Choose Your Political Poison

Choose Your Political Poison

The 58% have spoken, and the MMP voting system is here to stay. But several key aspects of the system are up for review, and the Electoral Commission is calling for submissions from the public. Some of the issues you can give your two cents on include:
  1. The threshold for a party to get into Parliament – Currently, parties need at least 5% to qualify. Should the threshold be higher, lower, or abolished altogether?

  2. The “second chance” threshold – Right now, if you win an electorate seat, your party can laugh disdainfully at the 5% threshold and stroll right into Parliament. ACT and United Future love this rule. Do you?

Disappointingly, Parliament has specifically ruled out any changes to the two aspects that everyone has an opinion on – whether there should be fewer MPs in Parliament, and whether to keep the Maori seats.

The Electoral Commission will genuinely read all public submissions, and you can even speak to them in person at a public hearing if you get your submission in by 5 April. At the end of October, the Commission will present its final recommendations to Parliament.

Now for the bad news. Parliament has a bad habit of ignoring these sorts of recommendations as resolutely as if they were Facebook posts from Margi McMurdo-Reading. Electoral rules are life-or-death for political parties, and each party has its own survival to think about: NZ First will want the 5% threshold lowered to increase their future chances, while National and Labour won’t be too keen on any changes that would reduce their dominance over the minor parties.

But let’s not be too cynical. There are lots of issues on the table, and Parliament will almost certainly make at least some changes. Go on, make a submission. Just visit the surprisingly user-friendly website, and get yo’ democracy on.
This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2012.
Posted 4:53pm Sunday 4th March 2012 by Callum Fredric.