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New Zealanders Want the MMP One-seat Exemption Dropped

12 December 2013

New Zealanders Want the MMP One-seat Exemption Dropped

A poll released today by UMR Research shows a clear majority against keeping the one-seat exemption.

• Under New Zealand’s MMP system, parties that win an electorate seat are entitled to additional list seats even if they do not get 5% of the vote.
• 71% of New Zealanders think that the exemption should be dropped.
• 13% want it kept, while the remaining 16% are unsure.

Opposition to the one-seat exemption is consistent across all demographics:

• 75% of National voters want the exemption dropped, as do 76% of Labour voters and 65% of Green voters.
• 68% of Auckland voters oppose the exemption, as do 74% of Wellingtonians, 74% of those living in other parts of the North Island, 71% of Christchurch residents and 71% of those living in other parts of the South Island.
• Under 30s are the least opposed to the exemption, but even then 55% want it dropped. 83% of over 60s want the exemption dropped, as do 77% of 45-59 year olds and 69% of 30-44 year olds.

UMR Research Director Gavin White said, “the fact that National voters and Aucklanders are generally opposed to the exemption is significant, as recent speculation has focussed on National doing deals to help potential coalition partners win Auckland seats. The original intention of the one-seat exemption was to allow representation for parties that could prove they have appeal to a specific geographic area – these numbers indicate that either the public do not value this intention, or that they do not feel that that is how the exemption has been used.”

Results are from questions included in the UMR Telephone Omnibus Survey which was conducted 28th November to 2nd December 2013. It has a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders 18 years and over. The margin of error for a 50% figure at the ‘95% confidence level’ is +/- 3.6%.

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