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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mike Moore on the Evils of MMP, Cowardly Politicians and Party Lackeys

I got this excellent opinion piece from former Labour PM Mike Moore via The Hive.

Opinion polls make cowards of all politicians. You can talk yourself out of anything. The Auckland Airport saga represents the worst opinion poll politics and political cowardice. Thousands of New Zealanders lost big money because overnight the Government decided this was a strategic asset.

This is control of the "commanding heights" theory, beloved by Lenin and Muldoon. Widely popular and nationalistic. No economic advantage, but a populist challenge to the National Party, a set-up, which National, in their cowardice, failed.

Leadership must be more than finding a poll and agreeing with it. Politicians don't often lie; their fatal compromise is to say nothing. A number of politicians are privately aghast at the Electoral Finance Act.

Even those MPs who voted for it can't work out their own local expenditure, such is the confusion. Politicians can be too good at politics, maintaining unity at any cost _ "unity" being the most important word in political management.

This kills debate and scrutiny, which always improve decision-making. Questioning in itself becomes treason! MMP compounds this tendency. It has created systemic, chronic cowardice. Unless you are high on the party list, you are "road kill". Therefore, the incentive to tell party leaders how wonderful, indispensable and loved they are becomes endemic and unhealthy.

Electorate MPs once stood for local interests, but now they seek the safety net of a list placing. Electorate MPs could once build a firewall of local supporters, their independence rewarded by loyal locals. Those days are over.

Politics is now so well-managed that it takes all the risk and courage out of politics.

To those who live by opinion polls, who have their backbones removed by focus groups, the most profound words on political courage go to Martin Luther King jnr:

"Cowardice asks the question _ is it safe? Expediency asks the question _ is it politic? Vanity asks the question _ is it popular? But conscience asks the question _ is it right? A position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but because conscience tells him it is right."

For a look at the socialists who gave us MMP and why they did it, go here, here and here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three additional points.

1. When MMP was adopted it was simply described as the same system as that used in Germany. No-one I know of pointed out that it was almost precisely the same MMP system under which Hitler came to power in then democratic Germany, without having a majority of Germans vote for him (that came later). Who would have supported putting in the system that Hitler successfully climbed?

2. In the referendum, the Business Round Table made a rather arrogant blunder when it sent one of the country's biggest businessmen round the country fronting opposition to MMP. Many people then thought that to oppose MMP was to side with Big Business.

3. We were promised another referendum. Where is it?

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Shirtcliffe was the Business Roundtable man who led the anti-MMP campaign.

He is/was a decent man, and a capable chairman of Telecom as I recall. However, he was a poor choice for campaign leader, and having the Business Roundtable openly as the prime backer was an even worse problem

I share the previous poster's opinion a resultant bugger-you vote gave MMP its narrow margin. I think it needed only 50 per cent, which was too low for such a constitutional change.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kia ora

Mike Moore is, as usual, talking horse shit. There are still electorates where the people can support a good MP regardless of party loyalties, and a party still has to win the lion's share of these electorates to have any chance of forming a majority government in parliament.

Good point raised by anonymous though, Hitler was elected under representative democracy, therefore let's get rid of representative democracy altogether, MMP or FPP. Let's have direct democracy instead, based in face-to-face processes in real communities. That way we can recognise Māori sovereignty based on haputanga, not a Māori state, as well as pakeha also having real control over their neighbourhoods, rather than council/ business quangos.

Danyl Strype

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Danyl Strype's interesting point: yes the question is WHETHER Hitler was elected under true representative democracy? Can MMP provide that?

Does the MMP electoral system reflect true democracy or does it give such power to small minorities that it can create power rungs for a tyrant like Hitler?

Danyl sounds like a syndicalist type anarchist. Small group democracy would be great for so many things, but surely we would still need a State, hopefully minimum, to run an umbrella legal system, provide or co-ordinate defence, and oversee and encourage communications from planes, airports, roads, railways, to broadband.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Child taggers? Teenage vandals more like. They certainly don't warrant the death penalty, but taggers are a bunch of empty-headed yobs.

And what's a person's financial status got to do with it? You don't have to be rich to own a fence some ratbag defaces.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't have to be rich to own a fence some ratbag defaces"

No but it certainly helps


9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the greatest of respect Mike Moore "on" ANYTHING is just excruciating.

A vainglorious fellow who's done exceedingly well in selfish "look at me look at me" terms.

An "aggrieved" fellow however....aggrieved on account of his not being universally recognised as Labour's modern day Mickey Savage.

Therein lies the answer to his being ALWAYS excruciating. Big egg !

And snapped up by Trev of course. Straight to the breast !

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have to be rich to kill a child tager and get away with it, is what wealth has to do with it.

murder is fine for the rich or the army. anyone else does it and their 'commies'?

sounds a bit rich eh

2:13 PM  

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