of the party vote apply to the entire parliament of 120 members, so the party got 48 seats in total, regardless of how many electorate seats they already had. We voted for a 50% proportional system which would have given minor parties some voice in the house, but we got a 100% proportional system that delivers anarchy.

People have learned to game the system and in the 2020 election, large numbers of National supporters voted Labour with their Party votes to deny the Greens the role of King-maker in the new Parliament, so Labour is now the first majority government under MMP. For voters to vote against their own party to stop Labour being pulled even further to the left by a Green coalition partner is clever, and it worked, but shows just how perverse Proportional Representation is.

I don’t understand how you can say that the system that has only part of the voters represented is better than the system that has all voters represented.

Do you understand now? In a first past the post system, people are punished for being stupid enough to vote for a party that cannot win. They still have the democratic right to vote: if they choose to waste it, that is their fault. Giving that prviously unelectable party the balance of power in Parliament is the worst of all possible results: a party with 10% of the votes can choose between the party with 49% or the party with 41% of the vote, and make either of them the Government. This “All Voters Represented” sounds fair, but it delivers a dictatorship of the minority, where the 10% party can dictate its terms to the other parties, and deliver a result where the most popular party goes into opposition and the two least popular parties form a Government. That is is how I can say “The system that has only part of the voters represented is better than the system that has all voters represented.

All proportional systems have the same flaw, delivering power to form the Government to the least popular party: that is not a good result for a democracy.

Add to that the statistical fact that half the voters are of below average intelligence, and what could possibly go wrong?

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Al Black

Al Black

I work in IT, Community volunteer interested in Politics, support Capitalism as the best economic system for lifting people out of poverty, Skeptical scientist.