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New Zealand elections

#21 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 04:59

View Postsfi, on 2020-October-15, 18:35, said:

I haven't followed NZ politics that closely over the years, but my impression is that Labour has historically been as happy to game the system as anyone else. It actually feels like a trap Ardern avoided rather than an opportunity.

Here in Virginia, USA the Republican party have used their majority in the state general assembly to draw member district maps to their advantage for the last two decades whilst Dems complained bitterly and pushed for a bipartisan commission to draw the maps instead. When the Dems took back the majority in 2019, party leaders abandoned the bipartisan committee proposal which is now on the ballot in November. We'll soon see if Democrat voters are more principled.
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#22 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 05:48

View Posty66, on 2020-October-17, 04:59, said:

Here in Virginia, USA the Republican party have used their majority in the state general assembly to draw member district maps to their advantage for the last two decades whilst Dems complained bitterly and pushed for a bipartisan commission to draw the maps instead. When the Dems took back the majority in 2019, party leaders abandoned the bipartisan committee proposal which is now on the ballot in November. We'll soon see if Democrat voters are more principled.

It has to be either a national policy or a jungle. If Dems refuse to gerrymander and Reps do, at some point the map will become so red that the House will become as cemented in Republican hands as the SC after ACB. That combined with the inbuilt advantage Reps have in the Senate could potentially lead to minority government in the USA for a generation. You cannot fight politics with a hand tied behind your back. If there is only one thing you should learn from Moscow Mitch, this is it.
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#23 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 13:24

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-October-17, 05:48, said:

It has to be either a national policy or a jungle. If Dems refuse to gerrymander and Reps do, at some point the map will become so red that the House will become as cemented in Republican hands as the SC after ACB. That combined with the inbuilt advantage Reps have in the Senate could potentially lead to minority government in the USA for a generation. You cannot fight politics with a hand tied behind your back. If there is only one thing you should learn from Moscow Mitch, this is it.


History - if you know any proves otherwise. South Africa, Civil rights movements, Arab spring, Berlin wall, asymmetrical warfare etc etc. It seems that you have an almost complete lack of understanding about political history.
Almost every revolution is won from a position with 'one hand tied behind one's back'.
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#24 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 16:33

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-October-17, 13:24, said:

History - if you know any proves otherwise. South Africa, Civil rights movements, Arab spring, Berlin wall, asymmetrical warfare etc etc. It seems that you have an almost complete lack of understanding about political history.
Almost every revolution is won from a position with 'one hand tied behind one's back'.

What do any of these have to do with the two-party political process we are talking about in America? If the Republican party cemented minority power with no hope of being dislodged through democratic means, so that the Democratic party were merely a protest group, then I would agree with you. But that is not what we are talking about here. I humbly suggest it is you that is not really understanding.
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#25 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 18:25

View Posty66, on 2020-October-17, 04:59, said:

Here in Virginia, USA the Republican party have used their majority in the state general assembly to draw member district maps to their advantage for the last two decades whilst Dems complained bitterly and pushed for a bipartisan commission to draw the maps instead. When the Dems took back the majority in 2019, party leaders abandoned the bipartisan committee proposal which is now on the ballot in November. We'll soon see if Democrat voters are more principled.

This has nothing to do with being more principled. If you decide to play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules of politics, while the other side is bringing brass knuckles and billy clubs to the fight, you are going to get your brains bashed in.

Due to the very considerable advantages of incumbency, if you've gained your office by gerrymandering, you've got an unnatural advantage to winning the next election even if the maps are redrawn. It could take decades for a natural equilibrium to return things to "normal". In essence, you are rewarding the side that did the gerrymandering.
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#26 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 18:27

What you are advocating, reductio ad absurdum, is that all sides abandon normative ethics and the rule of law.
This is not in keeping with civilised society. Gandhi would not approve and neither do I.
My family were not slaughtered by the Nazis a few short years ago so that vast swathes of the American public can go around blithely and ahistorically denying the Holocaust.

