Heather Roy

4 August 2020

I campaigned in five elections from 1996 to 2008 and was more peripherally involved in the 2011 election campaign, before retiring from politics. Each election I spent more time explaining to prospective voters how MMP works than I did talking about party policies.

Despite the fact we’ve now had MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) for quarter of a century and first time voters know no other system it still creates confusion. In an attempt to simplify the explanations we’ve put together VoterTorque Podcasts 7 (MMP Basics) and 8 (MMP Pro’s and Con’s)

MMP Basics looks at the history of MMP, how election day votes determine proportionality in the NZ Parliament and how the electorate vote and party list vote calculate the number of MPs a party gets:


MMP Pro’s and Con’s talks about some of the myths of MMP – things like “list MP’s aren’t real MP’s”. As a former list MP there is nothing more likely to wind me up! We look at the good things about MMP – better representation of the population, better mix of ideas brought to the political table and a fairer way of electing the government a majority of people want. And we talk about the down side – more consensus means the decision-making sometimes takes longer, the effect the very short political 3 year term has and how the 5% threshold prevents real democracy by making it near impossible for new parties to get across the line:


No political system is perfect, and despite the hankering of some for a return to First Past the Post, it would not deliver fairness or true representation. MMP serves New Zealand much better than any of the other options.