Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, February 13, 2006

New Zealand in the 1990s: part zero

As a tangentially-related addendum on my last post: it seems as good a time as any to mention that I will soon be starting a series of posts focusing on New Zealand and the changes they made to their electoral system in the 1990s.

So why New Zealand? Well, it's a fairly trivial task to figure out the effects that a proportional voting system tends to have on a country's politics--you only have to look at a broad cross-section of the countries that already have those systems, and then sort out which effects are systemic and which are due to peculiarities of that country's situation. There are obvious problems, though, with eyeing these already-existing systems and assuming that Canada would be just like them following a switch. It seems wiser to assume that any changes to Canada's voting system would require a period of adjustment--but what might that period of adjustment look like? The political science scholarship about New Zealand in the past fifteen years can provide a glimpse at the immediate consequences of a change from first-past-the-post to proportional representation--both positive and negative, both intended and unintended.

Those are the issues that my upcoming series will attempt to explore.


Annamarie said...

An excellent idea! I'll be coming back regularly to read the posts.

Take care and best regards.


Anonymous said...

I'll be checking back as well. My largest concern is that North America is the world's largest contributor to greenhouse gasses, and probably the largest consumer on the planet, yet we are the only one of the three continents that include Europe and South America without any Green representation. We are much too complacent.