New Zealand First MPH Barbara Stewart’s members bill cutting the number of MPs from 120 to 100 was passed 61 to 60 at its first reading last night.
The bill will founder and so it should.
The number of MPs in our parliament is not the problem. In fact I would be comfortable with more. The problem is their lack of accountability and the lack of constitutional checks on their ability to exceed what should be limited powers
Originally, MPs were chosen to represent a region. That is, you were elected by the citizens of Upper Kaiapoi or West Temuka to protect their interests.
Legitimate interests might be that the area was being effectively policed, had a functioning justice system and had sufficient militia or soldiers to protect against marauders.
If that was an MPs sole responsibility, the workload would be light, the job part time and the remuneration modest. We could then afford more MPs who would be harder to control by party executives. The ratio of MPH to constituents would also be lower.
Under the diabolical system of MMP, society is divided into competing groups-Maori, Greens, Torys, “workers” etc, each with representatives out to gain their group as much as possible by ripping off the other groups.
The concept is essentially Marxist and the outcome (bigger government, more transfer payments) is predictable.
A focus on the number of MPs is a red herring. The focus should be on their powers, or more accurately, the limitation of them.