Public hearing on MMP begins

You may have informed the Electoral Commission of your choice of the Representation System while voting in the General Election held on November 26, 2012 but you would have an opportunity to listen to the views of those who have given written submissions to the Electoral Commission.

The Commission has commenced public hearings on whether the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system of election should be retained or replaced by other popular forms of electing people’s representatives.

These hearings would be confined to those who have submitted their written opinions but are open to the public.

However, people can make written submissions on or before May 31, 2012.

Many are cynical that the process of public consultation is eyewash and that the government on the one hand and Parliament on the other would vote to retain the current system since it suits them better. However, political observes advice that we should not forfeit our right to expression and freedom of speech.

The MMP debate would gather momentum and gain further importance as the country begins its Constitutional Review and being the exercise to have the first written Constitution for New Zealand.

The public hearing for the MMP Review commenced in Wellington on April 23.

The following is the timetable for other cities:

Auckland: May 2 and 4 from 915 am to 5 pm at the Auckland Environment Court, Room 2.01, Level 2, 41 Federal Street, Chorus Building

Christchurch: May 9 and 10 at the Air Force Museum Theatre, 45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram

Hamilton: May 21, from 10 am to 5 pm at Maori Land Court, Level 2, BNZ Centre, 354 Victoria Street

Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden said these hearings provide an opportunity to hear directly from individuals and organisations that have made submissions to the MMP Review.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing over 150 submissions, in addition to the nearly 3000 written and online submissions that we have so far received,” he said.

“These hearings are open to the public and are a good opportunity to hear the opinions of others,” he said.

For further details, visit www.mmpreview.org.nz or call 0800-367656

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