3 years or 4 years? [Poll]

Voters are evenly split over whether or not we should have a 4 year parliamentary term. Personally I prefer a 4 year term, but the old saying goes that 3 years is too short for a good government and 4 years is too long for a bad government.

That said I think we are ill served by the 3 years term, essentially meaning we only get action from our government for about 18 months per term.

Voters are almost evenly split on whether the parliamentary term should be extended from three to four years in the latest poll – a narrow margin believe it should stay at three years despite general agreement among politicians that a move to four is warranted.

Just over half of those asked in a Herald-DigiPoll survey said they believed the three-year term should stay, while 48 per cent believed it should increase to four years. 

The issue is being canvassed as part of the Government’s Constitutional Review and last month both Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer voiced support for a four-year term with a fixed election date. Supporters of it have called for a referendum in the 2014 election so any changes can be made from 2017.

The independent panel charged with advising on the Constitutional Review began a six-month period of consultation last month and will then make its recommendations to the Government.

Mr Key has said any such change would be made only if there was sufficient public support, likely to be determined through a referendum.

I think our constitutional review process is deeply flawed and designed to deliver outcomes the political elite want rather than the rank and file voters of New Zealand.

Views are changing and I think it is inevitable that we will see a move to a 4 year term. However I’d like to see some increased checks and balances introduced…the first of which should be opening parliamentary services to the Official Information Act.

What do you think?

Our parliamentary term should be

View Results

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  • blokeintakapuna

    I’d love to some ‘minimum qualifications’ of some kind so we don’t get the situation of useless list MP’s such as Delahunty with achievements such as failed BA and several failed attempts at getting into Parliament as her “qualifications” and then she has the temerity to claim Dame Susan isn’t qualified enough. Talk about own goal!

    Plus minimum briefings for MP’s such as Economics 101 to the likes of the Greens and Labour…

    • StupidDisqus

      No problem: have “minimum qualifications” on voters – such as must pay nett tax.

      Then the problem goes away.

      “Oh,” says lefty, “but then only parties in parliament would be National, ACT & Conservaties, plus Ngai Tahu (based on company taxes paid by Sealord).”

      Yes, that’s right: which part of “the problem goes away” don’t you understand?

      • DangerMice

        Just out of curiosity, what would the average Mum, Dad & 2 kids have to earn to be nett tax payers?

        • StupidDisqus

          Not very much – somewhere between $100 & $250 per annum.

          • Bunswalla

            $100 a year, or less than $2 a week? Fuck me, you really are a muppet.

        • unsol

          Stupid was a little stupid as he missed the K on the end of his answer…..

          It’s the top 10% (well, actually now top 13% when the 39c rate was dropped) of all taxpayers – that is, those earning $150k or more (individuals not family income)

          “Michael Woodhouse: Which groups now pay most of the tax collected by the Government?

          Hon BILL ENGLISH: Our tax and transfer system is highly redistributive, and the number of people paying income tax is surprisingly small. The lowest-income 43 percent of households currently receive more in income support than they pay in income tax. The 1.3 million households with incomes under $110,000 a year collectively pay no net tax—that is, their total income support payments match their combined income tax. The top 10 percent of households contribute over 70 percent of income tax, net of transfers—over 70 percent of income tax, net of transfers. This system is highly redistributive and we believe it is fair.”

          DF over at Kiwiblog did a post a while back. See http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/07/net_taxpayers.html

          IRD also have plenty of info re who contributes what to the tax pie.

          • DangerMice

            Great answer, thanks

    • GregM

      Delahunty is representing the thousands of others out there who are exactly like her. Sad but true.

    • Term limits for MPs would be good

  • TomTom

    We all hate elections. We all hate having to do the reading, checking on what the politicos are saying, weighing what’s important to us personally and picking a party that matches this. And worst of all, we hear way, way too much from the politicians.

    (That said, I already know who I ain’t voting for. I don’t want Shearer umming and ahing his way through his role and Norman going whacks-de-daisy with his stupid economic policies.)

    • StupidDisqus

      We all hate elections

      Right – so let’s make it simple;
      a) taxpayer franchise
      b) FPP
      c) taxpayers register which parties they want to support, as in the US. Make it cost say $100 to change your registration – in other words, not much, but enough to stop people gaming the system. A new party could raise money and offer to pay people’s fees.

