Review of MMP submission

I was really delighed that New Zealanders voted to retain MMP at the election in November 2011.  MMP has resulted in a far more representative parliament and a stronger democracy. A review is currently underway to improve the way MMP works. Submissions can be made until 31 May 2012.

I’ve done a quick submission on a number of areas that the Electoral Commission must review:

The 5 per cent party vote threshold for a party to be eligible for allocation of list seats.

I support the lowering of the party vote threshold to 4% or below to compensate for the abolition of the one electorate seat threshold

The one electorate seat threshold for a party to be eligible for allocation of list seats.

The one seat electorate threshold should be abolished with a consequent lowering of the percentage of the party vote threshold. I support this because it is more consistent with the proportional nature of MMP and means everyone’s vote count, no matter where they live in New Zealand.

The effect of a party’s candidates winning more seats than the party would be entitled to as a result of the party vote on the ratio of electorate seats to list seats.

I agree with maintaining the status quo, so that an overhang is allowed. Changing the status quo will not resolve any issue of unfairness to parties or proportionality.

The capacity of a person to be both a constituency candidate and list candidate.

I agree with maintaining the status quo, so that dual candidacy is kept

Dual candidacy ensures greater gender and ethnic representation. The number of women candidates is declining (from 29% in 2008 to 28% in 2011) the creation of two mutually exclusive pools will require more women and a greater rate of attrition in both pools. The abolition may have the unintended effect of reducing the diversity of Parliament. Denying dual candidacy could drastically reduce the calibre of candidates standing for seats they are unlikely to win, short- changing voters as a result. If there was an unexpected swing to a Party, low calibre electorate candidates for that Party would be elected at the expense of higher calibre and more diverse list candidates.

The capacity of a list MP to stand as a candidate in a by-election

Maintain the status quo, allow List MPs to contest by-elections. There appears to be no reason why a list MP should not stand in a by-election.