The Electoral Commission have kicked off their review of the MMP voting system. They have a launched a very good website, where you can make a full electronic submission, or a quick 5 minute submission. I’d encourage everyone to take a look and have their views known.
Under law, the review must consider the following issues…
- What thresholds parties should have to cross to qualify for an allocation of list seats in Parliament,
- Whether list MPs should be able to stand as candidates in a by-election,
- Whether a person should be able to stand as a candidate both for an electorate seat and on a party list,
- Whether voters or political parties should decide the order of candidates on a party list,
- What should happen when a party wins more electorate seats than it would be entitled to under its share of the party vote,
- The effects of population growth on the ratio of electorate seats to list seats, and
- Other matters referred to the Commission by the Minister of Justice, Parliament, or raised by members of the public.
There is some very interesting stuff in there. Take the fourth point for example: “Whether voters or political parties should decide the order of candidates on a party list” – this would be a HUGE change to our political system, and in effect would force open primaries for political parties.
I’m going to give some thought to these issues, and will probably post my submission, or some form of it, on The Progress Report sometime soon.
The review is also specifically excluded from looking at:
- The number of MPs.
- Māori representation.
Which would both be cans of worms for the Government. Let’s not forget that in 1999 a referendum to reduce the number of MPs to 99 gained 81% support. Barbara Stewart, who is once again MP, led the charge via a Private Members Bill to make it a reality. It will be interesting to see if New Zealand First takes up this issue once again.