The election changes the Government has rejected and accepted

A report on our election system has been released and already the Government has ruled out several of its recommendations.

Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith released the Independent Electoral Review on Tuesday which had over 140 recommendations. 

The report was established by the previous Labour Government and the new coalition Government will make a formal response to the review in due course.

Goldsmith said the Government will now consider the recommendations but has immediately ruled out several of them. These include:

  • Lowering the voting age to 16
  • Allowing all prisoners to vote and stand for Parliament
  • Freezing the ratio of electorate to list seats, which would lead to an increase in the number of MPs as the population increases
  • Repealing the offence of 'treating' voters with refreshments and entertainment.

However, the new Government is already looking into one of the recommendations made.

The report recommended holding a referendum on the term of Parliament, something all three coalition partners have publicly supported.

Currently, Parliaments last for a maximum of three years. 

The report said increasing the term can only be done by a 75 percent majority vote in parliament or by a majority in a public referendum.

"We think this is a decision for voters. It is 33 years since we last had a referendum on whether the term of parliament should be longer. It is time for another referendum, supported by an independent information campaign about the pros and cons of a longer term," it stated.

The Government has already committed as part of the National-ACT coalition agreement to introducing the Constitution (Enabling a 4-Year Term) Amendment Bill, which if passed would be subject to a binding referendum. The agreement promises to move this within the first 15 months in office.

ACT Party Leader David Seymour said the party will only extend the Parliamentary term if two conditions are met: control of select committees must be handed over to the opposition, and the changes must be approved by the public in a referendum.

"Lawmakers have often grumbled about brief three-year terms where more time is spent planning and campaigning than on actual delivery of election promises. But the flip side is that we mustn't risk overweighting the powers of the executive branch of government," Seymour said.

He said ACT's legislation will give future governments more time to deliver on their manifestos while facing more scrutiny on their laws.

"The Review's endorsement of the referendum approach reflects a broad consensus, supported by ACT, that the voting public gets the final say on questions of how their votes translate to the allocation of state power," Seymour said.

Some of the other recommendations in the report include extending the time a New Zealander can spend living overseas without losing the right to vote, lowering the party vote threshold for list seat eligibility from five percent to 3.5 percent, reducing the amount that can be donated anonymously to $500 and abolishing television and radio election advertising restrictions for parties and candidates.