MMP still ‘a fairer sys­tem’ - aca­demic

South Canterbury Herald - - FRONT PAGE - AL WIL­LIAMS

In the wake of the Septem­ber 23 gen­eral elec­tion, which has left the whole coun­try wait­ing to see the shape of our next Gov­ern­ment, there has not sur­pris­ingly been plenty of talk about the im­pact of the MMP elec­toral sys­tem. The Mixed Mem­ber Pro­por­tional (MMP) sys­tem in New Zealand turned 21 this year. The 2017 elec­tion was our eighth since MMP was first adopted in 1996. New Zealand First Party leader Win­ston Peters has been a key player in form­ing Gov­ern­ments led by both Na­tional (1996) and Labour (2005) and again holds the key to for­ma­tion of a Gov­ern­ment this time round as the coun­try waits with bated breath. This isn’t the first time the role of MMP has been ques­tioned, though. New Zealan­ders voted to keep the sys­tem by a ma­jor­ity of 57.8 per cent to 24.2 per cent in a ref­er­en­dum that ran along­side the Novem­ber 26, 2011 gen­eral elec­tion. New Zealan­ders first voted to adopt the sys­tem in a ref­er­en­dum held in con­junc­tion with the gen­eral elec­tion in 1993. Speak­ing to the South Can­ter­bury Her­ald, Massey Univer­sity As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor and pub­lic pol­icy spe­cial­ist Grant Dun­can said New Zealan­ders still ‘‘haven’t quite ma­tured into the MMP sys­tem’’. How­ever the coun­try was still bet­ter off un­der MMP. ‘‘The old First Past the Post (FPP) sys­tem was in­cred­i­bly un­fair as you could get a sin­gle party into par­lia­ment and so we es­sen­tially had an elected dic­ta­tor. ‘‘There was lit­tle check on a pow­er­ful ex­ec­u­tive un­der the old sys­tem.’’ Dun­can said the 1981 and 1984 gen­eral elec­tions were key con­trib­u­tors to New Zealand adopt­ing the MMP sys­tem. ‘‘The 1981 elec­tion was an ex­am­ple of po­lar­i­sa­tion as the Spring­bok tour was used as a po­lit­i­cal tool to boost ru­ral sup­port. ‘‘Fol­low­ing that 1981 dis­as­ter we had an­other dis­as­ter in 1984 with Roger­nomics. ‘‘Thou­sands and thou­sands of peo­ple lost their jobs as a re­sult and you could not have done any of that un­der MMP.’’


Massey Univer­sity pub­lic pol­icy ex­pert Grant Dun­can says New Zealand is still bet­ter off un­der MMP.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.