The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

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

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