Congratulations to Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury and his Tumeke! Blog scoop, outing Vote for Change activist Alex Fogerty for his links to an Australian white supremacist group.
Vote for Change promptly booted Mr Fogerty out of the group but not before dear old Bob Harvey quit the campaign in disgust saying, according to the Herald website, he did not want to be part of a group that had not “done their homework” on their members.
It feels a little odd to be giving kudos to Bomber Bradbury as his views and rants generally can be labelled as “loony conspiracy theory left” but a scoop is a scoop and anyone who hooks up with rabid racist groups deserves to be given the boot from a lobby group that hopes to persuade a majority of New Zealanders to again change the voting system.
Vote for Change has already had a fair battering in the mainstream media, despite the best efforts of its articulate spokesperson Jordan Williams. The main criticism coming from MSM commentators is that it does not argue for one clear alternative to MMP.
That is a little tough on Vote for Change as the coming referendum offers several alternative systems to choose if we dump MMP: First Past the Post (FPP), Supplementary Member (SM), Preferential Voting (PV), and Single Transferable Vote.
Vote for Change rightfully argues that we can’t really debate these alternative systems unless we actually “Vote for Change”. If MMP was scrapped I presume the group and its supporters would then pick up sides on whatever voting system they individually favoured.
Left wing commentators and blogs attacked Vote for Change as some kind of evil right wing conspiracy, a front for National and Act – neatly overlooking the fact that without MMP Act would be dog tucker and National seem quite capable of putting together coalitions under MMP.
My guess is the final referendum vote will be a narrow win for MMP – which is a shame as some of the alternative systems deserve a second look.
However, in the absence of an early Electoral Commission’s education campaign and any serious attempt by the MSM to explain the alternatives I suspect people will opt for the MMP status quo.
How many of you out there understand STV, SM or PV? I spent a good hour with Mr Google trying to get my head around the way they work and eventually decided STV sounds promising if somewhat complicated.
Hopefully the TV networks will organise debate programmes on the issue prior to the vote and newspapers will devote some space to explaining what the hell these systems mean and how they would work because I’m sure the Electoral Commission’s education campaign will be drowned out by Rugby World Cup and the party fight for the general election. Otherwise I doubt many people will seriously explore the alternative voting options.
I reckon it’s a debate we need to have so hopefully people won’t be distracted by some of the mud being thrown at Vote for Change and, instead, concentrate on the question at hand: Do you want to keep MMP or not? And, if you don’t – what do we replace it with?