The New Zealand parliament could be set for expansion.
A new report suggests an extension of the current three-year term to four years and an increase in the number of MPs representing the regions from 120 to 150.
“The current three-year Parliaments, as well as reinforcing a short-term bias in ministers and MPs, contributes to a substantial turnover rate of MPs,” co-author Professor Jonathan Boston from Victoria University of Wellington said in a statement.
New Zealand currently has one of the shortest parliamentary terms in the world – the US has a four-year term, while the UK follows a five-year cycle.
I think a four year term would be great. Three years is one of the shortest in the world, and you will get better Government if half of a term isn’t spent in near campaign mode.
Also voters are more likely to tip out a bad Government after one term if the term is four years. That is long enough to expect decent results. But a three year term almost by default allows a bad first term Government to claim they need more time.
I also support the proposal to increase the size of Parliament to 150 MPs, even though it is likely to be about as popular as a Big Mac at a Green Party conference.
A rough rule of thumb for the size of national legislatures is the cube root of the population. That would mean we should have 169 MPs.
We have one of the smallest legislatures in the world because we have only one chamber. Also we have no state legislatures. Let’s look at the size of legislatures in a few countries.
Croatia and Ireland have smaller populations than NZ and have 151 and 218 MPs respectively.
Norway, Finland and Denmark have under six million population and have 169, 200 and 179 MPs respectively.
Sweden has 349 MPs for 10 million people.