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Effects of MMP


How has MMP fared against the Royal Commission's expectations?

  • All parties that crossed the threshold in 1996 (6 parties) and 1999 (7 parties) received a share of seats in close proportion to their shares of Party Votes.
  • The Parliaments elected in 1996 and 1999 have higher proportions of MPs who are women (29.2% and 30.8% respectively; 1993 21.2%), Mäori (13.3% in 1996 and 1999; 7.1% in 1993), Pacific Islanders (2.5% in 1996 and 1999; 1% in 1993) and Asian (0.8% in 1996 and 1999; none in 1993). It is notable that most of these improvements in representation have come about through party lists.
  • The proportions of Party Votes which did not count towards seats in Parliament were 7.5% in 1996 and 6% in 1999 (substantially lower than in 1993 estimated at 55%).
  • Voter turnout in 1996 was 3% higher than in 1993, but declined by 3.4% in 1999.
  • Parliament has been more assertive over the Executive since 1996, particularly through select committees.

However there are some areas of public concern. First, some people doubt whether New Zealand's multi-party governments since the first MMP election in 1996 have been as effective as the single-party governments it had under FPP since the mid-1930s. It is generally recognised that whether MMP remains will depend on whether the minority coalition government formed after the 1999 general election is regarded as successful.

Second, some people say they are disappointed that MMP has not brought a new era of political consensus. That was never a realistic possibility since it overlooks the basic realities of democratic politics. MMP has certainly brought more political co-operation and dialogue between parties, but it has also brought more disagreements out into the open.

Third, the change to MMP has meant increase in the total number of MPs from 99 to 120. A non-binding citizens initiated referendum held with the 1999 general election on whether the number of MPs should be reduced to 99 was supported by 82% to voters. The result of this referendum has now been referred to the special parliamentary committee which has been established to review MMP.