This website is about the MMP threshold. Here is a little relevant background in case you need it.

The basics of MMP

The first New Zealand MMP election was held in 1996. The system is called ‘Mixed Member Proportional’. General elections have been held at three year intervals since, the last in 2020.

Voters have two votes, one for a party, the other for an electorate MP.

The overall makeup of parliament is decided by party votes. Seats are allocated in proportion to party votes received, amongst those parties that pass one or other ‘thresholds’.

To pass a threshold, a party must gain at least 5% of the party votes, or win an electorate seat.

Votes for those parties that do not meet the threshold are discarded.

The country is divided into electoral districts called ‘electorates’. Each elects an electorate MP by simple plurality.

Allocated seats are filled first by the winners of electorate contests. Remaining seats are filled from closed party lists. These are ordered lists of candidates created by each party.


Ever since the first MMP election, there have been complaints about the MMP thresholds, and the wasted votes that result. This has been perhaps the most controversial aspect of MMP.

The 2012 MMP review

A review of the MMP system was held in 2012, with public submissions invited. The review’s final report suggested, among other things, that the 5% threshold be reduced and the electorate vote threshold eliminated.

No changes have been implemented since.

Further information

Further information may be obtained from the electoral commission website here.

Official information about MMP election results may be found here

A post on this site gives information about party voting history here.

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