What should the threshold to get into Parliament Be?

The MMP Review has a reasonable chance of being successful now Crusher is in charge rather that the extremely pink Simon Power.

One of the questions is what should the threshold for parties to get into parliament be?

Farrar blogs about it at Stuff.

There are arguments on both sides, with reducing the threshold allowing small parties to enter parliament and MMP to be truly proportional. Dropping the threshold to 2.5% would have let Colin Craig into parliament to represent a group of people who are considered lepers by the liberal secular elite, the Christians.

On the other hand, increasing the threshold would lower proportionality, and would increase the likelihood that looney parties couldn’t influence parliamentary outcomes. Increasing the threshold to 8% would mean getting rid of the Greens for long periods, which would mean we wouldn’t have to put up with their hypocritical holier than thou whinging and whining and they wouldn’t be always telling us to drive hybrid cars and take public transport.

So do we go for a system that gets rid of the Greens by increasing the threshold? Or do we decrease the threshold to let people like Colin Craig get into parliament?

Or do we just get Lockie to change around the parliamentary funding, increase funding for electorate MPs by taking it off List MPs, and only fund parties who have more than 14 MPs. Canada has a similar scheme to stop minor parties taking resources that just get wasted by the Canadian equivalent of Andrew Williams.


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  • Elaycee

    Canada has a similar scheme to stop minor parties taking resources that just get wasted by the Canadian equivalent of Andrew Williams.”

    Has Canada closed their equivalent of Bellamy’s? 

  • ConwayCaptain

    Keep at 5% BUT the party with less than 5% but wins and eletorate seat cannot bring in any more list MPs.  Why should ACT have had extra seats in Parliament when they had less List votes than NZF who didnt win an elcectorak seat but had more list votes than they.

    Members cannot be of Electorate Lists AND Party Lists.  There we have MPs who are dumped by their electorate but get back in again on the Party List.  You cannot be Fish and Fowl unless your name is TREV.

    • AnonWgtn

      Like Jim Anderson and Labour eh !

  • Apolonia

    The threshold should be lowered to 2% to gain a greater proportionality in parliament.Currently there are 8 parties in parliament, the Conservatives got more votes than 4 of them.
    In terms of funding,do away with the “leaders” budget which Dunne, Hone and Banks get. All MP’s should be bulk funded, Constituency MPs at one rate and list MPs at a lower rate. This money could then be pooled and used by each party.They could use it to; serve the country,or fly beneficiaries around the country or purchase support services for MPs  

    • That may be true, but all of those parties won electorates, and in fact none of them got a single list seat. 

  • Johngroenen

    One change I’d like to see is even if you do have a seat you still have to get to 5% to get any party vote. It’s clear having a seat doesn’t exclude you from being a donkey vote. As a conservative I felt we were as entitled to something as some of the small partys who got seats in 2011. Plus we need to get rid of the Apartheid Seats.

  • pidge

    Lower the threshold to equivalent of three seats(~2.5%, depending on overhang), remove the Maori Seats as a quid pro quo.

    Hold ‘primaries’ for the list rankings (everyone gets to pick the party they support, and then provide their preferred ranking for that party – or accept the party’s own preference).

    “Leader” budget requires there to be more than one MP from a party and/or depends on number of MPs

  • Dion

    Increase the threshold and get rid of the lunatic fringe.  5% of the population should not be able to choose who runs the country. 

  • Allan

    Increase the threshold to 8%, Parliament would be much more productive, the looney left and the watermelon greens would then not get a look in and then perhaps the country would start prospering.

  • Stephen Berry

    Reduce the threshold to 0.8%

  • thor42

    I’d like to see the threshold increased. Eight percent sounds good – I’d be fine with 10% too. 

  • Mickrodge

    Increase to 8%. All MMP has done is provide disproportionate levels of exposure to the lunatic fringe dwellers.

    How about a 3 term limit for those in “non essential” positions (i.e. list scum) within a party to minimise opportunities for career troughers? And all list MP’s to be on the average wage (because frankly they’re all pretty average).

  • Kosh103

    Drop it to 4%. However, change the rules so that if you are on the list you CANNOT stand in a seat as well. It is one or the other, no sneaking into the House if you lose/get tossed out of your seat on election night.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Can’t believe Kosh has had something sensible to say. Good idea sick of MP’s getting voted out by there constituents and then sneaking back in on the party list.

      • Vij

        I know how you feel, I agree with him too.  Something must have happened to him as he is actually making sense.

    • Kosh103

      Every now and then you dumbarse right wingers are on the same correct page as me. Not oftern, but every now and then you do get your thinking correct. ;0)

      • Gazzaw

        Kosh, unlike our other two resident trolls (HoP & Phil) you do make some good sense on occasions. 

      • Sarrs

        And at least you write in way that doesn’t hurt my brain when I read it :)

  • Pete George

    Those proposing a higher threshold will probably be those who moan loudest when the party they don’t like gets power on it’s own.

    The starting point for deciding the threshold should be as democratic and inclusive of anyone getting votes as possible, and there should only be restrictions if a decent reason can be proven.