      Then every 5 years, say, you just adjust the MPs to make up for their registered support.

      • TomTom

        Don’t be an idiot. I might hate elections, but they’re the only way to get a rough representation of the country as a whole. It’s like saying that because I hate doing the dishes, I won’t do them and leave them there to pile up and fester or get someone else to do them.

        And how the fuck is “taxpayer franchise” simple? Many farmers this year won’t be paying taxes, but instead will be getting farming welfare and tax breaks. Some people will legitimately need government support, such as those who have disabilities. And almost no one wants to go back to FFP, which favoured only the two major parties roughly equally and ignored all else. Supplementary Member or STV would be my preferred options over MMP.

        • StupidDisqus

          rough representation of the country as a whole

          who wants that? we want decisive government on behalf of nett taxpayers.

          Supplementary Member or STV would be my preferred options over MMP.

          Oh good grief.

          Cabinet government with possiblity of recall ever 10 years is more like it.

        • Hazards001

          Actually many people would love to go back to that or something similar. At least with 2 major parties the majority of the people were fairly represented and the minority parties kept in perspective. If now and again they appealed to the general demographic they got a boost up.

          Today we have a system that lets a bludging bastard like Brendan Horan draw a salary as an MP when he was never elected by anyone.

          We have constant episodes of the tail wagging the dog such as Peter DoneFuckingNothingButSuckOffThePublicTitFor20Years and Winnie the fucking Poo back at the trough and looking like being a king (queen if Robertson rolls Shearer) maker.
          MMP sucks Arse!

          • TomTom

            I agree MMP is shit, but it certainly was not representative. STV or SM is a much better and more even system. And if it does keep turning out minor parties, then, well that’s what the people want, that’s what the people shall get. Ugh.

          • Hazards001

            STV is what I voted for in the last fuckup we had that was labeled a MMP review or whatever it was called but was really John Key dropping the fucking ball and losing the opportunity to get rid of this trougher system we are probably now going to be stuck with till the end of days(mine anyway!)

          • Dave

            Hate to ay this to you Hazards, but if that is what it takes to get rid of MMP, so be it!!

          • Hazards001

            To late. The country had it’s chance but the cunts had the last say by putting so many confusing options on the table that the vote was going to be so split we’d end up with the system that satisfies the vocal minority and the troughers. Was always going to happen.

  • cows4me

    3 years for lefty suckhole dictatorship, 5 years for democratic right wing party and I mean democratic.

    • JonathanP

      Wow how clever and democratic of you.
      Perhaps you should go back to crayons instead of keyboards.

      • williamabong

        You must be in of the favour the lefty suckhole dictatorship

        • JonathanP

          Because I disagree with some garbage he spouted I’m immediately a leftie? Wow no Wonder national get a majority. Its easier to fool morons like yourself.
          I voted conservative if you’d like to know.

          • StupidDisqus

            So you’ll be hated around here then.

            Conservaties are hated more than Labour & Green & Mana & Maori combined.

          • JonathanP

            I actually threw my vote into the wind. Extremely stupid thing to do, ill be the first to admit it but I knew that my personal situation would go from bad to worse as it has under national, I didn’t trust labor to do anything of any real purpose, greens, well I dont really know nor care about them and In general I dont trust A SINGLE POLITICIAN OR MP. Cons were the new kid on the block, figured the least corrupted and placed a “what the hell” vote.

          • jonno1

            I don’t believe that your party vote was wasted JP. The Conservative Party got 2.6% of the party vote after being in existence for only a few months. And who gets invited onto Q&A and suchlike for a conservative viewpoint? Colin Craig, that’s who, when neither he nor his party are even in parliament. How often does that happen? Do the Libertarians or McGillicuddy Serious ever get invited to comment on anything?

            National has lost the plot as far as conservatism (aka Judeo-Christian ethics) is concerned and has left an enormous vacuum in the electorate. 2014 is going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

          • Dave

            So you vote & stand for NOTHING JP, and I thought an educated man would have taken a more considered and informed approach!

          • JonathanP

            Its hard to be considered and informed when ALL MPs are full of shit.
            Promising the world and delivering very little all in the aim of getting in power and getting that pay. After they are in the constituents matter very little, its those with the money and lobbyists that matter after the election.

