Golriz Ghahraman: 'We welcome waiting until after 2020 for any changes to MMP'

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has defended her Electoral Strengthening Democracy Bill that proposes dropping the MMP threshold from 5 percent to 4 percent. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media on Tuesday that any drop to the 5 percent threshold would not happen before the 2020 election.

When asked to respond, Ms Ghahraman told Newshub on Wednesday: "We welcome waiting until after 2020 for any changes to MMP to come into effect."

"In the meantime we urge the [Prime] Minister to take on my Members Bill as a Government Bill so it can be debated in the Parliament this term."

The Green MP submitted the Bill proposing lowering the threshold for parties to enter Parliament on Sunday. It follows a recommendation in an Electoral Commission review of the MMP system conducted in 2012. 

The Bill also proposes that prisoners be given the right to vote and that Māori voters get to change which roll they are on at any time.

National leader Simon Bridges slammed the Greens' Bill on Tuesday, suggesting the Government's confidence and supply partner wanted to lower the threshold due to low polling. The latest polling put the Greens at 5.1 percent, perilously close to the MMP threshold.

He said it would be "outrageous" if the Government passed legislation before the next 2020 election that would lower the MMP threshold to 4 percent. He suggested the coalition Government was trying to "save their bacon at the next election".

And despite the Greens and New Zealand First being part of the same Government coalition, Winston Peters also criticised the Bill, saying: "We think if you can't get 5 percent you shouldn't be in Parliament."

Ms Ghahraman also addressed remarks made by Mr Peters about her Bill's proposal to allow voters of Māori descent to change roll type at any time.

Mr Peters took a swipe at the first-time MP, saying: "You've got to have some experience and think these things through."

"The ability to change seats from Māori to general whenever you feel like it, that could turn into the biggest gerrymander you've ever seen in New Zealand politics," Mr Peters said.

Ms Ghahraman retorted saying: "Fundamentally, there will still be one person, one vote. We think it's very unlikely that people will regularly change which roll they are on."

She said the Greens "look forward to further discussing the contents of the Bill with New Zealand First".