Costly MMP referendum has support

The Government's decision to give voters another say on MMP could cost $23 million but opposition parties are backing it.

Justice Minister Simon Power announced yesterday the first referendum would be held at the same time as the 2011 general election and ask voters whether they wanted to retain MMP.

If they don't they can choose another system from a list of alternatives.

If a majority don't want to retain MMP there will be a second referendum at the same time as the 2014 general election.

The second referendum will be binding and will run off MMP against the alternative that gained the most votes in the first referendum.

Mr Power said the cost of holding both was about $23 million and the Government was also going to put "significant resources" into publicity campaigns explaining the alternative systems.

"There's no doubt in my mind that a 'social contract' existed at the time MMP was brought in, to the extent that people would have another opportunity to have another say," he told NZPA.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government had proved the system was working well.

"But we promised New Zealanders on the campaign trail they would have an opportunity to kick the tyres."

Labour leader Phil Goff said it was appropriate after having MMP in place for nearly 15 years.

"If we are going to get any constitutional change, then it needs to be approved by a binding referendum," he said.

The Greens also agreed with testing the electoral system and that there should be a choice between MMP and a specific alternative.

Co-leader Metiria Turei had concerns about the wording of the questions and said it should be an independent process with public input.

ACT leader Rodney Hide and United Future leader Peter Dunne also backed the exercise.

Mr Dunne said it was overdue and he would have preferred a referendum next year.

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6 Comments & Questions

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Why so long for a perusual on our voting system ,i recall the MMP system was virtually fast-tracked ,Ask the man called Bolger,seems to me Bolger thought we could as voters spot the difference between FPP,and MMP,Key seems to think it should be tip toe into a decision steady, steady ,steady YAWN .

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The only reason MMP is working well this time around is that for the first time since it was instigated we a mature prime minister. The low likelihood of having another PM of Key's maturity will cause me to consider the other offerings

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It doesn't take the waste of milions of dollars to know that we want FPP back. The most pleasing and attractive result being that that a whole bunch of list bludgers will no longer foul the political landscape and will be added to the doll queues.

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Why on earth would you want FPP back. The whole reason why the electoral system changed was due to misrepresentation. On multiple occasions both National and Labour Governments ruled without a popular mandate, hence the reason for proportionate representation. I agree that MMP needs some work, but going back to the days of FFP are hopefully well behind us. They only group that FPP benefits are the two major parties, National and Labour. MMP, or an equivalent, shows proportionately who we voted for, FPP does not. Since MMP came in, other than the first MMP govt', all have been fairly stable and goes to show how it can work succesfully. Were we to go back to the days of FPP then we will see a lot more laws that people don't loke, we will see a lot more changes to laws when a new govt' is elected. I cant be bothered with it. Proportianate representation all the way.

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@BURRGLAR dont you mean dole queues?Maybe.

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@BURRGLAR dont you mean dole queues?Maybe.

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