End of Parliament

Parliament finished this week to prepare for the elections on November 26th. When Parliament starts again, it will be a new government with some new MPs and many old ones. 14 MPs made farewell speeches because they are leaving. Our new government could be a National government or a Labour government or a coalition government where there is an agreement between a bigger party and some smaller parties.

After the Rugby World Cup finishes on Sunday, MPs will begin their election campaign. Already some billboards with photos of MPs have appeared but there will be more. We can expect debates between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, on radio and TV. We can also expect to get leaflets in our letter boxes – some from the candidates in our electorate and some from the political parties telling us why we should vote for their party.

In this election, we have two votes, one for the candidate and one for the party. In this election we also vote for or against MMP. If we don’t like MMP, we can vote to go back to FPP – First Past the Post. If most people vote to keep MMP, there will probably be some changes to make it fairer.

Listen to Nlovember 24th 2008 to hear about the last election results and Referendum on MMP to hear more about MMP.

MP – Member of Parliament
farewell – goodbye
campaign – the time when candidates try to persuade people to vote for them
billboard – a big poster usually high above the road
debate – discussion or argument
leaflet – sheet of paper with information
candidate – the person in your electorate wanting to be your MP
electorate – the area where you can vote for one MP
MMP – mixed member proportional; if a party gets x% of the vote, they get x% MPs in Parliament
FPP – the candidate who gets most votes wins e.g if A gets 51% of the votes and B gets 49%, A wins.

1. Do you think MMP is better than FPP or do you like a different system of voting?
2. Do you always vote? It is not compulsory in New Zealand (it is compulsory in Australia). Why do you think some people do not want to vote?
3. We have national elections every three years. Do you think this is the right length of time between elections?

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