      • cows4me

        Biting well today Jonathan.

        • JonathanP

          Yeah, took a day off for a very important event, had some free time so figured I’d come fly amongst the hornets nest.

          • Bunswalla


          • JonathanP

            Sons first day of school. Pretty important to me to be there to drop him off and pick him up. May not concern others but I aim to be in my sons life for every aspect and not leave it to others.
            Not an attack at you either Bunswalla.

    • StupidDisqus

      zero years for lefty parties. Once you’ve banned unions, even just public sector unions, no more $$ for Labour & Greens.

      ten years, say, for right wing parties. Worked for Singapore!

      • Polish Pride

        So why don’t you move there then? You might as well cut the BS and just go straight to full user pays liberalism as that is where your ‘genius’ system would end up. Oh and you need to factor in militarising the police to keep all the non net tax payers in check. In fact on second thought you’ll be lucky if you did end up with liberalism, it would be more likely to have to the way of facism in order to maintain control. What a wonderful country you would leave our children to live in (sarc).

  • Apolonia

    Four years, but only with binding CIRs.
    We need some checks and balances as we have; no upper house, no state governments and no effective constitution. The people need to be sovereign.

    • StupidDisqus

      The people need to be sovereign

      Fuck that. The nett taxpayers need to be soverign.

      No representation without taxation!

      • BJ

        Agreed. No contribution – No say

      • JonathanP

        So out of curiosity, those who are NOT nett taxpayers but still contribute to society and the economy through their labors and donations, what rights do they have? what rights should they have?

        • StupidDisqus


          • JonathanP

            I just love that you must wake up each morning so disappointed and bitter that the average common working man has rights.
            Oh and guess what, HE ALWAYS WILL.
            Can’t be a very nice life being negative and bitter all the time.

          • StupidDisqus

            HE ALWAYS WILL

            So say think. The “common working man [sic] having rights” is a vast historical and geographical anomaly. Most bludgers in the world don’t have rights -only in the “welfare west” to we enfranchise bludgers.
            (OK and India, but that doesn’t really count: their government doesn’t do anything).

          • JonathanP

            Then piss off to the east where you’ll be far more comfortable and accommodated instead of pissing and whinging about it here. You have a solution, put up or shut up.

        • Polish Pride

          its ok JP, I don’t think he really understands how an economy works including the part that even a beneficiary plays in keeping it going and growing.

          • BR

            I expect you are one of those people who believe that beneficiaries pay tax.


          • Polish Pride

            No. Now pay really close attention….. what beneficiaries and other low income earners do is spend 100% of the money they have in businesses (like supermarkets) who in turn employ people who in turn spend their money in the same supermarkets and in other businesses. Those businesses then employ even more people, who …well you get the picture.
            those businesses all pay taxes (gst, paye, income tax, fbt)
            Its called the economy.
            In short as surprising as this will be to youbeneficiaries and them spending they money they are given actually help the economy to grow.
            Take them out of the equation and businesses don’t receive as much money. They might have to inturn tighten their belts to survive, they might have to lay off staff, Staff who were spending money with other businesses,. Now those businesses earn less and have to tighten their belts so they lay off staff and so on. Of course thier will also be some businesses that have no more room to tighten anything and so they close down. This is where the economy shrinks or at best growth is sub par for what it could be.
            I expect you are one of those people that buy Nationals bs about beneficiaries and welfare being bad whilst handing out welfare paid for by the tax payer to corporates and see no problem there.

      • TomTom

        Or what about those who used WINZ in election year as it was intended to be used, a safety net to help those who suffer misfortune and need help getting back on their feet and keep their families clothed and housed in order to get back to work. Should they have no say for three whole years just because they weren’t a net taxpayer for the election year?

        • StupidDisqus

          Three years? Where did that come from?

          Once a bludger, always a bludger.

          • Polish Pride

            Actually I know a few people who work in the IT sector and had to go on the dole temporarily when the industry tanked at the beginning of the GFC. The industry has recovered and they are now back working.

          • TomTom

            Because that’s how long the current Parliament cycle is…. ffs.

      • unsol

        So who is a nett taxpayer? Are you?

        According to IRD & Treasury, only 10% of all taxpayers are nett taxpayers.

        And I doubt they have time to blog.

