MMP proposals open to debate
The Electoral Commission has today released its suggested changes to the MMP voting system.
It now wants to hear what New Zealand thinks of its proposals.
This is the second stage of the MMP Review.
This was triggered by last year’s Referendum on the Voting System, in which the majority of voters chose to keep MMP as New Zealand’s voting system.
As a result of the referendum, the Electoral Commission is required to carry out an independent review of MMP.
It must report to the justice minister before the end of this year.
‘‘The Proposals Paper we are releasing today sets out the conclusions the commission has reached to date following the first round of public consultation,’’ chief electoral officer Robert Peden said.
‘‘We now want to know what the public thinks about the proposals before we make our final report in October.
‘‘All the information you need is on our website at mmp review.org.nz, or call freephone 0800 367 656 to have a proposals paper sent to you.”
The proposals being suggested by the Electoral Commission are:
The one electorate seat threshold for the allocation of list seats should be abolished.
The party vote threshold for the allocation of list seats should be lowered to four per cent.
Candidates should continue to be able to stand both in an electorate and on a party list at general elections.
List MPs should continue to be able to contest by-elections.
Political parties should continue to have responsibility for the composition and ranking of candidates on their party lists.
The provision for overhang seats should be abolished for parties that do not cross the party vote threshold.
On the basis of current information it would be prudent to identify 76 electorate seats (in a 120 seat Parliament) as the point at which the risk to proportionality from insufficient list seats becomes unacceptable. New Zealand is unlikely to reach that point before 2026.
The gradual erosion of list seats relative to electorate seats risks undermining the diversity of representation in Parliament. Parliament should review this matter.
‘‘ Nearly 4700 people made submissions during the first stage of the MMP Review earlier this year,’’ Mr Peden said.
‘‘This was a considerable help to us.
‘‘We look forward to receiving public feedback in this next stage.’’
Submissions on the proposals can be made via post, email, or online at mmpreview. org. nz, and must be received by September 7.
Submissions can also be made on the proposals paper itself.
Public hearings will not be held.
A final report will be presented to the justice minister by October 31.