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Greens Support MMP, 120 Seats, No Referendum

Greens Support MMP, 120 Seats, No Electoral Referendum

The Green Party is satisfied with the outcome of the Select Committee Inquiry into MMP.

"While there are improvements to MMP we would still like to see, we are pleased on the whole, with both the process and the outcome of the inquiry," said Green Party co-leader Rod Donald. "We strongly support the view of most parties that the MMP electoral system should be retained.

"We are particularly pleased that the Committee as a whole disagreed with petitioner Margaret Robertson's arguments that reducing the number of MPs would improve their behaviour.

"Clearly there is still dissatisfaction with the conduct of some MPs but cutting the number to 99 will not solve that problem and would instead create other difficulties," he said.

In contrast to the 1999 referendum, when 81.5 per cent voted for 99 seats, 89 submitters to the Select Committee supported 120 seats compared to 33 for 99 seats.

"I believe the '99 referendum was more an expression of frustration with the outcome of the '96 election than a considered assessment of the relative merits of 120 seats versus 99.

"Even the National Party concedes that 120 seats delivers a better parliament through improved representation for Maori, women and ethnic minorities.

"Of greater significance, Act agreed that 'there would be adverse consequences (resulting from cutting 21 MPs) and considered they outweighed the countervailing advantages'.

"I respect ACT's considered support for 120 seats, especially having campaigned for Margaret Robertson's referendum so strenuously before the last election," said Mr Donald.

"On the issue of another referendum, the logical position prevails ie - there should only be one if significant changes to the electoral system are proposed.

"Our unanimous recommendations endorse current features of MMP and the absence of unanimity or near-unanimity reinforces the status quo on other issues.

"Improvements the Greens were unsuccessful in achieving include increasing the electorate boundary tolerance to 10 per cent, reducing the representation threshold to 4 per cent, introducing preferential voting for constituency seats, entrenching the Maori seats and key features of MMP, removing political party representatives from the Representation Commission (boundaries) and the Electoral Commission (broadcasting funding), combining the four existing electoral bodies into one, and modernising state funding of political parties.

"However my biggest disappointments were the refusal of NZ First to take their seat at the committee table and their failure to make a submission," said Mr Donald.

"It makes me really angry that the party and politicians which did more to discredit MMP than anyone or anything shirked their obligation to repair the damage they caused," he said.

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