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Fcom Essay

1662 words - 7 pages

As a result public unhappiness towards the improportionate Parliament during the 1980s, the Royal Commission came up with ten criteria to assess the best system and suggested a change to the MMP system. The few most important criteria are the fairness between political parties, effectiveness of parties and Parliament and even the political integration (Elections New Zealand, 2012). These criteria are not met in a FPP system as it tends to create a single-majority party in the parliament. The fairness between parties is defined as the proportionality between the total party votes and number of seats, gained by any parties (Elections New Zealand, 2012). The effectiveness of parties has the ...view middle of the document...

d.). It is considered fair as any decision made in the Parliament has to be either by coalition or by relying on other parties in which this action would stop any extreme policy (Armstrong, 2011). Besides, the effectiveness of the parties and Parliament could also be seen in the MMP system through which the system shows representative as the Parliament could speculate the public in New Zealand (Campaign for MMP, n.d.). The effectiveness could also be seen through the numbers of women and minority ethnic groups who gain seats in the Parliament gradually increase which is much more representative (Armstrong, 2011).

One of the issues by the Electoral Referendum Act 2010 that will be reviewed is the threshold for winning a seat in the House. Currently, there are two thresholds in the New Zealand system which are a percentage of five or more in the party vote and a winning vote in the electorate. The commission itself had modelled some scenarios on the percentage threshold which are a four percent threshold with overhang and without overhang (Elections New Zealand, 2012). Many parties prefer to lower the threshold to the minimum of four percent (Farrar, 2012; If MMP stays, 2011). They all came to one point stating that reducing the threshold could reduces the wasted vote (Farrar, 2012; If MMP stays, 2011). We can clearly view this point from the result of the 2008 election where 95,356 voters' votes, which made up 4.07% of the total national vote, are being wasted as the New Zealand First Party did not get any seats (New Zealand Ministry of Justice, 2008). Another strong evidence supporting a lower threshold is by the (Gross, 2007) stating that a good democratic country should have a lower threshold because a democratic country requires a maximum amount of opinions.

On the other hand, remaining the 5% threshold also brings some advantages to the system. To support this argument, Thomas (2011) stated that retaining the 5% threshold is appropriate as this will prevent or at least reduce large fragmentation and ineffectiveness inside the Parliament. This is because a 5% threshold will have fewer minority parties in the Parliament and, therefore, could speed up the process to have better functionality. A 5% threshold also brings benefits as it is proven by the New Zealand's Parliament itself. Since the first general election in 1996, the 5% threshold has been used, and since then, the Parliament is still producing and working effectively. Many might say lowering and raising the threshold but looking at the result of implementing a 5% threshold for almost two decades, it is illogical to find reasons to modify it.

In my opinion, based on the arguments regarding threshold, a lower threshold percentage might be the best option for New Zealand. Although the government in the current state is governing well, we should all go towards a better and a more democratic country. A democratic country involves having many different ideas and opinions...

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