Review of MMP

Updated September, 2012

This page hosts Campaign for MMP resources on the review of MMP.

In August 2012, the Electoral Commission has released its proposals paper.  A copy is here. Our media release on the proposals paper is here: MMP review honours public desire for fine tuning.

Submissions to the proposals paper are due September 7.  A copy of our submission is here (word doc).

(Archived below is our earlier material helping people with submissions on the February 2012 consultation paper.)

(Earlier material – from the February 2012 consultation paper)

New Zealanders have voted 58% in favour to keep MMP on November 26. This triggered a review of MMP to make the system work even better.  Now your submissions, due by May 31, are welcome to help improve MMP.

Quick guide

We recommend you cover the thresholds (lowering 5% threshold, and getting rid of the 1 seat Electorate lifeboat), and make sure that any changes to MMP, eg to the number of List MPs, keep proportionality (all our votes count equally – a party that gets 20% of the vote it gets 20% of the seats in Parliament). This includes changes to the number of List MPs.

There is no special format for making a submission. Use your own words and write from your own experience. For more information visit: or call 0800 36 76 56.

A copy of the Campaign for MMP submission can be downloaded here (word doc).
Factsheet 1 – the 1 seat electorate lifeboat threshold rule
Factsheet 2 – the 5% party vote threshold rule

How to make your submission

Your submission must be received by the Electoral Commission by Thursday 5 April if you want to speak at an MMP Review hearing, or by Thursday May 31 if you don’t. Send it to:

Post: MMP Review, Electoral Commission, PO Box 3220, Wellington 6140

Official MMP Review website from the Electoral Commission

Full guide


Now that MMP is here to stay, it is being reviewed. The Electoral Commission is asking people to consider a range of issues and make a submission before 31 May (or 5 April if you want to speak in person to your submission). Once the public hearings have finished a proposal on changes to MMP will be published in August. The public will be able to comment on the proposals again (closes 7 September) before a report is presented to Parliament in October. Whilst you can comment on all the issues under review you can also focus on the issues significant for you as an individual (or group).

The Electoral Commission must review:

1. The 5 per cent party vote and one-Electorate seat threshold for a party’s share of seats in Parliament. 2. The effects of rising population on the number of List compared with Electorate seats. 3. The effect of a party’s winning more Electorates than their % of the Party Vote. 4. Can someone stand in an Electorate and on the Party List? 5. Should voters be able to alter a Party List at an election? 6. List MPs standing in by-elections

Points we recommend you cover

Please include as many points as you can in your submission. If you have limited time, please mention, in order of importance:

1. thresholds 2. population 3. dual candidacy

First, state clearly what you agree with. Some of the issues such as the rising population are open to a number of solutions but you can always say what you don’t want to happen. Most voters voted to keep MMP because they want everyone’s votes to be accurately reflected in the Parliament (proportional representation). Changes in population will affect the number of Electorate MPs compared to List MPs. So it is important to say that any solution to issue 2 must keep proportional representation.


Lower the threshold 4 % or below

The 1986 Royal Commission which recommended MMP suggested a threshold of 4% to keep down the number of parties in Parliament. In the end Parliament settled on 5%, the same size as the threshold in Germany.

Using a 3% threshold from 1996 would have brought in the following number of parties into Parliament, in addition to those already there: 1996 (1), 1999 (0), 2002 (0), 2005 (0), 2008 (1), 2011 (0). It is clear that lowering the threshold will not open the floodgates.

Some people think lowering the threshold is fair especially if the one Electorate seat threshold is eliminated.

Eliminate the one Electorate threshold

There would be only one clear threshold – a party needs 5% (or less if it is changed) of the Party Vote. Everyone’s vote would have equal value if their party made it into Parliament. The voters in Epsom or Ohariu would not be special.

If a party did not reach the 5% threshold but won an Electorate, they would only have that seat; their Party vote would not count towards more seats.

Population change and keeping proportionality

MMP works by ensuring that a party’s share of the vote translates into seats in Parliament. If a party gets 10% of the vote it gets 10% of the seats. This is called proportional representation.

If the number of Electorate seats continues to grow from the current 70 out of 120, there will be fewer List seats, and in the future it may be hard to share seats according to how many votes a party won in an election, considering there would be fewer List MPs available to ensure proportional representation.

We could fix the number of Electorate seats at 72, for example, and let the population in Electorates change in size within new limits.

Dual candidacy

Another issue generating debate is dual candidacy. This is where a candidate can stand for both an Electorate seat and also on the party List. Some people are arguing we should remove dual candidacy and make people choose to either run in an Electorate or on the List, but not both.

We don’t think this is a good idea. There are many examples of MPs who have not won an Electorate seat but have gone on to make significant contributions in Parliament. If we say those people can’t run in an Electorate, it means they are even more removed from the democratic process as they wouldn’t turn up to public meetings to be quizzed by voters. The 1986 Royal Commission said removing dual candidacies was “undesirable in principle and unworkable in practice.” If you are concerned by this also, you should mention this in your submission.

Voters’ concern seems not to be with all List MPs who unsuccessfully contest an Electorate, but rather the small number of incumbent (current) MPs who lose their seat in an election, and return via the List. If this is a genuine concern, there may be ways to address this specific issue while not ruling out dual candidacy overall.

How to make your submission

Your submission must be received by the Electoral Commission by Thursday 5 April if you want to speak at an MMP Review hearing, or by Thursday May 31 if you don’t. Send it to:

Post: MMP Review, Electoral Commission, PO Box 3220, Wellington 6140

Official MMP Review website from the Electoral Commission

If you need assistance with writing, or submitting, please contact the Electoral Commission on 0800 36 76 56. If this is your first time making a submission, you may find the general points in this guide useful:How to make a submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee (although it is written for the Select Committee process).

Thanks for taking the time to make this submission.

About us

Campaign for MMP was established in 2010 to mobilise support to keep MMP at the 2011 referendum. We will remain active on a smaller basis in 2012 and 2013 during the MMP review and any legislation that follows. Our group’s main point of interest was keeping MMP, and now it is ensuring that any changes to the system keep the important principle of proportional representation at the core of MMP.


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