Mike Hosking: Broken MMP means there's no opportunity for small parties

Author
Mike Hosking ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 17 July 2018, 10:08a.m.
Gareth Morgan's TOP is just the latest small party to crumble under the weight of the biggest two parties. (Photo / NZ Herald)

As predicted on this show, and confirmed last week, TOP, The Opportunities Party is no more.

At the time when Gareth Morgan suggested he was out, but he hoped the movement would continue, you could immediately see the mistake he had made.

There was no movement, and the really sad part about this demise is for the system itself as opposed to the party specifically.

MMP is a mess, it doesn't work. The broad idea that we have a selection of parties isn't real.

They’ve largely fallen by the way side, as the larger parties have broadened their appeal.

ACT, despite David and Rodney and Roger, has never fired.

The Maori Party, born out of seabed and foreshore resentment, came and went. United Future died with Peter Dunne. The Conservatives got dragged down by the Craig weirdness. The odd burst from the Christians ended with Graham Capill in jail.

It's all farcical.

The survivors, if you want to call them that, are New Zealand First who will topple when Winston does.

And the Greens who really are the only genuine third party with any real sense of identity and future

Now it's easy to see where TOP went wrong. Gareth didn’t have a clue, either on how to present himself to potential voters or on policy.

He made the classic error of drumming up ideas from a survey. Votes are garnered by a belief system, hence the Greens.

I read Gareth's policies and they didn’t make sense, especially his tax one. And when I said so, all he did was bag me. He bagged everyone,he was permanently grumpy.

So if a party is to have any chance, the upside I suppose of all this demise, is that there is no shortage of examples of what to avoid if you don’t want to end up going the same way.

Personality can help, name recognition is a positive factor if used appropriately, but not if it becomes a one man band.

Policy has to be distinct, it has to be recognisable as different from all the rest. But without being so radical it'll never get off the ground. And there has to be a level of dissatisfaction with what's already on offer.

All of these things theoretically are possible, but are currently improbable.

Hence we have what we have. A very, very poor version of a system that should be so much more than it is.

And will it change? I don’t see it. The next election will be fought between what you see today.

And you know who that’s going to cause the most trouble?

National. Even as the most popular party they still need help. And ACT as a single lonely seat is not it, they need another party.

But as Gareth files the paperwork to wind his mad experiment up, who would back another party starting between now and next year and getting traction?

Not me.

 

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