Labour-Greens agree to consider electoral reforms

An item on stuff.co.nz on 31/10/2020 says that the Labour-Greens Cooperation agreement contemplates electoral reform, including the recommendations of the 2012 review of the MMP system.

That report proposed lowering the existing 5% threshold but that change does not seem to have universal support. Two-choice MMP may be a solution that is a good compromise. It allows the threshold to remain while ensuring that people supporting parties that do not pass the threshold can still have a say in the makeup of parliament.

This would remove the ‘threshold anxiety’ that arises every election:

  • Voters are reluctant to vote for small parties for fear their vote may be wasted in deciding the next government.
  • Major parties fear that their likely support parties may miss the threshold, so denying them the chance to form a government.
  • Minor parties fear that they may just rob votes from the major party they might hope to form a coalition with.
  • The country may encounter a cliff face after an election. One party very close to 5%. Whether a party receives 4.9999% or 5.0000% can change the government. Deciding that could prompt a constitutional crisis, as every last detail of voting and vote counting is debated.