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Elections New Zealand: Adoption of MMP

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    In 2011 a Referendum was held in conjunction with the general election, the results of this clearly showed that the majority of the population agree with PM as their current voting system. A minority was unhappy with PM and as a result, a review of PM and the ways it can be improved to suit a larger majority of the population is being carried out. I think that the current voting system of PM provides a well balanced approach to voting and represents the minorities more proportionately then APP (First Past the Post), encompassing more accurately the views of the country as a whole.

    While PM works well for New Zealand, many people have opposing views and this Is why the review Is happening. In early 1985 the Royal Commission began to investigate the New Sealant’s electoral problems and seek a solution. The investigation analyzed the current APP system in relation to the Royal Commission’s 10 criteria and was completed in December 1986. The report’s findings were considerably strong backing for a change in the voting system, citing the German-style PM system as a viable solution.

    The PM system allows each elector two votes instead of one, one vote for their favored parliamentary party and one for an electorate PM. The findings of the referendum in 1993 showed a sire for change from the current APP voting system. The want for electoral reform began In 1950 due to a decrease in political and parliamentary trust. The movement gained backing In the sass’s and sass’s as national and International economic uncertainty Increased due to the global depression. Increased criticism of the APP system occurred after the 1978 and 1981 elections as the system did not accurately represent the views of the population.

    On both occasions the Labor party secured more votes then National party while National still remained in government and won more electoral seats. The APP system encourages formation of strong single party governments, these don’t often encompass the views of the minor parties and they were often excluded altogether. For example the New Zealand Party won 12% of votes in 1984 and received no parliamentary seats. In contrast, the PM system was shown to be generally more effective and supportive to a more diverse government.

    The PM system allows minor parties to gain electorate seats as long as they surpass the 5% minimum votes threshold, this means that an PM elected parliament Is likely to have a much more diverse range of Amps and to share the power with smaller parties tit representation appropriate to the level of public vote. Of PM. One of the main reasons was for fairness between different political parties. These people wanted the number of votes a political party received to proportionally reflect the number of seats they gained in parliament.

    This resulted in a more diverse representation of people in power. Another reason that people favored PM Nas because it created a coalition government that more effectively represented ethnic groups, socio-economic classes, and other minorities. As a result the 1996 parliament was a much more varied and accurate representation of modern society. Parliamentary diversity has continued to increase with each election, with the 2006 parliament containing 39 women, 21 Maori, 4 Pacific Islanders and 2 Asian Amps among the 121 Amps (Elections New Zealand, 2006).

    I support a more diverse parliamentary makeup as it proportionately reflects public vote and helps represent minorities. Diversity in parliament is important and PM encourages different ethnic groups, sexual minorities and different genders in parliament. For example in the last APP election in 1993 21% of parliament was female, the introduction of PM in the 996 election led to an increase in female parliamentary seats to 29%. Maori representation in parliament has also increased and was at 17% in 2011.

    This Information supports the view that a coalition government is more effective than a single party government as it brings together the different views of the various parliamentary parties into one conclusive position. Although the majority of the population agreed the PM system is more effective there were still many people with critical views against PM, as they believed that the New Zealand government was ineffective with this system. These people believed hat the PM electoral system was expensive, time consuming and provided less definitive opinions.

    A major issue is outlined by the 2009 Anti-Smacking Bill presented by the Green Party PM Sue Bradford, this bill embodies the saying “tail Nagging the dog”. The saying refers to minor government parties having an amount of power disproportional to their level of public vote. Another reason for criticism is because of the coalition government, two parties have to cooperate together to make decision. This caused parliaments decision-making speed to decrease as it took more time and effort for parties to reach a conclusion together.

    The PM government is traditionally slower to pass bills however, the Christopher Earthquake Recovery bill in February 2011 was passed overnight. This shows that PM can still Nor efficiently and effectively when necessary. As stated in the paragraphs above, there were many pros and cons relating to the adoption of the PM system. The majority of people believed PM accurately represented minority parties and was a more true reflection of the public vote. These people were also in favor of coalition government as they saw it as beneficial for parties to share ideas and theories before coming to a definitive decision.

    In contrast here was also strong public opinion against PM citing the fact that too many parties caused slowed down passing of legislation and bills, and as a result used time inefficiently as opposed to the APP system, which they believed to be decisive and efficient. Election on the 26th of November gave voters a chance to replace the current PM system. The majority of voters voted in favor of keeping the PM system. The Electoral Commission was required to undergo an independent review of the PM system that focuses on how it could be improved.

    This meant public could have their say on changes in the way they would like to see PM work. One issue that personally interests me is the one-electorate seat threshold for a party to be eligible for allocation of list seats. In the current PM system, the Electoral Commission Norse the votes of any party that fails to reach the 5% party vote threshold but if the party is successful in winning at least one electorate seat then they are eligible for allocation of list seats. The party is then eligible for their proportional number of seats subject to their share of the party vote.

    A prime example of this was the 2005 Election, where out of the eight parties selected to represent parliament only four ad reached the 5% minimum threshold. The other four parties were still eligible for their allocation of list seats because they had won at least one electorate seat, if the one electorate seat requirement didn’t exist these parties would not have been represented in parliament. I believe that this should remain unchanged because if a party wins enough votes to govern their electorate then they represent the views of the majority of their electorate and this should be sufficient to earn them a seat in parliament.

    I also believe this helps to encourage diversity in the governments views ND opinions, resulting in a government that better reflects the cultural, political and ethnic diversity that represents NZ. Ere 5% party vote threshold for parties to be eligible for allocation of list seats is another part of PM under review. This threshold represents the minimum level of support a party needs to gain parliamentary representation. This threshold is currently in place to effectively govern new parties establishment in parliament Introit discouraging emerging political forces.

    The Royal Commission considered other lower thresholds and even no threshold at all but came to the conclusion that if he threshold were to low or if there was no threshold at all government effectiveness Mould be severely limited. The Royal commission also believes the 5% threshold may be too large of a hurdle for new and emerging political forces which is why it is under review. The Electoral Reform Bill in 1993 originally set a 4% party vote threshold but then decided upon a 5% threshold, as this seemed appropriate and was the traditional German level.

    I think that if the threshold was any lower than 5% parliamentary access would become all to attainable and government would become too divided on issues and become inefficient at making decisions. If the threshold Newer nonexistent then there would be nothing to stop parody parties such as the Bill and Ben Party from being represented in parliament as they received 0. 56% of votes cast in the 2008 election, the ninth highest number of votes in that election.

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