        I’m a nett taxpayer because the money I get is physically earned by my nett tax paying husband – he pays me to do our accounts. I also earned more than enough before becoming a mother to pay my way in terms of the public cost of my own birth, my state education, the subsidising I (& we all) received for my university fees & our child’s birth. Because of my tax contribution to date, the tax I still pay now & my husband’s tax contribution until he retires, we will have paid enough to ensure that all the public services we might use (not many – our daughter attends a public school now, but is likely to go private from year 7 & we have private health insurance & super savings) are more than paid for.

        But what about you?

        You love to claim you are one of us & boast of your private schooling & demand we should all ensure our children schooled privately (never mind the fact that some of us want value for our taxes rather than seeing it go to WFF recipients), yet have you paid your way? Do you pay your way now?

        Have you paid enough in tax for your own birth, that of your child/ren, local infrastructure that needs State funding, your NZ Super etc?

        I hope so. Otherwise that would make you a hypocrite.

        • StupidDisqus

          According to IRD & Treasury, only 10% of all taxpayers are nett taxpayers.

          Sounds about right. The same 425,000 who preregistered for the liability sale. They qualify for the vote. The rest, don’t qualify for anything.

      • Gazzaw

        So SD, I’m semi-retired now and pay just enough tax off my earned income to cover my super. Based on your arguments I am not contributing so I should be disenfranchised. Well fuck that for unbounded arrogance! I have paid literally millions into this country’s tax coffers over the course of forty years working and running my own businesses. You may have attended private schools (so fucken what) but aside from your old man forking out for your school fees what have YOU contributed that gives you the right to take away my vote? Same comments apply to you BJ.

        • StupidDisqus

          Huh? If you’ve actually earned your own money, paid for your kids education & healthcare, and are now living off a private pension you’ll be a nett taxpayer and no mistake.

          • Polish Pride

            so taking your example a little further why shouldn’t he/she who pays the most net tax get the biggest say. If your net tax is $1 in the positive why should you following a similar logic get the same say as me if my net tax is $1 million in the positive?

          • StupidDisqus

            Seems perfectly sensible to me. That’s the way shareholder votes already work now. Nett taxpayers are shareholders in the county.

            Obviously corporates are entitled to votes in this scheme

          • Polish Pride

            of course then the biggest corporates can skew the playing field in their favour, get rid of the competition and ramp up prices to obscene levels. In case you hadn’t figured it out, with all the competition gone thats well over half the working population laid off and riots in the streets. Try thinking things all the way through next time….

        • unsol

          Well said. I asked the same thing.

          He hasn’t quantified his position….

      • Mediaan

        You appear to be mellowing as you age.

        I thought it was “kein arbeit, kein essen”. You mean your revised position is, the non-nett taxpayers are going to be allowed to eat, just not allowed to vote?

        • StupidDisqus

          They’re not going to be allowed to vote
          whether or not they eat depends if they can find work
          – but its not up to government to provide work.

      • Most people are mouth breathers

    • Auto_Immune

      I’d argue the fact that we have no upper house, no state governments and no effective constitution is reason enough to keep our terms to three years.

    • Polish Pride

      We need binding CIRs whether it’s 3 or 4 years.

    • Binding CIR is for brainless people and cult parties to promote. Imagine the mayhem with such insanity.

      Term limits of politicians is more effective

      • Polish Pride

        bullshit Cam, there needs to be a way to hold politicians to account to the people they are supposed to serve during their term of parliament. being able to vote them out at the end of the 3 year term after they have screwed things up is bs. Or perhaps you think the politicians listen to the people and we don’t just have an elected dictatorship in this country.

  • GregM

    I voted 3 years. If they cut the bullshit and the continual political point scoring, and actually did some work like the rest of us, then 3 years is enough to get shit done.
    I also think they would piss about even more if it were extended to 4 years.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Me to. But expect the Politicians to go for 4 years 5 if they think they can get away with it and prime Minister for life for Key, not mention Shaples wanting to be carried out in a box. Must be a pain having to reapply for your job every 3 years.

      It is all about the money.

  • RightOfGenghis

    5 years for governments based on conservative, neo-liberal, economic liberal philosophies, 5 days for the rest

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Don’t change anything folks. Once the Sheep and his toxic crew gets in 2014, we don’t want to wait for 4 years to get rid of them again. NZ would have become Cyprus of the South Pacific by then bros.

