MMP HERE TO STAY
I wonder how many people recall how New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) ceased to be a political football, and how small political Parties are able to make policy gains? For example The all Party Accord on NZS set the minimum and maximum rate of Superannuation payments to be between 65% and 72.5% of the net after tax minimum wage. New Zealand First under Winston Peters had the numbers to lift the level to 66%.
In addition the party was able to get the Gold Card introduced. United Leader Peter Dunne had the length of Summer Time extended. More recently David Seymour leader of Act achieved the introduction of Chartered Schools.
How did these changes come about? Because the electorate dumped ‘first past the post’ in response to continual breaking promises of policy changes given on the hustings by National and Labour. Enter MMP. This month marked the 20th anniversary of the introduction of MMP.
Although a week in politics is said to be a long time the portends are that after next year’s election small parties will have significant presence in Parliament thus able to leverage policy gains from the party with the largest number of seats. Not every gain will be as significant as New Zealand First increase in the rate of NZS or the introduction of the Gold Card or David Seymour’s success over Charter Schools, but small gains can be made.
Under MMP one has a party vote, the crucial vote , and a vote for the electorate MP. This enables choice of who to give ones party vote to and the other to a good electorate MP irrespective of the party they belong to. The death of first past the post is mourned by a few but thankfully MMP is here to stay.
Don Robertson, Palmerston North