Our November election ballots will include a referendum choice on the MMP voting system.
Proponents of change argue for a system that provides more direct accountability and certainty to voters. Proponents of MMP argue it yields a parliamentary outcome that more accurately reflects New Zealand’s diversity. They’ve organised a debate with both sides well represented, to be chaired by Lawrence Yule, this Sunday at the Clive Hall.
Here’s a message from Regional Councillor Liz Remmerswaal …
“The Blossom Parade last weekend brought back a reminder of the joys of growing up in the proud ‘Fruitbowl of New Zealand’ in the ’60s and ’70s. While blossom thinning on the family orchard at Longlands, I used to fantasize about being crowned blossom queen (and then becoming an air hostess, of course).
But like parliament today, this year’s blossom parade had little resemblance to the ones of my girlhood. Saturday’s explosion of colourful floats and many different nations was a far cry from the more staid floats of our old department stores and the Apple and Pear Board.
It’s a bit like MMP (Mixed Member Proportional), the current voting system in parliament brought in circa 1996, giving us one electorate vote and one party vote, and subject of a referendum in the election this year.
MMP has brought diversity into parliament so it looks like New Zealand in the new millennium. The first past the post system of yesteryear made for a very homogenous parliament in contrast to that of today with its combination of women, young people, gays, Maori, Pacific and Asian representatives.
Celebrating women’s suffrage day this week brought home the fact that MMP has delivered 10% more women to parliament than before. It’s not that women aren’t elected on their merits, but that the list selection allows for more of a gender balance to be achieved, such as in the Green party.
Every party vote counts, because they determine the composition of parties in parliament, once they reach a threshold of 5%.
This year’s referendum provides for a review of MMP if you vote to keep it, and it is well understood that a tweak of MMP is long overdue, for example to get rid of ‘waka jumping’, when a person leaves their party but retains their seat.
This Sunday night sees a debate between the two national spokespeople for and against MMP at Clive Hall at 7.00pm.
There will be a cross party forum with discussion from available election candidates, followed by refreshments.
The evening will be chaired by Mayor Lawrence Yule. Entrance is by koha.
Come along for an interesting evening on the future of our democracy!”
Campaign for MMP HB