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MMP attacked by Clark and Key's refusal to front

28 September 2008

MMP attacked by Clark and Key's refusal to front: Greens

The collaboration of Helen Clark and John Key to refuse to share a TV platform with other party leaders is extreme arrogance and signals the start of a major attack to undermine MMP, says the Green Party.

"Key has made it clear he does not support MMP and wants a referendum to overturn it. Clark has made noises supportive of MMP recently, but was a strong opponent in the 1990s, and this move shows where she really stands," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"MMP has brought much greater diversity to Parliament. Only in 1996, the first MMP election, did we have women and Maori represented in reasonable numbers. Since then there have been representatives of minority ethnic communities as well."

In the 1996 Parliament, NZ First stopped National selling our power companies, at least until the coalition broke up. The Greens have made numerous changes to government policy without being in government - such as more investment in public transport, a big programme to upgrade cold damp housing, and legislation like the Waste Minimisation Act and bills to protect the pay of young workers and allow workers caring for dependents to negotiate for flexible working hours, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"MMP is about sharing power to better represent what the people voted for. But it is clear that Key and Clark want to go back to 'winner takes all'.

"We don't want a return to the days when 38 percent of the vote gave total power.

"TVNZ and TV3 should not buckle to their ultimatum. They should offer one head-to-head leaders' debate between the two, and one all parties leaders debate, as they did last time.

"If the two old parties can't cope with a bit of democracy they can stay away.

"This is an incredibly important first step to destroying MMP. If they are allowed to get away with it the next thing will be a refusal to advertise in newspapers that accept ads from other parties.

"The election is not theirs to determine. It belongs to the people, and the people have the right to hear from all parties in Parliament."

ENDS

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