Positive signals on MMP referendum process

Campaign for MMP has welcomed positive signals from the Justice Minister about a fair process in next year’s MMP referendum, but says spending caps are still needed.

At a Wellington conference yesterday Simon Power confirmed that referendums will be run alongside the general election to maximise voter turnout, that there will be a full education campaign, and that voters will be clearly informed about how to achieve a modified MMP.

“MMP has been running well for 5 elections, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made even better. It essential that voters understand the best way to improve MMP is to vote for it in 2011, as this will trigger an independent review,” Campaign for MMP spokesperson Sandra Grey said.

“Simon Power’s confirmation that this will be made clear to voters is welcome news.”

“For voters to have any faith in the referendum, participation must be maximised, and so the government has recognised the only way to do this is by having it run alongside general elections.”

“And given the main parliamentary election, and that many Kiwis will be enjoying the Rugby World Cup in 2011, it is important that the electoral referendum isn’t squeezed out of the public’s attention. It’s great to see a commitment to a thorough, independent education campaign.”

Sandra Grey said the main outstanding issue to be resolved was the lack of spending caps on third parties, and noted the government hadn’t ruled out further change in this area of electoral finance.

“Political candidates and parties cannot just spend as much as they like on election campaigns and the same principle should guide the MMP referendum rules,” she said.

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