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National may be sticking point over voting changes

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Latest Political News | Tuesday November 6 2012 10:11

National may be sticking point over voting changes


National may be the sticking point when it comes to changing our voting system.

The Justice Minister is considering the Electoral Commission's report on an overhaul of MMP and is promising to work with other parties on that.

Among other things, it suggests lowering the threshold for parliament to four percent.

The Prime Minister says National's view is five percent is the appropriate level.

But he points out New Zealand First feel the same way, and that's one of the parties that could benefit from a lower threshold.

Constitutional lawyer Jordan Williams says New Zealanders voted to keep MMP with the expectation that a review would result in improvements.

He says instead, the recommendations would create a MMP on steroids where small parties would have a disproportionate balance of power.

Meanwhile MMP supporters are happy with recommendations to change the system.

In its MMP system review, the Electoral Commission has suggested lowering the party vote threshold from five to four percent, and doing away with the one seat threshold.

Critics have slammed the recommendations, because it'll see smaller parties holding more power.

But Campaign for MMP spokeswoman Sandra Grey says it'll make little difference.

"Because we're getting rid of the one seat threshold. So, actually it will probably be a very similar looking parliament if these recommendations are accepted by the government."

Ms Grey supports the recommendations, and hopes those in the House do, too.

"We think it's very good to have cross party support for any changes, and so we think it's a very good approach."

Photo: Edward Swift

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