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MMP Improvements submission – 2012

March 2012

MMP Improvements.  Submitted by Richard Keller.

Makeup of parliament (proportionality) –  There must be no changes to the fundamental nature of MMP – the party makeup by percentage of the parliament must reflect the percentage of the party vote in the election.  That is, there needs to be enough list members to make that a reality.  The current SI based system has worked OK so far.

Threshold –  The current threshold (5%) is too high.  Small parties represent the variety of views in the electorate and deserve representation.  In a close election their inclusion can better reflect the balance in the political spectrum.  In the current 5% system, some voters will still be tempted to vote “strategically” instead of voting for their actual preferred party.  Reducing the threshold will bring the claim for MMP of ‘making everyone’s vote count’ closer to a reality.  Perhaps a threshold percentage resulting in 3 MPs (2.5%) would be best.

(Note that voter ranking of parties would allow those who fear their preferred party might not make the threshold on first preference votes the chance of indicating a secondary choice of a party which might make the threshold.)

Candidate selection

Method of electorate candidate selection – Members of political parties know their candidate pool better than non-members.  Members of political parties should be the ones selecting the electorate candidate.

Method of list makeup – Members of political parties know their candidate pool better than non-members.  Members of political parties should be the ones selecting the party list.

Electorate / List candidates – There should be no restriction on a candidate running for an electorate position and also being a list candidate.  (The arguments for such restriction seem to me simply to reflect a dislike of MMP.)

By-elections – There should be no restriction on a list MP running for an electorate position in a by-election.  (Again, the arguments for such restriction seem to me simply to reflect a dislike of MMP.)

‘Overhang’

This is not a major issue.  Any of the proposed alternatives is OK.  My preference is to add list MPs to keep proportionality.

Richard Keller

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