A majority of CEOs - 65 per cent - want New Zealand to scrap the mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system.

MMP does not aid the election of a decisive government capable of making tough decisions because "the senior party has to agree to too many compromises to attain power," says Martin Simons, chief executive New Zealand Media for Herald publisher APN.

Twenty-five per cent of survey respondents want MMP to remain. Ten per cent say they are unsure whether it should be kept. South Pacific Pictures CEO John Barnett cautions that New Zealand needs a system which acknowledges the mix of views that exists, "but which doesn't hold the country to ransom and create a short term attitude to legislation".

Others noted New Zealand was unlikely to see the major reform of any policy that might be unpopular at the time - but best for New Zealand in the long run - because MMP tends to result in coalition governments.


MMP will be put to the test during a referendum at the November 26 election.

If New Zealand does vote to scrap MMP, one-third of the CEO respondents want First Past the Post to be reinstated. This is the "winner takes all" system in place before New Zealand switched to proportional representation at the 1996 election.

The single transferable vote (STV) option was supported by 23 per cent. But those who were unsure (21 per cent) out-ranked those who opted for preferential voting (13 per cent) and the supplementary member system (10 per cent).

There is support for changing MMP, if it is retained. A company chairman suggests two basic changes: Lifting the threshold for representation from 5 per cent of the list votes to 10 per cent, and, removing the parties' entitlement to get list MPs into Parliament with just one electorate seat when the threshold for list representation has not been met. "One electorate seat should mean one electorate seat - it should not translate into an automatic percentage entitlement to party votes qualifying for seats."