Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Democracy of the few

The Electoral Commission is busy trying to divvy up the cash for political party presentations on the box. In order to help get the proportional split of funding sussed, parties have been asked to divulge membership numbers. Some have publicly disclosed them, some haven't. Act won't disclose their membership numbers even confidentially to the Commission.

It might have something to do with partisan representatives on the Commission, it might not. Regardless, the membership numbers that have been released make interesting reading.

Labour 48,609
Maori Party 13,500
Green Party 3027
United Future
National confidential
NZ First confidential
Act not telling

At a guess, there are roughly 100,000 members of political parties in New Zealand. That's less than a quarter of the people who watched the debut of Campbell Live, according to the pollmeisters. Around 2 million Kiwis voted in 2002's general election. Based on those numbers, political party representation as a percentage of voters sits at around 5 percent.

Not all party members are active. Let's assume 20 percent of party members are active participants in their respective parties (and that's being very generous). According to all these goNZo guesses, 1 percent of the voting population (being generous) decides the constituency candidates and List seat paybacks.

NZ Democracy; by a minority,
of a minority, for a minority.