NZ MMP referendum–how independent from the government?

An editorial in the NZ Herald expresses concern that the process for public reconsideration of MMP is too protracted and not sufficiently independent from the cabinet. Although the Prime Minister states that he has no preferred outcome, he has in the past been sympathetic to MMM (or “supplementary member” in NZ terminology).

The editorial cites a recent poll that suggests a close race: 45% want to keep MMP, 42% to replace it, and 13% undecided.

8 thoughts on “NZ MMP referendum–how independent from the government?

  1. The most important question may be: in the first referendum, will the alternative to MMP be picked by the Alternative Vote (preferential ballot) or by first-past-the-post?

  2. A smacking good idea: “Systèmes Mixtes Avec Compensation (SMAC)” is the term for MMP used by the Director-General of Elections in Quebec. Not quite as catchy as the German “personalisierte Verhältniswahl” (personalized proportional representation), but more descriptive and less cryptic than MMP.

    The DGE’s report of December 2007 is in the news now that Quebec’s lone Solidarity MNA, Dr. Amir Khadir of Québec Solidaire, managed to get unanimous consent in Quebec’s National Assembly last week for a motion that the Government “take account in its proposed reform of the Electoral Act the commitments of all political parties represented in the National Assembly to ensure a fair representation of political pluralism.” The Liberal government, which had previously gotten as far as a draft SMAC bill, last week pledged “We want a proportional voting system, we must specify which method of proportional representation we put forward. . . He has raised the debate, the issue is not dead, the issue is evolving, the question is before us, the issue moves forward. All political parties have already supported a form of proportional representation, but have not yet determined how, what kind.” When the debate was interrupted by the government losing its majority in March 2007, the Special Committee was undecided between regional SMAC or province-wide SMAC with regional distribution.

  3. Referendum details announced. Boring, disappointing but as expected.

    If MMP is retained, then a formal review and public consultation process on MMP will happen.

  4. New poll, questions per 2011 referendum, with one regarding changes to MMP system added.

    Normal poor standard of reporting,
    “Reverting to the previous first past the post system was supported by 37 per cent.” is almost true, but misleading. It’s the support for FPTP vs other non-MMP systems (in response to the second question, to select the system to run against MMP if the 2014 referendum happens), with a undecided vote of 29%.

    Full poll details at

    Realistically, as a STV supporter, I’ll vote against change in the first question, because the 2014 question will be MMP vs FPTP.

  5. Can someone clarify… NZ has a relatively generous CIR provision (10% of enrolled voters, but that’s just under 300,000). Wikipedia says that half a dozen or so proposals to change MMP – either adopting STV or reducing the number of List MPs – have been officially “nominated” since 1993, but all have either lapsed or been withdrawn. Why hasn’t the Key Govt said: “Look, if there really was public desire to revert to FPTP or progress to STV, someone would have rustled up 300,000 signatures for it”?

  6. A referendum on the electoral system was a specific election promise by National. As Labour’s campaign was basically “You can’t trust that dodgy John Key fella”, National is keeping such promises.
    You’re also assuming that the Key Government doesn’t want change.
    Also, there isn’t a strong culture of CIRs, and they aren’t binding.

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