ACT leader David Seymour has a new bill that would see 20 MPs slashed from Parliament and the number of electorates reduced to 54.
If you do reduce the number of MPs, you do need to reduce the number of electorates or you get regular overhang. But a reduction in the number of electorate seats by 25% will mean the average electorate will be a third larger. In cities not an issue, but will mean some huge rural electorates. They’ll be twice the size of what they were under FPP.
I don’t actually support a reduction in number. We actually have fewer MPs than most countries our size.
The bill would reduce the size of Parliament to 100 (from 120), reduce the size of the executive to 20 (from 31, including ministers outside Cabinet and parliamentary under-secretaries), and reduce the number of electorates to 54 (from 71), meaning the Māori seats would be abolished.
I do support reducing the size of the executive though. It is massive at 31. I’d have a Cabinet of 12 and up to eight Ministers outside Cabinet.
Each prospective MP would also have to stand in an electorate – whether they were list or electorate MPs. If they lost in the electorate, they could still get into Parliament on the list, but they would have an established electorate office, and would be expected to actively help people within their electorate.
I’m okay with list only candidates.
If the changes were to come into effect, the bill states they would be confirmed by referendum.
A previous referendum on the number of MPs being reduced to 100 had overwhelming support.
Seymour said he expected to get the support of NZ First and Winston Peters, as Peters had long talked about reducing the number of electorates by abolishing the Māori seats, and cutting Parliament to 100 MPs.
Peters is famous for saying things he has no interest in actually doing.