It is not right to meet stupidity, lawlessness and cupidity with equal amounts of greed corruption and criminality.
What you are suggesting by saying that - and I quote "If Dems refuse to gerrymander and Reps do, at some point the map will become so red that the House will become as cemented in Republican hands" is tantamount to suggesting that if one group are crooks then the best solution is for the other group to be bigger crooks.


That is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.


Please don't tell me that the arm of government you work for is the foreign service.
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#27 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 18:54

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-October-17, 18:27, said:

This is not in keeping with civilised society. Gandhi would not approve and neither do I.

And again, Gandhi led a protest movement for an occupied people that had no possible way of coming to power through normal democratic means. This is quite different from a two-party political system.

You also mentioned 1930s Germany. Now generally this is seen by forums as a general admission that you lost the argument and I would rather tend to laugh than to respond. But here I will just mention in passing that one of the main reasons why Hitler came to power in Germany and subsequently grabbed far more power than should ordinarily have been possible, is that key political figures allowed the National Socialists to dictate the rules of the game. Not fighting back when a minority force attempt to usurp power is dangerous for a democracy. Sometimes the right thing to do for the rule of law is to hold the line.

If gerrymandering was made to be illegal then I am sure all democrats (small d) in America would be relieved. As long as it remains legal though, you either use it as much as your opponents or put yourself at a significant disadvantage. This is just called living in the real world and not in some liberal idealist fantasy. Most bridge players are old enough to understand the difference.
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#28 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-17, 21:24

As Paul Keating remarked of John Hewson, "it's like arguing with a column of smoke" - except you seem to meander even more than Hewson. The Holocaust occurred a bit later than that. Go back to ping-pong.
If you are unable to understand value ethics by now its too late.
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#29 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 00:46

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-October-11, 16:36, said:

There is nothing useful competent. or democratic about Britain.



Thinking of democracy, as a Labor person in AUstralia, Professor, with obvious high opinions of the UK, what did you think of the recent process to select the leader of the (British, UK?? just the capital T The) Labour Party. I found it a remarkable process myself. As someone born in English Labour heartland I was rather suspicious of someone with a title getting the job, but I believe he is someone who actually earned it - then again it could just have been his first name that got him the job - talk about an unfair start :)

I must admit I have some serious trust problems with a labour organisation that spells itself Labor

I also have a few problems with labour organisations being dominated largely by professional workers these days. Although actually sadly maybe they know more about labour than anyone else these days

EDIT I hope you don't mind me asking the question. You only refused (so far) to discuss one other specific issue with me as far as I know, but if its across the board and this is an unwelcome question I apologise sincerely. But your posts are usually full of things requiring challenge or at least clarification. And I apologise if my address was too informal or inappropriate
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#30 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 01:21

View Postthepossum, on 2020-October-18, 00:46, said:

Thinking of democracy, as a Labor person in AUstralia, Professor, with obvious high opinions of the UK, what did you think of the recent process to select the leader of the (British, UK?? just the capital T The) Labour Party. I found it a remarkable process myself. I must admit I have some serious trust problems with a labour organisation that spells itself Labor

EDIT I hope you don't mind me asking the question. You only refused (so far) to discuss one other specific issue with me as far as I know, but if its across the board and this is an unwelcome question I apologise sincerely. And I apologise if my address was too informal or inappropriate


You ask an interesting question.
What is good governance is a problem that has really been taxing me lately.
I think that if we are to have a government it should be there to manage (meaning care for people) and administer (meaning look after rules and regulations). But this is a relatively easy task when everything is running smoothly.
In medicine, there is a saying that in anaesthetics, things go wrong in seconds, in surgery things go wrong in minutes but for physicians they can wait for a few days.
What COVID and the Bushfires and climate change show are that one in hundred-year events only happen once in a hundred years, but there are hundreds of them!
Surely it would be a good idea if government whatever type it was, had some sort of system in place to prepare for them along the lines of the National Transportation Safety Bureau?
But no (he said wearily), instead, conservative governments say we'll let the market do it.
My biggest gripe about so-called leaders is when they say haplessly: "well it's a 1/100 year event who would have thunk it" - do nothing and nothing happens.
Bridge is the same. If you only play for the common events you never get better.