  • I’ll happily support an increase in the power of the government (because that is what they will get in increasing the term, an increase in power of 25%) if voters have some way of restraining that power to balance it out. Given some of the laws passed in recent times, I think a voter veto on all private members bills and conscience votes.

    Edited to add: If they want 5 years, binding citizens initiated referenda as well.

    One more edit: For 6 years, we get to vote a member out of parliament every year.

    • Guest

      The last thing we want is more laws passed under urgency with little to no scrutiny and using natural disasters as vehicles to rush through said laws even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the disaster or it surrounding policy.

      • blokeintakapuna

        What laws are these?

  • Tony

    four years but only with some more checks – maybe even an option for the citizens to call an election if the party in power screws everything up.

  • Phar Lap

    Four years ,providing every Mp in Parliament has an electorate seat.No wet backs or imports,who are in the so called greens.

    • Rosina

      Agreed. 4 yrs but with the list being made up of electorate members only on election night. List as a % of vote in electrotate. How we got MP’s being chosen by political parties baffles me.

  • right wing governments should get 5 year terms. Socialist governments should be shot.

  • johnbronkhorst

    4 yrs!!!, look what blair did to the UK with 3 terms (of 5 years) and what Clarke did to us with 3 terms (of 3 yrs).

  • Cadwallader

    Why not seven years and have 50% of MPs up for re-election every 3.5 years? For this to work there’d be no list MPs. A good thing?

  • Can I choose three years when the left are in and five for the right?????

    Also there should be a inversely proportional term to number of weirdo support parties you have to cobble together to form a government.

  • More seriously. I do like the idea of a vote to change every 4 years first and then an election only a certain percentage wants it. Kind of shifts things back to FPP for an incumbent but then still has MMP when there’s mandate for change.

    Could be a reasonable compromise?

    • StupidDisqus

      Get rid of MMP is a no-brainer.

      But yes, elections ever 5 or 10 years should say 50% of nett taxpayers demand it is a useful brake on the executive.

  • thehawkreturns

    It is my long held belief based on 40 years of political interest, here and in the UK in particular, that the greatest progress NZ can make is to abandon the three year parliamentary term. The first year is spent learning the roles of the cabinet, the second is spent trying to achieve something, the third is wasted electioneering. The UK has a 5 year term, often shortened to between 4 and 5 years. I think this is much better as the government gets to do 2-3 years of work. I doubt NZ is mature enough to move to 5 but surely it can handle 4 years? The NZ record is generally to re-elect for a second term so we are already getting an effective 6 year term, handicapped by 2 full years of electioneering waste. And if you really want to get rid of waste look no further than the List seats.

  • BR

    I certainly wouldn’t want a 4 year term in a parliamentary system where some MPs are in government because their party, not the electorate, put them there.


  • Until FPP is reinstated, keep it to 3 years, I remember when MPs who were voted for & represented an electorate actually saw it through to the end of 3 years, instead of it being something you stuck at until something better came along, I grew up in the marginal Horowhenua seat, & even us kids at school would debate the differences between National & Labour, & more especially who would be the better candidate for our area, Now nobody cares who is actually representing us, because they are all mixed in with the non representative, unelectable List MPs under the non democratic system of MMP, & when it’s boiled down anyway, the list MPs dont give us more representation they only proportionately increase the numbers for each party equally, unless they are from a party that only had one MP voted with some on the coat tails, the truth of that is, that that kind of political party only represents less than 5% of the voters, MMP is a system that only forces which ever party that gains government to have to water down their policies to accomodate holier than thou minorities who can never be portrayed as ever doing any wrong by MSM, I’m afraid until MMP is done away with 3 years at a time is all I can stomach unless of course National & Labour would like to talk Grand Coalition & agree to play just as nice with eachother as they do with the minority parties they do deals with, under the current electoral system that is the only way I would agree with more than 3 year terms, in fact I would agree to 5 years under those circumstances, oh & psycological testing & profiling, & academic examinations for list MPs compulsory, because you have to weed out the crap if you want the best to flourish, instead of endless squeaky wheels, getting more attention than the issues, that we actually care about.

  • 5 years, but cap the number of terms at 3 or 4. One way of getting rid of career trough-dwellers.