Preferential Counting in NZ Electorate Seats

preferential counting

I remain stunned that the body charged with suggesting improvements to NZ MMP has not suggested Preferential Counting of Electorate Seats.

A simple short term solution to the rorts (until we get proportional representation in Electorate Seats) is to count Electorate seat votes under a Preferential Counting system.

So please sign my petition.

The voting would stay the same. The ballot paper would stay the same. But the counting system would be preferential and most people wouldn’t even know that a huge leap for NZ democracy had occurred.

It would work like this: candidates would lodge their preferences with the Electoral Commission. For example. Candidate A would lodge their preferences with the Commission saying “if I don’t get elected then my votes should be counted towards  Candidate D, B and C etc, in that order.”

There are variations on the theme of course. Voters could number their own preferences, but that would not be as simple. Personally if I give me vote to my favourite candidate then I would trust them to distribute the vote, if they don’t get elected, in a manner I’d be happy with.

Here is an example from Australia of how a preferential count works. It’s also called Instant-runoff voting (IRV), alternative vote (AV), transferable vote, and ranked-choice voting. In NZ we could call it “end the stupid rorting charade voting”.

Simple, eh?

Sort Your Act Out


I wish Suzie Ferguson or at least Len Brown had read your first para before their work on Radio NZ National this morning.

Originally posted on The Shinbone Star:

Skyline (7187438034)

On Tuesday, ACT’s David Seymour announced that he will vote for changes to the RMA, because ACT are in favour of changing the RMA. Despite, at the time, not actually knowing precisely what Dr Nick Smith considers a change to the Resource Management Act. By Wednesday, Dr Smith had made his announcement and produced a 10 point plan, bringing a new terror to those hoping Managerese was a dying language.

The report coincided with the release of a paper from Motu Economic & Public Policy Research, entitled: Impacts of Planning Rules, Regulations, Uncertainty and Delay on Residential Property Development. The paper itself is very precise, and thoroughly researched and I do not in any way seek to criticise the authors, who have worked admirably within the constraints of their commission by the MBIE.

The headline figures were repeated by Dr Smith, who claimed that regulations added $15,000 to the…

View original 609 more words

Advice on dealing with NZ company AGPRO – DON’T

hazard symbol skull

AGPRO is a New Zealand company run by Greg Halligan and John. They make a herbicide they call Bio-Safe. It’s a hazardous chemical.

When told that Auckland Transport was spraying berms with it and that the foul smelling drift could be smelt hundreds of metres away, Greg Halligan hung up on me before the conversation had ended. Maybe he thought it was over but I certainly had more to say.

I phoned AGPRO again (0508536536, 10 Polaris Place, East Tamaki, Auckland  09 273 3456) hoping to get more info and hoping they might be concerned about their product being used this way. I asked for someone different and got John who gave no satisfaction.

Both Greg and John said talk to Auckland Transport.

Judge for yourself if you want to do business with a company like this. BTW people I spoke to said the smell was the smell of coconuts. If that’s the small of coconut then I’m a coconut too.

And for the record, Auckland Transport didn’t want to know. They said they trust their subcontractors and won’t be doing anything about it.

Stay tuned.


Legal social basis of Waitangi Treaty


The conservative John Key government encourages New Zealanders to believe that the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process will come to an end.The belief is wrong partly due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal basis of modern New Zealand.

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. All our laws, our bureaucratic processes and decisions must accord with it. The question then is: who and how decides if it’s being adhered to.

Like with any group of people or system of law on the planet, social processes decide the outcome. Whether the English version takes precedence over the Maori version or how the two interact or what is the meaning of the words – it’s all decided in the Waitangi Tribunal system and the court system. The courts are top dog in any dispute until the parliament changes the law.

It’s a huge misunderstanding of how the legal system really works if you think the words might mean what they appear to mean. Again, like legal systems everywhere, the words mean whatever the judges decide they mean. And judges everywhere are fooling themselves if they think they can make decisions independently of their own particular views and social biases. This “interpretation of laws” is known in jurisprudence as the Realist school and I recommend the book by Hart, H L A, The Concept of Law (1961)

Under our current system and current definitions the Treaty process must be ongoing. Why? Because for simple social and biological reasons judges will never give up the power to decide the meaning of words. But more importantly because current definitions of certain words and Treaty principles decided by judges means that new technologies as they emerge have to be shared according to Treaty principles.

Personally I’m very happy about that. The Treaty process in NZ is unique and has resulted in a unique and wonderful society where the huge majority of people are committed to living in and building a society of mutual respect. Even the sad few racists in New Zealand, be they Maori or Pakeha, usually have no idea of the extent to which their world view, language and thinking is a unique mix of indigenous and colonial history.

I also think Gareth Morgan’s article is worth a read, but but I disagree when he says “However despite this fluidity, the Treaty has limits. Even in its modern “elastic” form it cannot be credibly stretched to legitimise all Maori aspirations.” In fact if there is the social will, it can happen. The problem, as always, will be groups of people seeking to dominate others by whatever means they can.


Real science or not – fun for you to decide

funny otter cant hear you

Someone dear to me wears hearing aids.

Millions of people with hearing aids have to clean them and dehumidify them EVERY night of their lives.

Most people put them in a sealed plastic screwtop container with a molecular sieve desiccant (Dry-Aid Kit). When the desiccant has adsorbed all the vapour it can, it changes color and needs to be blasted in the microwave to restore it (about once a month). After about 18 months you buy new desiccant for about $30.

Some people say you can use rice as a desiccant. So when I duckduckgo’ed that I found this research.

rice desiccant Angela-Hayden-research (pdf file)

Do you believe the research?

Next plan is to experiment with old hearing aids. Put them in the fridge to dry. Then put them in their sealed container when taking them out of the fridge. This way they should reach ambient temperature without condensation.

Storm Fantasy – Sailing Yacht Safety Card


So always do tasks exactly the same way.
Even if it take a bit longer, enjoy the zen of safety.
When you’re tired and in trouble, your brain will do the thing you’ve trained it for.

B. Make yourself familiar with the boat – open everything and look inside.


1. What’s the difference between our two life-rings?

2. Can you heave-to?

3. Can you turn on the radio in the grab bag?

4. Have you done the trip report with the VHF?

5. What’s in the first-aid kit?

6. Pump a bucket of water overboard with the bilge pump.

7. Where is the safety knife?

8. Please write our coordinates into the log.

9. Which end of the different flares do you hold?

10. Please start the engine.

11. Where are the 3 fire extinguishers?

12. Please tie a rope to a stanchion and throw it as far as you can.

13. Where are the hacksaw blades? Why might we want them?

14. Please open and shut the five sea-cocks and note attached plugs.

EPIRBs, Man OverBoard (MOB) drill