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Public Need Say On MMP

New Zealanders will have a chance to vote again on our electoral system if parliamentary parties agree to allow this to occur, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

Mrs Shipley's Electoral Options Referenda Bill which will give New Zealanders a direct say on MMP has today been drawn from the ballot to come before parliament for its first reading.

"It is the public, not the Government, who must decide whether to stick with MMP or modify it," Mrs Shipley said.

The Electoral Options Referenda Bill proposes two referenda on the electoral system. The first establishes whether New Zealanders are happy with MMP or if they want a change, and from that what their preferred option is.

If the majority want a change from MMP, a second referendum pits MMP against the most favoured alternative system.

"People must have the opportunity to either confirm the status quo or signal their desire for change and comment on MMP's successes or shortcomings.

"After electoral change in 1993 the public believed it would have an opportunity to comment on MMP. A survey after the 1993 change showed 76 percent of New Zealander's endorsed National's policy of letting the people, not parliament, decide the future of MMP.

"This is a call to arms to any New Zealander who wants the right to vote again on their electoral system, and I encourage every one of them to visit or write to their MP so that they can have this opportunity.

"I hope the House will support the bill being referred to the Justice and Electoral select committee so the public can make submissions on it. If it does we would be happy to co-operate with the Government on a referenda," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends


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