More on Constitutional Reforms
I see there has been further posting on the (NZ) Blogosphere. Holden Republic has posted a carefully considered (and mostly supportive) analysis of my earlier posting on constitutional reforms from a republican perspective. David Farrar has responded to No Right Turn's post on dropping the threshold, which was also one of my proposals.
I'd like to point out that
(a) I am a republican but my proposals actually work just as well if (or while) we remain a constitutional monarchy.
(b) I'm quite happy with MMP (sans threshold) but again my proposals work equally well with any more or less proportional voting system.
I don't believe the fears of the "threshold defenders". Even if we did get four or five extremist parties with 2-3% each it's much more likely they would cancel each other out rather than form a Communist-National Front-Destiny NZ-Libertarian-Maori Independence grouping committed to the advancement of the "extremist point of view". When the Germans had the MMP system selected for them after the war the threshold was included to keep out the "nutbars". I suspect that the framers of the new German Constitution had a rather specific nutbar in mind - and (while it may have been magnanimous to gloss over the fact) the Nazis had over 30% of the vote when Hitler came to power. Even then it was the politicians (not only in Germany) who were willing to deal with the Nazis that were the real problem.
However if the threshold is controversial why not switch to STV. With modern technology the complexity of voting need no longer be an issue. STV imposes a significant hurdle to very small parties getting in but allows voters extended choices between candidates within parties. It also means that a centre party that is preferred by 5% of the voters but acceptable to 90% will do better than an extremist party which also has 5% support but is detested by 80%.
It seems that there is quite widespread support for the fixed parliamentary term (though some would prefer four years to three), and for the formal election of the PM by parliament. Could this be the beginning of a concensus?
Please let me know your views - particularly if you disagree.