The Winston saga should not lead to calls for a review of MMP. Other things may, though
I get a bit tired of all these rabblerousers who, when there's a problem with honesty, commitment and integrity in Parliament such as the current saga over Winston Peters, or the defection of Gordon Copeland from UnitedFuture but remaining in Parliament, are quick to point the finger at MMP and call for a referendum on our electoral system.
Chapman Tripp partner Andy Nicholls is not one of them. However Nicholls indicates that the Peters' saga shows that it is time for a review of MMP. I disagree. Nicholls, himself states that MMP creates hostage situations.
That's rubbish. Perhaps rules within MMP could potentially lead to such situations. But current problems with Peters, and Helen Clark's inept response is not because of an electoral system, its more because Members of Parliament put their own power tripping interests before honesty and integrity, thus creating their own problems.
MMP, like any electoral system and the MPs within it , is not perfect. Critics point to things such as the five percent thresshold, the Maori Party hangover, Copeland's UNited Future defection, Green Party list leapfrogging to get Russel Norman in Parliament and MPs like Rick Barker being voted out and making it back in on party lists - and even to Cabinet.They even point to the Maori seats, but don't discuss the Maori Electoral option which potentially increases the seat numbers. state that the numbers of them Maori seats could also be amended under an MMP system which can also be amended
All of which can be removed under an MMP system and all of which have nothing to do with Winston Peters' behaviour - except MMP is the reason that he is in Parliament. Yet if we had an MMP system where a party had to get at least one electorate seat to qualify for list seats, we would have had MMP without Winston Peters - or the Greens for that matter.
Calling for a referendum on the electoral system is cop out, retaining it with amendments to the threshold and qualifications for list seats is preferable. But even if Winston Peters was elected to Parliament under a MMP system whereby a party has to get one electorate seat to qualify for list seats, the current problems would remain.
So don't blame Winston Peters' nutcase antics on the electoral system, because his antics don't even indicate that it is time for a review of our electoral system, less so a referendum. There are other factors that come to play which are more relevant.