Newshub Nation: Electoral review chair Maria Bargh on why politicians can't decide term lengths

New Zealand's electoral law has had a once-in-a-generation review, with a list released this week by an expert panel including sweeping recommendations on how Aotearoa's voting system could be reformed.

And there was an emphasis on public input into the process. 

Deputy chair of the reviews panel Maria Bargh, a professor of politics and Māori studies at Victoria University, joined Newshub Nation's Rebecca Wright to discuss the process. 

Bargh said that their focus was on "conducting the review" instead of necessarily seeing the recommendations implemented. 

While conducting the portion of the review that focused on term length, Bargh admitted "we didn't hear a lot of consensus about a lot of the proposed changes".

"Some people suggested that if we have a longer-term Governments are able to better implement their policies," she said.

"Others were saying if it's too long we won't be able to hold Governments to account."

Bargh said the panel found the arguments on both sides to be pretty even and suggested "as it's entrenched, it needs to go to the public in a referendum".

"We thought if politicians were deciding on this it would be a bit like extending their own contracts and really New Zealanders need to have a say on it."

Bargh said the panel's focus was on "delivering our recommendations in our review at the end of November and then it will be up to the incoming Government at that time to take the next steps". 

Kiwis have until July 17 to make submissions on these recommendations and Bargh encourages people to participate, "especially if people think we haven't got things quite right". 

Bargh also discussed other recommendations from the review, watch the full video for more.

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