Path: New Zealand Menu >



So how were integrity issues addressed in New Zealand's change to MMP?

  • concerns about the fairness of the previous voting system prompted a re-examination of that system;
  • that re-examination was carried out by an authoritative non-partisan body which recommended a referendum should be held on a change to the voting system;
  • although the voting system is an intensely political matter affecting the vital interests of political parties, a cross-party agreement emerged that the voters should decide the issue;
  • there was a two-stage referendum process, and members of the public were able to make submissions to a parliamentary committee on the Bills relating to each stage;
  • an independent publicly-funded programme of public education was carried out at each referendum and at the first MMP election;
  • the new electoral law approved by voters requires a parliamentary review of the new system after two general elections, including consideration of whether any further referendum should be held.

The way in which New Zealand changed to MMP is not a blueprint for the ways other countries should embark on a similar change. The history, traditions and politics of New Zealand's parliamentary democracy heavily influenced that change, just as other countries' histories, traditions and politics influence the ways they go about making significant constitutional changes. Nonetheless, it is possible that New Zealand's example might offer some useful lessons for other countries which might contemplate changing their voting system.