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Canadian Green Leader Takes A Look At MMP In NZ

It's a scenario familiar enough to New Zealand voters with memories beyond the last two elections: 42% of electors cast their vote for parties that end up with just two - out of 79 - MPs in parliament.

The recent experience of British Columbia's first past the post election has led Adriane Carr, leader of the BC Green Party which took 12.5% of the vote - but no seats, out to New Zealand to see for herself how proportional representation works.

Adriane, who co-founded the British Columbia Green Party in 1983, is here as a guest of the New Zealand Greens.

"Many people in the NZ Greens were key activists in the campaign for MMP in this country," said Green Party co-leader Rod Donald, "and we're more than happy to share our experiences.

"The result of the latest British Columbia election is a classic example of the distorted outcomes that first past the post can deliver."

The lop-sided winner of last year's BC election was the Liberal Party, taking 77 of the 79 seats with just 58% of the vote. The province's former governing New Democratic Party won 22% and ended up with just two seats.

The result has led Adriane Carr to undertake a Citizens Initiative for the adoption of proportional representation, which would require the government to consider accepting the legislation she has proposed.

She is meeting with Green MPs the Electoral Commission and electoral reform campaigners during her stay in New Zealand. Adriane will be in Wellington on 22nd January and will attend the Green Party's Summer policy conference in the Coromandel, from 25th-27th January.

For more about Adriane Carr and the BC Greens see: http://www.greenparty.bc.ca

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