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National blocked changes to MMP

15 May 2013

National blocked changes to MMP

The National Government had the numbers to pass MMP changes with Green Party support but chose not to out of self-interest, the Green Party said today.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Judith Collins ruled out implementing changes to MMP recommended by the Electoral Commission and this morning she said it was because she didn’t have the numbers.

She told Radio New Zealand: "Law changes in this country require 61 votes to get through Parliament. I don't have 61 votes to bring forward the law changes suggested by the Electoral Commission. It's as simple as that."

“With just Green and National Party support the changes would have flown through with 73 votes,” Green Party electoral reform spokesperson Holly Walker said.

Labour Leader David Shearer has subsequently indicated his party would support implementing the recommendations as a package which would have given such a bill an overwhelming majority in the House.

“There was strong public support for these changes which include removing the hugely unpopular coat-tailing provision that has in the past allowed National to do dirty deals with John Banks and Peter Dunne,” Ms Walker said.

“77 percent of the public submissions to the MMP review, and 52 percent of the general public, support scrapping the one-seat rule. The Government should listen to the public, not its political allies, and get rid of this unpopular provision.

“The Minister wants to gerrymander the system so that National don’t lose their coalition partners and can rely on ACT and United Future at the next election.

“No real attempt to reach out to other parties was made. Consultation with the Green Party comprised of a letter sent when the Electoral Commission report was released suggesting a collaborative process would be good and then one other letter five months later seeking party views.

“That’s not a genuine attempt to seek consensus. The reality is National didn’t want to get other parties to reach an agreement because it doesn’t want the changes made.

“The whole process has been a pretence, despite the fact that it was designed by this National Government. The public voted to retain MMP and improve it, but there was never any Government will to improve MMP. The Minister just wanted to look like she was trying.

“National has blocked improvements to MMP that would be in the interests of all New Zealanders. It is working for the interests of a few parties in the next election, not the long-term interests of the public to have the best possible electoral system”

Click here to read the Green Party's response to Judith Collins.


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