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Labour Would Lose All List MPs In 99 Seat Parlt..

March 5, 2000

Labour loses all list MPs with 99 seats

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says he hopes the public is open to persuasion on the size of parliament since last year's indicative referendum overwhelmingly voted to cut the number of MPs from 120 to 99.

"Although over 80% of voters opted to cut the number of seats in Parliament I am convinced many did so because they were angry with the last government and frustrated by the antics in Parliament," Rod Donald said.

"With a significantly more popular government in place and a noticeable improvement in parliamentary behaviour I believe many people who voted for 99 MPs may be willing to change their minds.

"A compelling argument for keeping 120 MPs is the impact a cut would have had on the Labour Government. Despite winning the election, reducing the number of list seats by 21 would have been devastating for them," he said.

Labour would have lost all eight of its list MPs including deputy leader Michael Cullen, Speaker Jonathan Hunt, Cabinet Minister Margaret Wilson, Parliament's only Pacific Island MP Winnie Laban, two Maori MPs - Joe Hawke and Tariana Turia and two other women MPs Dianne Yates and Helen Duncan.

This is because with 38.7% of the vote Labour's total seat entitlement would have been 41 - the exact number of constituency seats it won.

National would lose seven List MPs including former speaker Doug Kidd, former Cabinet Minister Marie Hasler, three other women MPs Katherine Rich, Anne Tolley, Annabel Young and Bob Simcock and Eric Roy.

ACT, the Alliance and the Green Party would all lose 2 MPs each: Penny Webster and Gerry Eckhoff; Willie Jackson and Kevin Campbell; Keith Locke and Sue Kedgley.

Overall there would be 10 fewer women in Parliament, cutting the proportion from 30% to 26% and three fewer Maori MPs.

"New Zealand's current Parliament is the most representative in our nation's history. I can't see the point in reducing the level of representation for sections of the community which are still under represented."

"There are a host of other good arguments for keeping 120 MPs including needing this number to make select committees work effectively. It is also worth remembering that under the old first past the post formula there would have been 105 seats at the last election anyway," Rod Donald said.

It is expected that the committee being set up to review MMP will also have responsibility for deciding what action to take on last year's referendum result.

Rod Donald on: 04 470 6660, 03 3663292, 03 332 5765, 025 507 183


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