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Indecision over voting system change, poll suggests

Monday 9 Aug 2010 1:14 p.m.

The survey said, when pressed, those who were undecided leaned towards wanting a change (file pic)

The survey said, when pressed, those who were undecided leaned towards wanting a change (file pic)

There is still plenty of public indecision about whether to switch from MMP (mixed member proportional) to another voting system, but a new poll suggests a majority want changes in some form.

The ShapeNZ survey of 2261 New Zealanders showed 38 percent would vote to change to a different voting system, 32 percent said they would retain MMP, while 26 percent were undecided.

The survey said, when pressed, those who were undecided leaned towards wanting a change.

There will be a referendum coinciding with next year's election on whether to change the system, which was switched from FFP (first past the post) in 1996, and which system they would prefer. A vote for change would lead to a binding referendum being held in 2014, with any changes taking effect in 2017.

The ShapeNZ survey indicated that people would vote next year to proceed to a second referendum, which would be a run-off between MMP and the most favoured of four other options.

But it showed 32 percent of respondents considered MMP had been better than FPP and 29 percent thought it had been worse. Fifteen percent thought it was about the same and 17 percent didn't know.

Half the voters liked the diversity MMP brought to Parliament, while 41 percent thought it gave smaller parties with less than 10 percent of the vote too much influence.

Half of the respondents said they didn't like how candidates could run for an electorate and lose, but still be able to enter Parliament on a party list, and 43 percent didn't like the compromises required to form a government under MMP.

Campaign for MMP spokeswoman Sandra Grey said the survey indicated people were generally supportive of MMP but wanted to change aspects of it they didn't like.

"The ShapeNZ survey shows people regard the performance of MMP as better to the old first past the post," she said. "We think most people don't want to dump MMP, they want to make it better."

The survey was commissioned by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

NZPA

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