Changes to parliamentary term must go to a referendum

Labour and the Green’s confidence agreement states a desire to look at reforming electoral law, but electoral law should not be a play thing of the Government of the day, National’s Electoral Law spokesperson Dr Nick Smith says.

“National is open to extending the term to four years for parliamentary and local elections, but the decision must be one made by New Zealand voters by way of a referendum, not decided by MPs alone.

“Any further changes like to the current 5 per cent threshold or one-seat rule should not be changed without a broad consensus. These rules were set with a 100 per cent consensus of the Parliament when MMP was established in 1995.

“Labour and the Greens have always wanted state funding of political parties, but they need to be careful of putting narrow political interest ahead of public interest.

“The worry with this announcement is that the new Government is placing greater priority to its own interests and re-jigging the electoral laws for the next election than on the huge issues facing New Zealand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Major changes to our electoral law need to have broad public support, Labour and the Greens need to remember that.”