The Opportunities Party calls for a referendum to lower the MMP Threshold

Today, the Independent Electoral Review released its interim report which proposes several key updates to the Electoral Act, with a strong focus on enhancing fairness in the electoral system. The Opportunities Party (TOP) is happy to see that many of TOP’s proposals to the Independent Electoral Review have been picked up, including lowering the threshold and restricting political donations to registered voters.

The Opportunities Party says the findings of the Independent Electoral Review set out necessary tools to strengthen our democracy and our electoral system, and follow international best practice.

Leader of The Opportunities Party, Raf Manji, emphasised the importance of improving fairness in our elections. “At the heart of a strong democracy is fairness. It ensures that every citizen’s voice is heard and that the electoral process reflects the will of the people.”

Manji welcomed the recommendation to lower the MMP threshold to 3.5% and abolish the coat-tailing rule. “The current 5% threshold is simply undemocratic. Our electoral system undermines the sacred principle that every vote counts - and at the last election 7.9% of voters were not represented in Parliament because they voted for parties who did not make the threshold. That must change.”

“The threshold distorts voters’ choices by causing them to vote for parties, not because they are their first choice, but because the party they prefer has little chance of reaching that threshold”.

“In 2012 the Electoral Commission recommended the threshold be dropped to 4%. I challenge our current politicians to put democracy ahead of maintaining their own political power and strengthen representation in Parliament.”

The Review also recommended restricting political donations to registered voters rather than organisations and capping donations at $30,000 for each party and its candidates per electoral cycle. Manji says that it’s a great step to ensure that we remove the loopholes that have allowed businesses to donate, without the public knowing who is actually donating. However, The Opportunities Party would go further, advocating for all donations to be reported.

The Opportunities Party who polled at 3.5% in 2023, has been a strong advocate for strengthening our democracy, with their submission to the Independent Electoral Review calling for a review of the threshold, the role of money in politics and the disproportionate advantages incumbents experience. The proposed updates to the Electoral Act are geared towards creating a level playing field and fostering a more inclusive and transparent electoral system.”