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The campaign billboards go up!

Rt Hon Jenny Shipley Leader of Opposition

Thursday 4 October 2001

The campaign billboards go up!

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley today launched National's 'Demand a Say on MMP' campaign by unveiling a billboard in Wellington with the help of members of the public and other National MPs. The billboard will be appearing in other major centres over the next six weeks.

"Many New Zealanders want their say and Helen Clark is not listening," Mrs Shipley said.

"Prior to the 1999 election and at the MMP review committee, National demanded the right for the public to have its say. Despite pre-election promises by Helen Clark for referenda on ending MMP if the parliamentary review of the electoral system found a strong public mood for change, she has ignored the people.

"Research commissioned by National shows men and women of all ages, all income groups, and across the whole political spectrum want another referendum on MMP*. National's Electoral Options Referenda Bill will give people a say but this Bill won't be debated in Parliament for some time. That's why we've kicked off this campaign.

"All New Zealanders who want another chance to vote on the electoral system must lobby their MP and demand the right to have a say.

"With little more than a year till the next election, National is signalling its intention that electoral reform will be an issue for the election. These are the first billboards to go up for the 2002 election campaign."

Polling commissioned by the committee showed 76% of voters want a new referendum on the electoral system. An Evening Post telephone poll on 10 August this year found 82.8% of people surveyed supported a referendum on MMP. According to UMR Insight, on only two occasions since October 1996 have more people preferred MMP to FPP.

"Poll after poll shows New Zealanders want to vote again on MMP but all of the committee, except for National members, ruled out a public referendum on the electoral system. Despite these polls, Helen Clark has dismissed the issue saying there's not enough heat in it.

"The 1999 Citizens Initiated Referendum (from the Robertson petition) on the number of MPs in Parliament sent an overwhelming message to the Government that New Zealanders wanted fewer MPs - a message that has been ignored.

"National's campaign is a call for New Zealanders to stand up for their democratic right and demand a say on the electoral system," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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