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Final MMP report tabled, recommends major changes

Justice Minister Judith Collins tabled the Electoral Commission’s final report on the MMP voting system in Parliament today.

The Commission conducted the independent review following last November’s referendum on the voting system, in which the majority of voters chose to keep MMP.

The Commission released a list of possible changes in August, and received more than 1000 submissions on the proposals.

In its final report the Electoral Commission has recommended several changes to the MMP system. The main recommendations are:

• lowering the party threshold to 4%- but that this be statutorily reviewed by the Commission after three General Elections

• abolishing the one electorate seat threshold

• abolishing the provision for overhang seats, and

• that Parliament consider fixing the percentage ratio of electorate to list seats at 60:40.

If implemented, the recommendations would change the face of MMP, and threaten the viability of parties like ACT who hope to win a single electorate then get list MPs in on coat-tails.

However, National has been opaque about how it will react to the report, which is non-binding.

Comments and questions

Don't hold your breath for any significant changes;National and Labour are both happy with a system that allows back room deals out of sight of the voters.

Regretable that the commitee has not recommended restricting candidates from standing in both electoral and list seats.

Regrettable also that the committee has not recommended reducing the party vote entitlement threshold to 1 over total number of seats. Any other number is arbitrary. Proportional is proportional. Anyone suggesting a distortion to proportionality is inherently, intrinsically suspect.