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Likely Rerun of 1993 MMP Vs FPP Referendum

For Immediate Release
Thursday 12th November 2009

Likely Rerun of 1993 MMP Vs FPP Referendum

* Very early indications show that the likely opponent for any run off referendum against MMP will be First Past the Post.

Opinion wasn’t particularly clear on the alternatives to MMP but when given the most talked about options 29% of New Zealanders went for FPP, 20% for STV and only 9% for Prime Minister, John Key’s favoured supplementary mixed member.

Given the closeness of FPP and SM it is probable that support for SM would collapse to FPP. Opponents of proportional representation would hardly look forward to a run-off between MMP and STV.

41% are currently unsure or did not know enough to choose between the three options provided.

* It is likely to be a very close contest on whether there is second referendum at all.

This UMR survey using the proposed referendum wording showed 48% in favour of keeping the MMP system and 40% in favour changing it.

This is a more comfortable result for MMP than the recent Herald survey which showed 36% in support of MMP and 49% wanting a change.

Males (46%) were much more in favour of changing the system than females (34%), older voters were more in favour of changing than younger voters. Amongst under 30 year olds only 19% favoured changing MMP and amongst over 60 year olds 58% did.

National voters (50%) were more in favour of changing MMP than Labour voters (31%) and Green voters (5%).

* A majority (60% to 32%) did not favour holding a referendum at all when told it would cost an estimated $20 million.

* Rating of the performance of MMP across ten counts showed that successes for MMP are seen to be:

- getting more Māori MPs into Parliament;
- ensuring more consultation and co-operation between political parties;
- ensuring Parliament is more representative of all New Zealanders.

There are modest ratings for MMP on:

- making MPs listen to voters more;
- making it harder for parties to break their election promises;
- fostering a sense of national unity;
- ensuring sound economic policies.

* Supporters for MMP would, however, take heart that rating of the performance of MMP has mostly improved in the last nine years.

On the ten performance counts UMR tested for the Select Committee reviewing MMP in 2000, the rating has improved for eight.

The most marked improvements are for:

- providing stable Government (+20%);
- ensuring more consultation and co-operation between political parties (+13%);
- fostering a sense of national unity (+12%);
- ensuring sound economic policies (+9%);
- making it harder for parties to break their election promises (+8%);
- making MPs listen to voters more (+7%).

There was no change on the rating on getting more Māori MPs into parliament.

The one rating that perhaps surprisingly had slipped was getting more women MPs into parliament (-11%).

* There has been little improvement in declared knowledge of MMP since 2000.

In the survey for the Select Committee reviewing MMP, 65% of New Zealanders declared they knew a lot or a fair amount about MMP. In 2009, 64% declared they know a lot or a fair amount.

MMP Referendum Survey Results With Graphs - Nov 09 (pdf)

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