To get back to your original question.
To be a satisfactory democracy, there should be:
  • an independent electoral commission
  • preferential voting
  • compulsory voting
  • universal suffrage

Australia has all of these, the USA seems to have none - the USA IMO is a failed state - more akin to the lord of the flies or a primary School playground than a functional democracy.
The UK (I am a dual citizen) is not much better. It has voluntary voting and a first past the post system. Together this is easy to cause a rigging of the ballot.
Perhaps that's enough for now.
PS, Australia does have like the USA what Keating calls undemocratic swill - the Senate. At least the Brits fixed that.
Also Brenda Hale is a Bridge Player so there's that too.Posted Image
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#31 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 01:29

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-October-18, 01:21, said:

You ask an interesting question.
What is good governance is a problem that has really been taxing me lately.
I think that if we are to have a government it should be there to manage (meaning care for people) and administer (meaning look after rules and regulations). But this is a relatively easy task when everything is running smoothly.
In medicine, there is a saying that in anaesthetics, things go wrong in seconds, in surgery things go wrong in minutes but for physicians they can wait for a few days.
What COVID and the Bushfires and climate change show are that one in hundred-year events only happen once in a hundred years, but there are hundreds of them!
Surely it would be a good idea if government whatever type it was, had some sort of system in place to prepare for them along the lines of the National Transportation Safety Bureau?
But no (he said wearily), instead, conservative governments say we'll let the market do it.
My biggest gripe about so-called leaders is when they say haplessly: "well it's a 1/100 year event who would have thunk it" - do nothing and nothing happens.
Bridge is the same. If you only play for the common events you never get better.

To get back to your original question.
To be a satisfactory democracy, there should be:
  • an independent electoral commission
  • preferential voting
  • compulsory voting
  • universal suffrage

Australia has all of these, the USA seems to have none - the USA IMO is a failed state - more akin to the lord of the flies or a primary School playground than a functional democracy.
The UK (I am a dual citizen) is not much better. It has voluntary voting and a first past the post system. Together this is easy to cause a rigging of the ballot.
Perhaps that's enough for now.
PS, Australia does have like the USA what Keating calls undemocratic swill - the Senate. At least the Brits fixed that.
Also Brenda Hale is a Bridge Player so there's that too.Posted Image


Thanks for the reply :)

I will read it in depth and consider your points. As you mentioned South Australian Labor I did just try to read up a little on the Labor party there. As a relatively new (30 years) migrant and dual like you, I still have a lot to learn about Labour/Labor history here

In terms of overall concerns about democracy, I really don't have enough knowledge philosophically or historically but I have developed some very sersiou concerns about the whole of human history everywhere, all our philosophies, and what happens when debate, dialectic, differences in opinion become extreme are manipulated in a very extreme way. But as I said, I only have a vague understanding of the stuff and don't feel totally confidence discussing such matters. I believe some carry it to extremes. And what concerns me looking back at my upbringing and education, and assumptions about the place (I left in my 20s) - although actually I have concerns about many places - and all those influenced over the centuries of colonial European empires but going back even further to ancient empires and forms of control - I wish I were more learned in it all to make more sense. But I have some very big doubts and questions about many things I used to take for granted. Hopefully there are still enough strong institutions to protect against the destructive forces. To me, what is happening is that much of the world is in an extreme standoff of extreme views. I don't have a philosophy degree to really challenge what is going on (and has done for thousands of years) more but I hope you or others may understand what I fractionally understand and have concerns over. To me there are those who believe that those extreme divisions and arguments (which have at times turned into the worst of extremes) were supposedly an ongoing conflict leading to progress, but to me it all seems like a terrible system of control. Maybe I haven't read enough classical philosophy etc but I have some vague understandings (maybe more than it seems) and it frightens the hell out of me. Thinking of all those centures of empire and colonialism by European powers which established permanent inequalities and conflicts etc etc

PS I'm not going to ask but I was going to ask a professional opinion on something concerning me. But I won't :)

