New Zealand has had MMP voting for our Members of Parliament for the last 16 years. MMP means Mixed Member Proportional. The system we had before MMP was called First Past the Post, like horse racing, where the winner was the one with the most votes. If one party got 51% of the vote, that party became the government. Now under MMP, small parties have a chance to be in Parliament. If a small party gets 5% of the vote or wins one seat, that party can have 5% of MPs. We have 120 MPs in Parliament so 5% is 6MPs. In the last 16 years, we have had small parties in Parliament like the Maori Party, ACT and the Greens. Some of these small parties agree to support a bigger party to give them more than 50% of MPs in Parliament.
During the last election, National promised there would be a referendum on MMP. Yesterday John Key said that in the next election, in 2011, we will have a chance to vote about this. Do we want to continue with MMP? Is there a better way to choose MPs? One possibility is to give 1 to your first choice, 2 to your second choice, 3 to your third choice and so on. Or we could go back to First Past the Post.