Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Labour government would get rid of 'coat-tailing'

Labour leader David Cunliffe. Photo / Ben Fraser
Labour leader David Cunliffe. Photo / Ben Fraser

Labour leader David Cunliffe now says his party would make it a priority to get rid of ''coat-tailing" under MMP if it leads the Government after the September election.

He says that within its first 100 days, Labour would remove the coat-tailing provision and lower the MMP threshold required for a party to get MPs without an electorate seats from 5 per cent to 4 per cent.

That was Labour's position to the Electoral Commission which reviewed MMP earlier this term but Mr Cunliffe has moved to harden the position in the wake of the Internet Mana alliance announced last week.

The two parties will stand separately in electorates but have a joint list, meaning that if Mana leader Hone Harawira wins his Te Tai Tokerau seat, and no others, and Internet Mana got about 3 per cent Party Vote, the alliance could get four MPs.

Mr Harawira's Labour opponent is Labour list MP Kelvin Davis.

National support party Act has used coat-tailing to get MPs into Parliament by winning Epsom but getting under five per cents.

New Zealand First also used "coat-tailing" in 1999 when Winston Peters kept his Tauranga seat but the party polled under five per cent.

Even Labour and the Greens sought to used coat-tailing in 1999 when then Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons stood in Coromandel and Labour voters were given the clear message it was okay to vote for her as an electorate candidate, in case the Greens did not make the 5 per cent threshold. In the event, the Greens did make the threshold.

- NZ Herald

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