John Key. Photo by Getty
Prime Minister John Key believes New Zealanders would be
more open to having a four-year electoral term than they were
when the idea was voted down in public referenda in 1967 and
Mr Key has said the country would benefit from a four-year
parliamentary term but the change needed to be supported by
the public via a referendum.
The proposal failed when it was put to voters in the 1967 and
1990 elections, with almost 70 per cent favouring the
three-year term over four years.
Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast this morning that there
could be a different outcome if it went to a referendum now.
"Twice in New Zealand's history we've voted on a four-year
term. Both times it was rejected roughly two thirds [to] one
third but I think the mood's definitely changing with MMP."
He said 2017 was the earliest we would see a four-year term
"My view of it is we hardly ever have one-term governments in
New Zealand. Three years, whether you love or hate the colour
of the government that's in office at the time, is a bit too
short to properly assess them, and actually elections are
expensive and slow the process down, so four years would be
better than three."
The Labour Party and United Future both support the proposal
of a four-year term, while the Greens and New Zealand First
have acknowledged the merits of the idea.