MMP pro­pos­als open to de­bate

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

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.

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