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Source: Taxpayers Union

The Prime Minister’s proposals on electoral law are worthy of serious consideration, but the ultimate decisions should be made by the people not the politicians, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union says.Union spokesperson Louis Houlbrooke said: “Three criteria should be met to advance Jacinda Ardern’s proposals to introduce a four-year Parliamentary term, reduce the voting threshold to 4%, and abolish the so-called ‘coat-tailing’ provision.”Those conditions are:1.     There must be substantial Opposition support for the issues being debated. New Zealand has a long and rare tradition of bipartisan support for decisions on electoral law changes.2.     Each of the three proposals must be put to a referendum separately, preferably all on the same day. People should have control of how they are governed. Reform should not be a package deal – it must not be all or nothing.3.     The new rules cannot specifically advantage or disadvantage any particular political party inside or outside Parliament.“We suspect that New Zealanders will be comfortable with dropping the threshold to 4% but will be closely divided on whether to restrict ‘coat-tailing’.”“The key issue will be the four-year term. Such a regime would give a Government more time between elections to actually implement their key policies. But there will be reasonable concerns that this is politicians voting themselves another year of taxpayer funding and another year that poorly performing MPs cannot be kicked out by voters. That is why a referendum is so important.””Finally, any proposal for a four year term for central government will inevitably lead to reconsideration of the local government term. If the local government term is extended to remain in sync with the Beehive, ratepayers deserve a provision for petition-triggered recall elections to hold failed local leaders to account mid-term.””A recall option for central government would be more difficult – how would it work for list MPs? Nevertheless we should investigate additional accountability measures for Parliament if its term is extended.”