A change in New Zealand’s voting system last occurred in 1996, after a binding referendum in 1993 resulted in the change from First Past the Post (FPP) to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). In November of this year, New Zealanders will head to the polls once more, this time wondering whether to retain MMP, modify it or significantly change it. This essay will evaluate whether electoral systems can produce effective (and decisive) government, or representative government, but not both. The electoral system, FPP, MMP, effective government and representative government will be discussed and discover how, despite fears that government would be slowed down and disrupted with the introduction of MMP, the last few years have shown that a MMP coalition government can be effective, decisive and representative. Firstly, what is an electoral system? Harrop & Miller (1990, pg. 41) state that “an electoral system is a set of rules for conducting an election”. These sets of rules are needed to detail who is eligible to vote, how they will vote, who they will be voting for and how the votes are counted to get the end result and numerous other aspects of the electoral system (Harrop & Miller, 1993). There are many reasons why electoral systems are so important. Firstly, any country that wishes to be called democratic is said to have free and fair elections. Secondly, elections are important for the stability of a political system because without elections public opinion could, as witnessed in other countries, be expressed through riot and disorder (Wood & Rudd, 2004). An example of this is the political and economic unrest in Greece, where the Prime Minister could not muster the support of the people or even his own Pasok socialist party (Kissane, 2011). Elections are vital links between citizens and their government and election outcomes affect public policy, which in turn affects the citizens of that country. FPP was the electoral system in New Zealand...
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