Referendum Toolkit

The Electoral Commission has a Referendum Toolkit to explain and test your understanding of the various systems.

It also has a handy tool to help you decide by asking a set of questions about your preferences for outcomes regarding governance, certainty, proportionality etc.

Not surprisingly the toolkit suggest that PV or SM should match my criteria. My personal preference would be PV. I like the ability to rank candidates.

There are 120 Members of Parliament. Each of the 120 electorates, including the Maori electorates, elects one MP.

Each voter ranks the candidates – 1, 2, 3, etc – in the order they prefer them.

A candidate who gets more than half of all the first preference votes (that is votes marked “1”) wins.

If no candidate gets more than half the first preference votes, the candidate with the fewest number “1” votes is eliminated and their votes go to the candidates each voter ranked next.

This process is repeated until one candidate has more than half the votes.

Large parties – and in particular the winning party – usually win a share of the seats in Parliament larger than their nationwide share of the first preference votes. It is hard for smaller parties to win seats in Parliament, but votes for smaller party candidates may influence who wins the seat because of second, third, etc preferences.

government can usually be formed without the need for coalitions or agreements between parties.

I will certainly be voting for change.


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  • thor42

    That’s a good toolkit – thanks for the link.
    I agree that having the ability to rank candidates is really good. My preference would be STV at this stage, but I could be swayed to support PV.
    What interested me about STV in this toolkit presentation was that it’s apparently the case that a party can stand more than one candidate in a “constituency”. So, if you really like that party, you could vote for all of its candidates in that constituency.
    SM doesn’t interest me – it seems too similar to MMP.