Constitutional Dilemmas: The Push for Proportional Representation

Luke Malpass of the Centre for Independent Studies gives an interesting talk (based on a forthcoming paper) on proportional representation and the possibility of bicameralism in New Zealand. In my view, bicameralism is the best constitutional reform for New Zealand which has much hope of succeeding. I’m not sure why it isn’t more of a political issue.

The ‘cult’ political following that Proportional Representation electoral systems achieve in Westminster countries means that it is a matter of when not if pressure for comprehensive PR is going to arrive in Australia. New Zealand has it, Scotland has it, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is holding a referendum on it in England, the very home of the Westminster system of government.

Curiously perhaps, New Zealand is holding a binding referendum on the future of its Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system which was modelled on the German electoral system, and early polling indicates its future is far from assured, due to concerns about its efficacy, and widespread lack of public understanding.

CIS NZ Policy Analyst Luke Malpass discusses his research in this area, looking at MMP, how it has operated and what alternatives exist. With an introduction by CIS Research Fellow Dr Oliver Hartwich.

2 Responses

  1. Why is Gordon Brown pushing PR in Britain when the current system so strongly favours his party? What’s the rule – Labour wins with anything less than a 6% deficit in vote share. Must be election year.

  2. There is going to be a referendum on the Alternative Vote in the UK (not just England!) next year, as part of an agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Gordon Brown made a deathbed conversion to an elected upper house, but that’s been put on the backburner by the Coalition government.

    New Zealand has been brainwashed into believing that it’s too small for a bicameral system – tell that to the Fijians, the Tasmanians, the Jamaicans, and the Irish!

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