13 Feb 2012

Commission calls for submissions on MMP review

3:33 pm on 13 February 2012

The Electoral Commission wants as many people as possible to take part in the review of MMP.

The commission is calling for submissions on ways to improve the electoral system, following a referendum vote to retain the Mixed Member Proportional voting system last year.

The review is expected to cost about $1.6 million, with the bulk of that paying for advertising and public hearings.

Chief electoral officer Robert Peden says it is important that people have their say.

"If they just want to write us a letter, a postcard, send us in a piece of art if they think that that will convey it to us adequately, they can do that. The important thing is they tell us what they think."

A consultation document has been released setting out what the review will cover.

It includes the thresholds parties should have to cross to win list seats in Parliament; whether list MPs should be able to stand in by-elections; whether a person should be allowed to stand as both an electorate and list candidate; and who should decide the makeup of party lists.

The review will not look at Maori representation or the number of Members of Parliament.

Submissions close at the end of May and a final report will go to the Government in October who will then decide if any changes are to be made.

Mr Peden says the timetable allows for changes to be made before the next general election in 2014.

Lobby groups encourage participation

Lobby groups for and against MMP are encouraging the public to have their say in the review.

The lobby group Voters for Change says the more people who take part in the review of MMP, the more pressure will go on politicians to make changes to the electoral system.

Voters for Change, which used to be called Vote for Change, campaigned against MMP before the referendum.

Its spokesperson, Jordan Williams, says MMP isn't perfect, and it's important there is broad discussion on how it can be improved.

The group Campaign for MMP, which argued in favour of retaining the electoral system, also says it's important voters don't just leave it to the politicians.

Its spokesperson, Sandra Grey, says people have to make it clear what changes they want.