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Submitted on 18/04/2012 - 10:45pm relating to the issues Basis for eligibility for list seats (thresholds), By-election candidates, Dual Candidacy, Order of candidates on the list, Overhang, Proportion of electorate seats to list seats
Should the 5% threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:
I would like to see the threshold reduced from 5% to 4%, the threshold was recommended by the Royal Commission. A 4% threshold is a reasonable balance between maximum possible representation and ensuring that those parties that do enter Parliament have a workable team.
Should the one electorate seat threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:
The one seat threshold should be abolished. The current system encourages gerrymandering deals between major and minor parties and has given disproportionate power to particular electorates to determine the make-up of parliament. It has also lead to disparity in representation between parties below the threshold. If a party wins one electoral seat, and does not cross the threshold, the one seat is all that party should get.
Should there be a different combination of thresholds? What should they be and why?:
Any party winning an electorate seat should just get that seat, unless they get over the party vote threshold, in which case they would be allocated the number of seats according to their proportion of the vote.
Should list MPs continue to be able to stand as candidates in by-elections? If so, why?:
Yes. If their party believes they are the best person to represent that electorate in parliament, then they should be able to stand for that electorate in a by-election. If the list MP wins the by-election then the next person on the party list should take up their list position.
If not, why?:
Should dual candidacy be kept? If so, why?:
Yes. Parliamentary parties should continue to put forward their best candidates, both in electorates and on the Party list. Good candidates (as determined by the Party) should be able to enter Parliament through the list if they are unsuccessful in a local electorate. Smaller parties do not have a wide pool of suitably qualified and available candidates, so need to stand in electorates (to be invited to public meeting) and as list candidates (their most likely means of entering Parliament).
In an election, should voters be able to alter the order of candidates from the list order decided by political parties?:
No. The Parties are represented by their choice of candidates and their choice of list order. In fact the Parties are the people that they put up, in the order they put them up.
What should happen when a party wins more electorate seats than it would be entitled to under its share of the party vote?:
I think we should keep the current overhang system. The most important principle is to maintain proportionality between Parties according to the party vote nation-wide. Having a high proportion of list seats to electorate seats as discussed below will help ensure that proportionality is maintained.
Is this a problem, and what should be done to fix it?:
As the ratio of electorate seats to list seats increases, the risk of a disproportionate Parliament increases. Proportional representation is the overriding principle of our MMP voting system and the reason people support it. The number of electorate seats should be fixed at no more than 60 (50% of the total seats) and the boundaries adjusted depending on population changes. If more voters opt for the Maori roll, the number of general seats should be reduced (and vice versa) to ensure all seats represent the same number of voters. List seats are important, not only for maintaining proportionality, but also to encourage more diverse representation within parties. MPs representing a minority interest may not have the support in a single electorate to win an electorate seat, but should be able to represent that interest nationally.