PPS I also have serious concerns about democracy everywhere

PPPS My concerns about Labour/Labor multiply many times when I think about other "left" or "progressive" parties
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#32 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 01:34

View Postthepossum, on 2020-October-18, 01:29, said:

Thanks for the reply :)

PS I'm not going to ask but I was going to ask a professional opinion on something concerning me. But I won't :)

PPS I also have serious concerns about democracy everywhere

PPPS My concerns about Labour/Labor multiply many times when I think about other "left" or "progressive" parties


Looks like we're on the same page there then!
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#33 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 01:59

Sounds fine. Apologies for all my edits. I end up using forum pages as a draft needing imprvement. Not to undermine responses :)

It just takes so long to write on such complex topics and not all of us are used to getting everything right first time. I have massive concerns about so many things and they really take forever to think about and write. The times I ahve tried writing things in a word processor with full edits, extensive time to review, any chance of interaction is gone. I still find online forums a diffiuclt mediuam for such complex discussion and debate

As I said I hope nothing I wrote has undermined your response in any way shape or form

regards P

EDIT We shouldnt have to worry but the world is full of assholes who will find any way they can to undermine good people and use anythingagainst them, the smallest eroor, typo, change, misunderstanding anything. Its a dangerous world

EDIT 2 I almost had my whole life (and I mean whole) destroyed by something I imagine I must have written somewhere or someone I upset somewhere who then brought that into every aspect of my personanl and professional life (and I mean every) and essentially destroyed almost all trust I have in anyone or anything. Apologies for my caution and my caution is not about you Paul The worst thing is that to this day I have no idea who they were, why they did it, what I said or did to deserve it. Because one thing the cowards do is never actually say anything to your face
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#34 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-24, 20:15

A discussion about whether NZ is resistant to erosion of democracy:
https://thespinoff.c...it-happen-here/
As much as I like you guys, you really need to know that this is all complete nonsense --- Pilowsky
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#35 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 10:09

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-November-24, 20:15, said:

A discussion about whether NZ is resistant to erosion of democracy:
https://thespinoff.c...it-happen-here/

Good article, thank you.

I like the point about MMP (or any alternative proportional voting system). It especially gives regional parties or smaller groups a louder voice at the national level.

I can't see it happening in the UK any time soon. The last feeble attempt (led by the LibDems) failed miserably largely due to (a) their inability to clearly articulate the benefits and convince the public AND (b) the establishment being against it, thereby drowning the voices of those in favour of alternative voting systems.
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#36 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-25, 14:27

View Postshyams, on 2020-November-25, 10:09, said:

The last feeble attempt (led by the LibDems) failed miserably largely due to (a) their inability to clearly articulate the benefits and convince the public AND (b) the establishment being against it, thereby drowning the voices of those in favour of alternative voting systems.

The UK referendum was not about proportional representation.

When the LibDems joined the coalition with the Conservatives, their condition was proportional representation. The conservatives obviously wouldn't agree for that so the compromise was a referendum on AV. AV was originally a Labour idea (fairly obvious - it would lead to Labour wins in constituencies where it's a Lab/Con contest and most Green/LibDem voters will have Lab as second priority). Surprisingly, Labour didn't consistently back the proposal. Maybe mostly because they were upset that the LibDems entered the coalition.

I know people who voted against or stayed home because they thought it was a trivial improvement over FPTP so they'd rather wait for a real reform. Many voted against because they didn't like LibDems or because they didn't understand the issue.

Somehow Labour in New Zealand managed to get PR introduced in 1994, but generally it is difficult to get reforms through as whoever benefits from the existing system will almost per definition have the power to prevent changes. Even countries with PR usually have some way of flavoring the biggest parties. In Greece and Turkey, there's a biggest-party-bonus. In Germany, Sweden and New Zealand, parties with less than 5% of the vote get no representation at all.
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#37 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 08:32

I think the 5% barrier is a useful improvement over pure PR to avoid Italian-style conditions with too many tiny parties to make for stable national politics. At the moment, the German model is the best compromise between democracy and stability that I have found anywhere.
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