    Wanting a non-democratic advantage is not a good reason.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Raise it to 15%. That way if any minor party made 15% they would be taken seriously.
    Tails wagging dogs is just not on (yes you Winston)

  • Matt Collins

    I think the party vote threshold should be dropped to 4% and the Maori seats scrapped as recommended by the Royal Commission back when MMP was first being implemented, although i also suggest that the electoral seat rule (When someone wins an electorate seat they bring list MP’s into parliament proportionate to the percentage of party votes they received even if that is below the threshold) should definitely be re-visited in light of recent circumstances(I.e The ACT party in 2008 bring in 5 MP’s with a party vote percentage of 3.65%)

  • Pita

    Keep 5% threshold or, if reduced, abolish Maori seats…No list MP’s per se but proportionality made up from members who failed to win an electorate seat but amassed the highest losing vote

  • UAVMan

    an IQ test would be a good start

    • UAVMan

      Serious here – hands up those who think Sue Bradford has the mental capacity to contribute to society and make sound reasonable judgements?

      • Mr_Blobby

        She has and always will be a net drain to society.

    • Gazzaw

      Based on the current lot I’m not sure that six MPs plus a Speaker would make for very effective government UAVMan.

  • Mr_Blobby

    The first step has to be abolishing Race Based seats. If you are not prepared to do that then you should introduce only race based seats, everybody selects a race that they identify with New Zealander, Maori, European, Asian, Indian Etc. The seats are then divided up on the percentage of voters and you then vote for the candidate you prefer in your race electorate.

  • Phar Lap

    8% would be a breath of fresh air.What a great suggestion by whoever said it.They should be on record to be the NZ of the decade.

  • Mr_Blobby

    It would appear that the vast Majority do not think that the race based Maori seats are a good idea so why does this fall on the deaf ears by our Politicians.
    It would also appear the Waitangi Day is irrelevant to the vast Majority of New Zealanders. So why do our Politicians continue to front up every year for a ritual debasing.
    Has any thought been given to putting the out dated treaty back into its history box and moving on with a true independence day? The treaty outlived its usefulness about 5 years after it was originally written.
    Now you may think that this is off topic but I have spoken with many people, who believe that, under the treaty Maori should have 50% of the seats in Parliament. How democratic is that.


    Does anyone think MMP should get the arse,and some other system be found.Have we not had a gutsfull of all these idiot fringe parties,Maori included,that have had concessions made for their bullshit ideas.Any ideas out there.

    • Kosh103

      MMP = the most democratic system.

    • Rua

      jeez, if only we’d had a referendum about keeping MMP

  • Michaelharford

    I disagree with some of the ideas above that there should be a term limit for list MPs – all it would do is allow large parties to ‘protect’ their favoured MPs by installing them in safe electorates, however would punish minor parties as they couldn’t do the same. Where do minor parties usually get new leaders? Hide was a 3 term list MP when he contested the election as leader, Turei would have been out of Parliament in 2011.

    Likewise not allowing a candidate to stand in both a list spot and an electorate – large parties will protect favoured MPs in safe electorates (maybe at the expense of a local). And again how would that affect minor parties? They basically wouldn’t be able to stand any candidates anywhere as that candidate would lose and wouldn’t be allowed to come in on the list. Ofcourse they’d have to stand someone to get their message out, so they would stand candidates who knew they would not end up in Parliament, in the hope that people would give them enough Party vote to get past whatever the threshold is, so whoever they had on their list (who weren’t able to stand as candidates anywhere) could get in to Parliament. Ridiculous situation.

    Please consider the implications on minor parties of these ideas.

    • There are many good reasons why the list and electorate vote should be kept together, as they are now. One of which is that being voted out (or failing to be voted in) in an electorate seat does not necessarily constitute being “dumped” or “rejected”. Where one candidate gets 48% and another gets 46% (or whatever), that person still has a much bigger claim to a mandate for being in parliament than some number on a party list. 

  • Louis Houlbrooke

    I’d be happy with the threshold dropped to 2% or lower. The lower the threshold, the more democratic the system is. And let’s not forget that the embarrassing and undemocratic politics of the Epsom/Ohariu type is a direct result of minor parties having to find their way around the 5% threshold.

    Let’s consider the ACT situation last year, imagining there was a one percent threshold. ACT could’ve left John Banks to pursue his own conservative politics, avoided the embarrassment of the Epsom campaign/teatape scandal, and focused their resources on the party vote. They would’ve got one MP into parliament – that is to say, Don Brash, their leader and a sound vehicle for the ACT platform. Instead, NZ was awarded, firstly, an embarrassing election sideshow in Epsom, and secondly, John Banks, an MP elected by people who felt pressured into voting for him, to be the sole representative of a party in which he does not belong.

  • jay cee

    the idea of not allowing candidates to stand for both a seat and be high enough on the list to get back in is the main issue here. trouble is there is no easy solution.getting the public to pick the party lists would be a lengthy process given the number of parties standing. if you ever voted in a local body election where you had to number in preference your favourite candidate you will have probably found like me that you are dealing with a lot of people you have never heard of.then you have the current voter apathy to boot. its a case of being careful not to throw out the baby with bath water. after all it was the list that would have given paula bennett a life line when she came within a  whisker of losing her seat

  • @BoJangles

    4% if Maori seats abolished.  If  Maori consolidate the Maori/Mana party vote, and pull more votes off Labour, hey, they could hold the balance of power on merit.   Take a letter Maria, and give a copy to my landlord….

  • Damien Grant

    How about a property based franchise?

    Or a voting system based on how much tax you pay!

    • Neil Home

      I’m all for a system that gives one vote per person and one vote per $1000 of net tax paid over the previous 3 years