Submission to the Electoral Commission MMP Review

By Kieran Madden April 05, 2012

New Zealand should have a voting system that enables our MPs and the government to have the freedom to lead and to make decisions in the best interests of all New Zealanders, and encourages them to listen and be responsive to the interests of New Zealanders and their local communities.

We believe there are some problems with MMP, and that they mainly relate to the emphasis it places on parties (as the party vote determines the overall make-up of parliament) and whether most voters can accept the electoral outcomes that MMP produces. We propose adjustments that we believe would preserve the integrity and intention of MMP, while still strengthening the legitimacy and accountability of parliament.


Submission to the Electoral Commission

On the 2012 Review of the MMP Voting System


Our specific recommendations for improving MMP in response to the consultation paper are that:

  1. the five percent party vote threshold should be kept;
  2. the one electorate seat threshold should not be kept, and minor parties which fail to cross the five percent threshold, but which win an electorate seat, should be treated according to the same seat allocation rules as independent MPs;
  3. list MPs should be able to stand as candidates in by-elections;
  4. dual candidacy should be kept;
  5. voters should have some ability to alter the order of candidates from the list order decided by political parties by using an open party list system, and when voters cast their party vote they should have the option of voting either for their preferred list candidate or preferred party;
  6. the overhang provision should be removed, and when a party wins more electorate seats than the party vote entitles it to, the number of seats in parliament that are distributed proportionally to other parties should be reduced by that party’s number of seats; and
  7. there should always be a greater total number of electorate seats than list seats, and there must be enough list seats to allow MMP to function as a proportional voting system.

We do not believe there are any other issues that the review need consider.

In the remainder of this submission, we set out our criteria for effective representative democracy that form the basis of our recommendations for how to improve MMP’s performance, and our rationale for these adjustments.

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