24 Apr 2012

Winston Peters says MMP system being abused

9:56 am on 24 April 2012

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the MMP system is being abused by larger parties, which are propping up minor parties for their own gain.

Mr Peters presented his submission on Monday to the review of the electoral system being conducted by the Electoral Commission.

At present, a party must either win 5% of the party vote or an electorate seat to be eligible for list MPs.

Mr Peters says New Zealand First wants political parties to get at least 4% of the party vote, having won an electorate seat, before they can bring in list MPs.

The ACT Party has been targeted as one that has taken advantage of the current rules, winning the Epsom seat in the past few elections to secure its place in Parliament.

Its leader, John Banks, says it is a bit rich for some opposition parties to be calling for changes when they have in the past benefited from the current system.

The Labour Party wants the one electorate seat threshold abolished altogether, while National wants to retain the status quo and keep the threshold.

The Electoral Commission is to submit its final report to the Minister of Justice on 31 October.