14 May 2013

Govt says no to MMP changes

9:26 pm on 14 May 2013

The Government says it will not be making any changes to the MMP voting system.

The surprise move follows months of work by the Electoral Commission and more than 4500 submissions, which recommended changes to the thresholds for parties to enter Parliament.

In November last year, the commission released its review of the Mixed Member Proportional system, estimated to have cost $1.6 million.

It recommended dropping the party vote threshold from 5% to 4% and scrapping the "coat-tails rule", which would stop a party that won an electorate seat bringing in extra list MPs unless it reached the party vote threshold.

On Tuesday afternoon, Justice Minister Judith Collins told Parliament that political parties couldn't agree on the proposed changes.

"We need consensus on these matters for any change, and there is no consensus for any change."

Ms Collins said there would not be enough time to make changes before the 2014 general election.

That answer caught Labour MP Lianne Dalziel by surprise.

""When the question was asked in the House today, I honestly thought that we were going to receive some sort of indication as to the timetable the Government was working to.

"But her (Judith Collins's) very simple 'No, the Government isn't going to be looking at that' - I was completely floored."

Ms Dalziel said the Government has broken an election promise to act on the Electoral Commission's review.

Prime Minister John Key later told reporters as far as he's concerned, that is the end of the MMP review matter.