MMP still ‘a fairer system’ - academic
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.