From people's revolution to partisan reform: Recent electoral change in New Zealand
For a comparatively small and geographically peripheral nation, New Zealand enjoyed a moment of psephological prominence some 20 years ago when it abandoned its long-used single member plurality (SMP) voting system for a new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral process. This national decision to swap the blunt simplicity of single party majority government in favor of the vagaries of proportional representation and coalition rule was particularly notable in light of New Zealand’s status as a long-established, comparatively peaceful democracy that still adheres staunchly to a traditional Westminster form of government. The various reasons for taking this fundamental step, as well as the process used to do so, have been well picked over, and I do not propose adding substantially to the already existing literature on the subject. Rather, I take up the story since New Zealand’s ‘‘big bang’’ move to MMP and outline a number of electoral law developments (and, just as importantly, refusals to change) that have taken place in that time. It is thus some- thing of an updating of New Zealand’s experience with electoral law reform over the last two decades, paying particular attention to the process that has been used to effect that reform.
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Keywords: New Zealand; Mixed-Member Proportional; MMP; Voting; Election Law
Research Type: Journal Article