Our November election ballots will include a referendum choice on the MMP voting system.

Proponents of change argue for a system that provides more direct accountability and certainty to voters. Proponents of MMP argue it yields a parliamentary outcome that more accurately reflects New Zealand’s diversity. They’ve organised a debate with both sides well represented, to be chaired by Lawrence Yule, this Sunday at the Clive Hall.

Here’s a message from Regional Councillor Liz Remmerswaal …

“The Blossom Parade last weekend brought back a reminder of the joys of growing up in the proud ‘Fruitbowl of New Zealand’ in the ’60s and ’70s. While blossom thinning on the family orchard at Longlands, I used to fantasize about being crowned blossom queen (and then becoming an air hostess, of course).

But like parliament today, this year’s blossom parade had little resemblance to the ones of my girlhood. Saturday’s explosion of colourful floats and many different nations was a far cry from the more staid floats of our old department stores and the Apple and Pear Board.

It’s a bit like MMP (Mixed Member Proportional), the current voting system in parliament brought in circa 1996, giving us one electorate vote and one party vote, and subject of a referendum in the election this year.

MMP has brought diversity into parliament so it looks like New Zealand in the new millennium. The first past the post system of yesteryear made for a very homogenous parliament in contrast to that of today with its combination of women, young people, gays, Maori, Pacific and Asian representatives.

Celebrating women’s suffrage day this week brought home the fact that MMP has delivered 10% more women to parliament than before. It’s not that women aren’t elected on their merits, but that the list selection allows for more of a gender balance to be achieved, such as in the Green party.

Every party vote counts, because they determine the composition of parties in parliament, once they reach a threshold of 5%.

This year’s referendum provides for a review of MMP if you vote to keep it, and it is well understood that a tweak of MMP is long overdue, for example to get rid of ‘waka jumping’, when a person leaves their party but retains their seat.

This Sunday night sees a debate between the two national spokespeople for and against MMP at Clive Hall at 7.00pm.

Campaign for MMP’s Dr Sandra Grey, TEU (Tertiary Education Union) president will take on Jordan Williams of Vote for Change. Williams is a young Wellington lawyer originally from Hastings.

There will be a cross party forum with discussion from available election candidates, followed by refreshments.

The evening will be chaired by Mayor Lawrence Yule. Entrance is by koha.

Come along for an interesting evening on the future of our democracy!”

Liz Remmerswaal
Campaign for MMP HB

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1 Comment

  1. Ill be supporting MMP this election because with the complex issues we got to deal with we need people in Parliament from all walks of life, representing diverse points of view. That's how adaptation occurs. And I'll be supporting the Picnic for the Planet tomorrow because an odd thing happened to me this week. In the midst of the Facebook gush that arrives each morning was a message from a Pakistani man that said 'did you go to Pakistan?' I did go to Pakistan 25 years ago and so I replied "Yes I was mountaineering there". Which was followed by a jubilant message from one of the Pakistani Army officers I had met while mountaineering in the Gasherbrums (a mountain range near K2).

    These global connections that occur in our lives from long lost relatives, friends and Pakistani Army mountaineering buddies, serves only to remind me how tiny our world has become and interconnected we are as people. The tribal and country boundaries that men fight wars over mean nothing in cyberspace. Through the media we are reminded of the wars, floods and famines that are part of living globally.

    It was floods in Pakistan that really got to me this week. Seeing wet cold children shivering under tarpaulins, surrounded by flood waters, is not something you can't easily flick off when you know people in that country. There have always been monsoon floods in Pakistan and famines in Somalia but we know these events are happening with greater intensity and frequency as the planet warms up.

    We can't do much about the current weather events around the world but we can do small things to change our reliance on fossil fuels. Whether we like it or not burning fossil fuels is accelerating the heating of the planet. Commentators say we have already passed peak oil (when half the known oil supplies have been used and the next half will be more expensive and difficult to extract) so it makes sense to adapt our communities to a life less reliant on burning fossil fuels.

    Which is why this Saturday (24th September) I am getting on my bike and heading to the Picnic for the Planet at Clive River at 1pm. The Rotary Pathways are an awesome way to get there but otherwise Hastings District Council has marked out the cycle lanes to make it safer to use the roads. This local event is part of a much bigger global event called Moving Planet Day when people around the world get on their bikes, skates and walk to remind our politicians that we need even greater efforts devoted towards finding ways to reduce CO2 to 350 parts per million. At 350 ppm we will be effectively turning the 'Titanic' toward a more sustainable future for human beings at least (I guess the planet will continue on whatever we as humans do!).

    Bring a picnic, coffee and drinks will be available for sale, and join the fun.

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