MMP has enjoyed more than a two-decade tenure as New Zealand’s voting system. But three months out from the general election, cracks are showing. Cassandra Mason investigates the prides and pitfalls of MMP and whether there’s room for change. New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system (MMP) ousted first past the post (FPP) when it was voted in in 1993. The change answered calls from an increasingly diverse New Zealand that Parliament more closely resemble its population. With September’s election on the horizon, the system’s more controversial characteristics are fuelling debate.
Many maintain that MMP is the only truly democratic way to represent a population, while critics say it gives minor parties disproportionate power and influence, putting politics before people.
MMP gives voters two votes – one for their preferred political party, and the other for the MP they want to represent their electorate.
Parties have to get a minimum of 5 per cent of the vote or win at least one electorate seat to get its share of seats in Parliament.