Essay on Nz Constitution

Submitted By laurenedney
Words: 1636
Pages: 7

New Zealand’s first election using the Mixed Member Proportional system was in 1996. (Wikipedia, 2013). Since then we have continued to use this system, as it has been effective in providing proportion and diversity in Parliament, to reflect our nations votes. However the Electoral Commission must review the system to recommend how they think it can be improved and adjusted to make the system effective as possible. In the 2009 review the most major recommendation made to the minister of justice was the abolishment of the one seat threshold. This essay will review and summarise the report made by the Electoral Commission, then explain reasons for and against the abolishment of the one seat threshold, and then I will share my opinion on whether think it should be abolished or retained. Though many people, both public of New Zealand, and Members of Parliament, still support the one seat threshold overall the abolishment of the one seat will improve our electoral system by making it more efficient and effective.

The report of the Electoral Commission on the review of the mixed member proportional voting system discusses changes where the Electoral Commission have evaluated the current system and noted some possible changes. The most major change suggested to improve our current electoral system reported to the minister of justice is the abolishment of the one electorate seat threshold. It also discusses lowering the party vote threshold from five percent to four percent, as lowering the threshold would not affect stability in Parliament, also abolishing the overhanging seats if the one seat threshold is abolished. The report suggests that this would also have minimal impact on the proportionality of Parliament as parties who win their electorate seats would still receive those seats.

The Electoral Commission also states that parties should continue to make the selection of candidates, and candidates should be able to stand for both an electorate seat and be on a party list at a general election; as they can do currently. Maintaining diversification and equal representation to keep the electoral system proportional is vital to the system each party’s share of seats should be kept proportional to reflect the nations votes. Any changes that should be made should not affect this and therefor the commission also suggests to fixing the ratio of list seats to electorate seats at 60:40 so as the population changes, list seats would increase in proportion to the ratio. Things they feel should be retained is dual candidacy as it “enriches New Zealand’s system of MMP and should be retained.”(Electoral Commission, 2012). Also by-elections should be left the same, as there has never been a successive list member of parliament yet in a by-election. The report also states that if there recommendations are implemented they should not affect the nature of the voting system as it stands today and the fundamentals of the system shall remain the same. They however are important and do require legislation but do not feel that a referendum would be needed to make the changes.( Electoral Commission, 2012).

The current electoral system today has a party vote threshold of five percent. If in a general election a party does not meet this requirement it gets no seats allocated to them in Parliament. However if a candidate from that party wins an electorate seat it will get that seat in Parliament, and also the percentage of party votes they received. Abolishment of the one seat threshold would mean that even if a party did get an electorate vote but did not reach the party vote threshold, it would only receive the electorate seat in Parliament. The one seat threshold increases the proportionality of our Parliament, and after all that is the most important characteristic of our whole electoral system. It makes it easier for smaller parties to have representation in Parliament, it also it makes the workload to be shared around more easy. It