A fit for purpose democracy

The Opportunities Party (TOP) announces sweeping changes to New Zealand’s electoral, parliamentary and local governance processes.

“Our democracy needs a comprehensive review and a reset”, says TOP’s deputy leader Natalia Albert.

TOP’s Democracy and Governance policy suite proposes a range of actions designed to improve engagement, trust and transparency in Local and Central Government. 

“Our MMP system is not being used to its full potential - we still vote, debate and campaign like its first past the post” says Albert. “By lowering the MMP threshold, limiting the influence of large donors, expanding civics education and introducing modern, participatory governance platforms (like Citizen’s Assemblies), our democratic processes can better represent and connect with our  people.” 

“Like many New Zealanders, TOP also supports a shift to a four-year Parliamentary term”. 

In addition to proposed electoral reforms, TOP would introduce a set of Parliamentary reforms to rebuild citizen trust in Central Government, including an Anti-Corruption Commission, tightening of lobbying practices, a redesign of the select committee process and the appointment of a Future Generations Commissioner. 

Also included in the policy suite are a range of local government reforms including removing GST on rates, using ‘land value’ only for the rating base and a shift to a Ranked Choice Voting system. 

“A vibrant democracy needs active participants from across society - voters, media, private and public sector, candidates and politicians all have a role to play. Trust in our leadership and democracy is breaking down, because people and society have changed and the systems designed to connect them to power have not. Government needs to stop simply ‘informing’ and start genuinely ‘partnering’ with people, and that requires bold changes to the way we vote and make our voices heard” says Albert. 

TOP’s Democracy and Governance policy package includes: 

Electoral Reform 

  • Lower the MMP Threshold to 3.5% (as recommended by the Independent Electoral Review).
  • Introduce caps on political donations.
  • Strengthen our MMP system through civics education in schools, with a view to lowering the voting age to 16. 
  • Shift to a 4 year Parliamentary Term. 
  • Introduce more systematically innovative democratic techniques for consultation – both digital and participatory.

Parliamentary Reform

  • Introduce an Anti-Corruption Commission. 
  • Tighten regulation and transparency of lobbyists.
  • Upgrade the Select Committee system to improve performance. 
  • Appoint a Future Generations Commissioner. 
  • Reduce the number of sitting weeks for Parliament. 

Local Government

  • Remove GST on rates and use ‘land value’ only for the rating base. 
  • Develop a 30 year National Infrastructure Plan in collaboration with Central Government.
  • Support amalgamation of local and regional councils where supported locally. 
  • Shift to a 4 year term in line with Parliamentary elections.
  • Shift to Ranked Choice Voting (STV). 


You can learn more about our policy proposals here.