A Party Bill calling for the end of the coat-tailing
provision in New Zealand's MMP electoral system has been drawn
from the ballot, adding spice to an already fiery election
Labour leader David Cunliffe told the Otago Daily Times the
Bill meant the process was in the hands of the National-led
Government and he was adamant the legislation could be passed
before the election.
University of Otago political scientist Bryce Edwards was
horrified by the thought the Bill could be pushed through
before the election on September 20.
''Constitutionally, it would be an outrage if this was done
in the next few months. David Cunliffe needs to withdraw the
Bill, or make it clear it won't be pushed through before the
''It will create more cynicism and rebound on Labour, as it
will be seen to be skewing legislation to its own electoral
The convention was for constitutional changes to be made in
Dr Edwards was confident Labour could not generate the
numbers needed to get the Bill passed, as the Greens did not
support the legislation.
The Bill would see parties which won an electorate seat
prevented from bringing others into Parliament on the winner's
''coat-tails''. Act, New Zealand First and United Future have
all brought MPs into Parliament on the back of their respective
leaders' winning electorates.
The latest possibility comes from the deal stitched up last
week by Mana and the Internet Party.
If Te Tai Tokerau leader Hone Harawira retains the seat, and
the Internet Mana receives 1.2% of the vote, the leader of
the Internet Party, former Alliance MP Laila Harre, will
enter Parliament on Mr Harawira's coat-tails.
The Mana and Internet parties are expected to support the
formation of a left-wing government led by Labour.
Asked whether he was harming his own chances with the
campaign to remove the coat-tail provision, Mr Cunliffe said
the public had made it clear the provision was unpopular.
The Electoral Commission recommended a reduction in the MMP
threshold from 5% to 4% and strongly recommended the one-seat
threshold be abolished. The Government rejected the
''This rule has been used by the Right to win elections. We
are taking a principled stand to ensure it won't be used by
the Left,'' Mr Cunliffe said.
Changing the law would require a 75% majority in the House,
something which could be achieved by Labour joining National
in voting for its implementation, Mr Cunliffe said.