Four Year Term Needs Safeguards
'Business leaders putting out for a four-year Parliamentary term is consistent with their earlier anti-MMP stance,' says electoral commentator Dr Philip Temple. 'Less democratic choice and accountability for the general public. Other parliamentary systems that have four or five year terms all have second houses to second guess the quality of government legislation.'
'The constitutional review will no doubt look at this question. But the introduction of a four-year term should come along with basic safeguards, such as fixed election dates, no possibility for snap elections at the whim of individual prime ministers, and a system of constructive votes of no confidence if a government cannot continue during the fixed term.'
Dr Temple says, 'Any proposed changes to the parliamentary term should be considered in conjunction with changes to MMP that the Electoral Commission will recommend after its review next year. The electoral system and parliamentary term provisions are interlocked. The final proposal must be put to a referendum.'
Dr Philip Temple has been researching and writing about electoral reform issues, both here and overseas, for more than 20 years. He has been given a Wallace Award by the Electoral Commission for his 'significant contribution to public understanding of electoral matters'.