Some systems better than others

This provides both local accountability and ensures that parliament mirrors the national popular vote.

Bob Conibear contends that proportional representation eliminates accountability, and that may be true in some forms, but in the form used by Germany and New Zealand, Mixed Member Proportional Representation, each voter casts two votes, one for a local representative and a second for a party.

This provides both local accountability and ensures that parliament mirrors the national popular vote. In other words, “In New Zealand, voters use the MMP voting system – Mixed Member Proportional. Its defining characteristics are a mix of MPs from single-member electorates and those elected from a party list, and a Parliament in which a party’s share of the seats roughly mirrors its share of the overall nationwide party vote.”.

This version of proportional representation is the form most favoured by those who have studied the alternatives precisely because it retains local accountability.

MMP most frequently produces minority governments, forcing people to figure out how to work together, something that has been sorely lacking in Canada for at least the last 30 years. It does not, however, guarantee this — New Zealand’s National Party has had a majority for several years now and this has served to reduce if not eliminate local accountability as all legislation is dictated by the prime minister.


Mark Hazell


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