As has been widely reported the Electoral Commission’s proposal paper on its review of MMP is expected to be released this morning. The proposals are non-binding, but will carry a lot of weight. There will be a further round of public consultation before a final report in October.
The review website is here. We’ll update with links as the proposals (and reaction) are released.
Updates: Here’s the Commission’s press release.
Coverage from The Herald:
The proposals being suggested by the Electoral Commission:
The one electorate seat threshold for the allocation of list seats should be abolished
The party vote threshold for the allocation of list seats should be lowered to 4 per cent
Candidates should continue to be able to stand both in an electorate and on a party list at general elections
List MPs should continue to be able to contest by-elections
Political parties should continue to have responsibility for the composition and ranking of candidates on their party lists
The provision for overhang seats should be abolished for parties that do not cross the party vote threshold
It recommended identifying 76 electorate seats (in a 120-seat Parliament) as the point at which the risk of proportionality from insufficient seats becomes unacceptable. New Zealand is like to reach that point before 2006.
The gradual erosion of lists seats relative to electorate seats risks undermining the diversity of representation in Parliament – recommended Parliament should review.
Andrew Geddis points out in comments that 2006 in the second to last paragraphs should read 2026.
Political parties would have a lower threshold to enter Parliament under proposed changes.
The Electoral Commission was conducting a review of the MMP electoral system following the referendum last year.
Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden today announced the proposals for change.
They included lowering the threshold from 5 to 3 – 4 per cent of the party vote, with 4 per cent being preferable.
The commission also “strongly recommended” the one seat threshold, a “coat-tails” rule which allowed parties that won one electorate seat to bring other MPs into Parliament, be abolished.
That would mean parties would have to get above the 4 per cent threshold to get more MPs into Parliament.
The ACT Party had five MPs following the 2008 election on the back of then leader Rodney Hide’s Epsom seat.
That was the “single biggest concern” people had about the MMP system, Peden said.