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March 18, 2019 | by  | in News |
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The Party Line: MMP 5% Threshold

The Party Line Issue 03



The MMP 5% threshold has come into the cross-hairs again, with suggestions it should be dropped to 4%. Lowering the threshold could let more political parties into Parliament, but the proposal has been criticised.
In principle, do you think that the threshold should be reassessed, and potentially lowered?



Since the introduction of MMP, the 5% threshold has been an effective way to ensure that all parties in Parliament represent the views of a wide range of people. Tampering with it risks opening the doors for further changes and manipulations to suit the Government of the day. New Zealand has a proud history of seeking consensus-based change to our electoral system. We have concerns around the motives of the Green Party in putting forward these changes so close to an election without the consensus-based approach or allowing a public referendum on the issue.

  • Grahame Woods


ACT on Campus

We believe the threshold absolutely has to be lowered immediately. The current 5% barrier negates the possibility of diverse politics. With the bar so high, much of the public can go without proper representation, unless they bite the bullet and vote for a major party with a higher chance of entering parliament. This squanders MMP, a system designed to allow smaller parties the ability to enter the debating chamber and really have a powerful impact on our legislative process.We would support any threshold change that helps our democracy be a better representation of the public and their views.

  • Jackson Graham


Greens at Vic

The Greens support lowering the threshold, and have long supported implementing the Electoral Commission’s 2012 recommendations, which the National Government conveniently chose to ignore. We shouldn’t be letting smaller political parties with significant support, like TOP or the Conservatives, go unrepresented due to an arbitrary & high threshold that distorts the proportionality of parliament. The Electoral Commission recommends 4% as the level that best balances proportionality and stability, and suggests that it could even be lowered to 3%. Unfortunately, over the 7 years since the report, National opted to ignore it out of self-interest. A better democracy should trump partisanship.

  • Lachlan Patterson



If all votes are equal, then any threshold to enter parliament greater than that needed to gain a single seat is undemocratic. Yes, we must always fight for further suffrage and perfect democracy, but lowering the threshold isn’t the only path.


We should be always endeavouring to ensure MMP works the way it was intended – minor parties having an opportunity to be represented in Parliament. Therefore, if our two largest minor parties cannot maintain their footing with this threshold and if it is too high for our new parties to reach, then we probably should look into reevaluating.

  • Not attributed


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