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Hawkes Bay MMP Referendum presentation

media release on Hawkes Bay MMP Referendum presentation


On Monday night, over forty people heard Therese Arseneau, Senior fellow in the school of Political Science and Communication at Canterbury University speak in the Napier City Council chambers on the MMP referendum in the General Election on 26 November. She and fellow political commentator Nigel Roberts are travelling around the country on behalf of the Electoral Commission to explain the options available in the referendum, which include a yes-no option on keeping MMP, and a further choice of other preferred electoral systems.

Therese described the Toolkit on wwwelection.org.nz which provides voters with a tool to help determine which voting system would best suit their preferences. The toolkit takes into account key factors such as accountability, proportionality, representation, effective government, effective Parliament, and enables voters to test which system best suits their values.

She stressed that if a majority of voters choose to keep MMP, the legislation has specified that there will be an independent review which will enable a fine-tuning of MMP. Issues like whether a candidate can stand as both electorate and as a list MP, and the threshold that parties must meet for a share of the seats will be considered in this review. The number of seats in Parliament (120) and the Maori seats are not part of the referendum.

Therese presented examples of different electoral systems now operating in different countries. MMP, she said, was considered the "Rolls Royce of proportional systems," with many new democracies adopting it as their preferred electoral system.

Keep MMP Hawke's Bay co-convenor Maxine Boag said that the examples given clearly show that MMP is the only truly proportional and therefore fair system. "Of all systems considered, MMP is head and shoulders above the rest because the proportion of votes given to each party is exactly the same as the proportion of seats each gets in Parliament."

The only other system with a party list vote is Supplementary Member, with 90 electorate seats and 30 List seats. "The difference is that if a party gets ten per cent of the list votes under SM, they get ten per cent of 30 seats, which is three seats; and under MMP ten per cent of the party vote translates into ten per cent of 120 seats or 12 seats.

"Basically the Supplementary Member system is First Past the Post with lipstick. Like FPP, it favours the big parties and takes away the proportionality MMP allows.

"MMP needs some tweaking, and if the majority of voters agree to keep it, the review outlined in the legislation will enable that to happen," Maxine said.

end

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