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More MMP Education Will Be Needed--Commission

Media Statement

26 September 1999


For immediate release:

MORE MMP EDUCATION WILL BE NEEDED--COMMISSION

The Electoral Commission said today that a considerable effort will be needed to improve voters’ understanding of the MMP electoral system before they go to the polls on 27 November.


The Commission’s Chief Executive, Dr Paul Harris, said that the Commission would carry out a further public education campaign before election day to remind New Zealanders of the basic features of MMP.


Dr Harris said research had shown there had been a big decline in public knowledge of key aspects of MMP since the 1996 election. This meant the Commission could not rely on residual levels of knowledge from the last election, even on fundamental aspects of the electoral system.


The research showed that New Zealanders’ knowledge that there are two votes under MMP had dropped from 76 percent at the end of 1997 to 61 percent at the end of 1998; and that knowledge that the party vote is more important in deciding the number of MPs each party will have in Parliament had fallen from 55 percent to 43 percent over the same period.


The research also showed that certain groups in the population had below average understanding of MMP. Dr Harris noted, for example, that at the end of 1998, only 53 percent of women knew that they have two votes under MMP whereas 70 percent of men were aware of this fact.


He said the Commission’s education campaign would include television, radio and newspaper advertisements, direct marketing, the widespread distribution of information pamphlets in English and other languages through PostShops and other outlets, and a freephone service, 0800 800 610, to enable electors to ask questions about MMP and to request material to be mailed to them.


ENDS


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