14 October 2008

Hide and the kingmakers

> DomPost: "Hide: Unfair for Maori to be kingmakers" Rodney Hide complains that some of us might not be able to vote in electorates where the potential "kingmakers" are standing:

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide says it will be damaging to the New Zealand political system if the Maori Party finds itself in the role of kingmaker after the election. Mr Hide told Waatea News this morning he was opposed in principle to ethnically-based politically parties exercising undue influence on the political system. "If the Maori Party is in the position to play kingmaker (after the election), that could be very damaging for the Maori Party and MMP politics," he said. "People will think hang on, how come these people in these (seven) Maori seats where I cannot vote are getting to decide whether it is going to be Helen Clark or John Key who is going to be Prime Minister. "That does not seem on the face of it fair. "It is no disrespect to the Maori Party but I think that would be a hard one to explain." ...

Three words: Pot. Kettle. Black.

I presume he'll be recusing himself from forming a government, if the only reason his party is in Parliament is because he won the Epsom electorate seat? And, presumably he'll be similarly protesting Dunne or Anderton adding their electorate based seats to any coalition?


Anonymous said...

A slight difference - although this doesn't seem to be the focus of the comments - Hide and Dunne (and probably Anderton too) are unlikely to be overhang. If the Maori Party hold the cards after the election because they've won 4 overhang seats this could be seen as unfair. And doubly so if say National plus Act (plus UF?) have say 61 seats between them.

Nick K said...

Dean, there will be no overhang on the seats you mention because it is the party vote that will determine the number of MP's from those parties which is in stark contrast to the overhang created by the Maori seats.

Surely you get that.

Dean Knight said...

I accept the point about overhang seats. But that's not the basis on which he made the remarks....

Anonymous said...

Actually the point is that all New Zealanders over 18yrs (and permanent residents) living in Epsom are eligible to enrol to vote in an election to determine whether Mr Hide is their representative. This is the “universal” in the universal franchise. Contrast this with Maori constituencies which are actually about the ethnic origins of the enrolees – i.e. non universal franchise. Thus they are seats allocated on an ethnic/geographical basis not solely a geographical basis.

It’s actually pretty simple.

It’s a bit of an odd retort to point out that not every elector can vote for a particular electorate MP as a justification for an ethnically determined enrollment status for a few seats that might hold the balance of power.

The two minorities are completely different and arguably raise different issues about legitimacy.

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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