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NZ business favours first-past-the-post

14 November 2011

NZ business favours first-past-the-post

Business owners in New Zealand believe that the first-past-the-post voting system would have the most positive impact on the economy, according to the latest research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR).

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed favoured this form of voting system compared with 18% for Mixed Member Proportional representation, 8% for Single Transferable Vote and 4% for Preferential Vote. Ten per cent said they were not concerned by the voting system.

Peter Sherwin, Partner Grant Thornton New Zealand, based in Wellington, said that the findings of the survey were reinforced by comments made by clients on the subject.

“I have discussed this survey with several clients and they were quite unified in their comments and observations. When MMP was first introduced, it was decided that there needed to be an increase in the number of members of Parliament to ensure that MMP worked.

“Unfortunately, the consensus among those that I talked with and other observations indicates that the increase in the number of politicians has not seen a lift in quality. In fact, there is a group of politicians who sit in parliament who are hardly seen. There is also concern, that because of the list system, members get into Parliament who have never had to go through an election.

“And then there are those that come in on the list and midway through a term they change parties,” he said.

Sherwin said that one of the biggest concerns amongst the small to medium sized business owners was the lack of business background and knowledge amongst MPs.

“There are a number of MPs who do not have any business experience, especially those who have spent a life time in employment and have no understanding of the pressures business owners face in operating their business and maintaining employment in this challenging economic environment.

“Thankfully we have a business-friendly government otherwise some business owners believe they may have gone to the wall.”

Sherwin said that a suggestion that came through strongly was that the 5% threshold for list votes was too low.

“There is a belief that this should be up to 10% as a way of possibly limiting the number of inexperienced people who make their way into parliament. The same for parties that might win a seat. For them to be able to bring more people into parliament, they should also need to capture up to 10% of the vote as well,” he said.


The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of over 11,000 businesses per year across 39 economies. This unique survey draws upon 19 years of trend data for most European participants and nine years for many non-European economies. For more information, please visit: www.internationalbusinessreport.com.

Data collection

The research is carried out primarily by telephone interview lasting approximately 15 minutes with the exception of Japan (postal), Philippines and Armenia (face to face), mainland China and India (mixture of face-to-face and telephone) where cultural differences dictate a tailored approach. Telephone interviews enable Grant Thornton International to conduct the exact number of recommended interviews and to be certain that the most appropriate individuals are interviewed in an organisation which meets the profile criteria.

Data collection is managed by Grant Thornton International's core research partner - Experian. Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country

having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. From 2011, fieldwork takes place on a quarterly basis every quarter with fieldwork lasting approximately one month and a half.


IBR is a survey of medium to large privately held businesses*. The data for this release are drawn from interviews with 2,721 businesses across the globe conducted in August/September 2011.

The target respondents are chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives (title dependent on what is most appropriate for the individual country) from 39 economies primarily across five sectors: manufacturing (25 per cent), services (25 per cent), retail (15 per cent) and construction (10 per cent) with the remaining 25 per cent spread across all sectors.

Locally, the sample tends to cover the sectors mentioned previously, with some countries being able to have local valid data for specific sectors or regions when the sample size is large enough.

Group/regionEconomies included in IBR
Asia-Pacific (APAC)Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, China (mainland), Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
BRIC Brazil, Russia, India, China (mainland)
European Union (EU) Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
G7 Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom,

United States of America

Latin America Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico
Nordic Denmark, Finland, Sweden
North AmericaCanada, United States of America
OtherArmenia, Botswana, Georgia, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

*some counties may include a small proportion of listed businesses in their sample when reporting locally.


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