Editor's Pick

Two And A Half Men

Two And A Half Men - Watch First

Series 12, Episode 1 The Ol' Mexican Spinach 31 Oct 14 00:20:15

Top Shows

Strong backing for MMP referendum

Published: 6:52PM Monday June 23, 2008 Source: ONE News

With a general election just around the corner the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll reveals two thirds of us want the chance to change the MMP voting system.

Green Party MP Keith Locke says it's an anachronism that we're still tied to the British crown on the other side of the world but the role of the mother country seems one most are happy to go along with.

While 25% want New Zealand to become a republic, 67% want the Queen to remain head of state.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is moving Australia toward a republic by 2020 but New Zealand's Prime Minister does not see the rush - and the man who wants her job agrees.

The Governor General is the Queen's representative in New Zealand and although he has reserve powers to reject bills and ultimately dissolve a government, his role is largely ceremonial.

It's the MPs and cabinet ministers who have the real power. National wants a referendum on whether to keep MMP - and it's not alone. United Future leader Peter Dunne says there is a sense among the general public that politicians have manipulated the system to their advantage.

And the public wants a say with 64% wanting a referendum on whether to keep MMP or ditch it in favour of something else and only 30% saying no. But asked whether they want to simply dump MMP respondents were more evenly split, with 47% saying we should keep the system and 43% saying it should go.

It has been more than a decade since New Zealand changed to MMP. Two factors drove that move - fear that one party rule could lead to unsettling change and a feeling First Past the Post simply wasn't fair. In the 1978 and 1981 elections National got less votes overall than Labour but remained in power.

"I think MMP has been good for the country in terms of creating an opportunity for people to represent different sectors of the electorate," Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says.

The poll shows 46% of people don't want to go back to the old First Past the Post system against 41% who do.

And they may could be given that option. If National wins the election it is promising a referendum and a chance to vote on whether the current voting system works.