MMP Referenda

Simon Power has announced the process for referenda on the electoral system, and I am very pleased with the final process.

I blogged a few weeks ago that I was very concern that there seemed to be some talk of having people vote only once on retaining MMP, without knowing the alternative. But the Government has announced, well basically, exactly what I advocated (which I am sure is merely because it really is the common sense way to do it).

The process is:

  1. Parliament passes a law enabling a first referendum to be held in conjunction with 2011 election
  2. The first referendum will have two questions – the first question being do you want to continue with MMP or have an alternative system
  3. The second question will be to select your preferred alternative – the options are likely to be STV, FPP, PV and SM
  4. If the first question is a vote to retain MMP, the second question is academic and that is the end of it.
  5. If the first question votes for change, then a second referendum will be held giving people a binary choice between MMP and the preferred alternative (the highest ranking option from the second question)
  6. The second referendum will be held at the 2014 election
  7. Enabling legislation for an electoral system based on the alternate electoral system will be passed prior to the 2014 election, and it will automatically come into force if the alternative system wins
  8. The 2017 election would be run under the new electoral system, if there is a change

As I said, it is really good to see there is a fair process – basically a mirror of the 1992/93 referenda.

I find it interesting that in my unscientific blog poll, 47% back MMP, 23% STV, and only 20% FPP. Personally I think it is highly unlikely that we would vote to return to FPP.

A run off between STV and MMP could be interesting as they are both proportional electoral systems, but operate very very differently.

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