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National Objects To Anti-Democratic MMP Report

National strongly objects to the conclusions of a select committee on MMP which favour sticking to the status quo and exclude allowing the public to have a say on the future of MMP.

"This report is clearly a case of MPs from some political parties putting their own interests ahead of the interests of the public," Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"I am especially concerned by the committee's rejection of a further referendum on the future of MMP. The select committee's own research showed that 76% of New Zealander's endorsed National's policy of letting the people, not the Parliament, decide the future of MMP.

"New Zealanders believed they would have the chance to decide the way in which they elect their representatives. This committee is blocking that right, and National strongly opposes that.

"I urge other political parties to put their self-interest aside and support my Electoral Options Referenda Bill, which was drawn from the ballot in May and will be debated by Parliament later this year. It proposes two referenda on the electoral system, to give New Zealanders a direct say on MMP.

"The first referendum would establish whether New Zealanders are happy with MMP or whether they want a change, and from that what their preferred option is. If the majority want a change from MMP, a second referendum would pit MMP against the most favoured alternative system.

"The public, not the Parliament, must decide whether to stick with MMP or to modify it. I am stunned by the arrogant attempt of this select committee to subvert that basic democratic right.

"The select committee has also chosen to ignore the 81 per cent of New Zealand voters who, in the referendum held at the 1999 election, voted in favour of reducing the number of MPs from 120 to 99 - a policy National supports.

"The first rule of a democracy is that the public should decide how, and by whom, they are represented. The select committee report released today is clearly anti-democratic," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends


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