8 May 2011

Anti-MMP team works on referendum campaign

7:33 am on 8 May 2011

Opponents of the MMP electoral system will launch a new campaign early next month to fight the November referendum.

The referendum to be held at the general election will ask voters whether they want to retain the Mixed Member Proportional system.

The campaigners say they will not seek a return to the first- past- the-post voting system used before the introduction of MMP in 1996.

Instead, they will call for MMP to be replaced by the Supplementary Member (SM) system.

This involves a small party list, a large number of electorate MPs and a ban on politicians standing for an electorate as well as the list.

A push was made for Supplementary Member system last year by anti-MMP stalwart Peter Shirtcliffe, and journalist and publisher Graeme Hunt, who died earlier this year.

Mr Shirtcliffe, 79, does not want to lead a new campaign. He says a new team is working on its launch.

A group supporting MMP is already working, led by a Wellington political scientist, Sandra Grey.

If more than half of voters in the referendum support MMP, the system will be kept and reviewed, but if more than half want it changed, another referendum will be held in 2014.