MMP is emerging as a clear favourite in the referendum on how the country selects its MPs, according to the latest ONE News Colmar-Brunton poll.
When asked which option they would choose, the poll shows strong support for the status quo with just over half of voters (51%) saying they would keep MMP. While 12% said they did not know, only 37% wanted change.
"There's no mood for change around MMP, people want to keep the system and make it better and people have the chance to do that at this referendum," Keep MMP supporter Sandra Grey told ONE News.
But some say it is the politicians who are driving the mood for no change.
"If you look at the way the politicians are deliberately not engaging or talking about this issue, it's because they want MMP to win by default," said Vote for Change supporter Jordan Williams.
United Future leader Peter Dunne supports MMP.
"While people might have their views about the small parties, the reality is they don't want to see them go, so you want an election system basically that ensures they have a voice," he said.
United Future has been a big winner under MMP; in 2005 the party got three MPs into Parliament on the back of Dunne's win in Ohariu-Belmont.
If MMP is retained, that sort of result will come under scrutiny of an Electoral Commission Review, as well as the 5% party vote threshold.
The referendum on voting systems will ask two questions: The first asks whether voters want to keep MMP or whether they want to change to another voting system. The second asks which of four other voting systems would voters choose if New Zealand decides to change from MMP.
There are four options:
- First past the post - the system used in New Zealand before
- Preferential voting - where candidates are ranked.
- Single transferable vote - which means you can either rank candidates or chose your favourite party and accept their candidate rankings.
- And Supplementary member, where you get two votes, one for your local MP and another for a party.
The Colmar-Brunton poll showed first past the post was the next most popular system after MMP with 36%, followed by 16% for single transferable vote, while preferential voting and supplementary member received only single figure support at 8% and 7%. However, at 30%, a lot of voters did not know.
"There's still a big group of voters who have not made up their minds, and in quite a lot of the polls, (so) you put those together with the vote for change and you're going to have a very close race," said political scientist Nigel Roberts.
New Zealanders will vote on the referendum on November 26.