The latest research of the Electoral Commission shows the public’s understanding of the MMP system has declined since the 1999 election. Similar declines occurred in the year after the 1996 election.
While 70 percent of the public know they are entitled to make two votes and 69 percent know the purpose of both votes respondents to the survey did not fare quite so well with knowledge of other aspects of the electoral system.
The research carried out last month showed that knowledge that the Party Vote is more important in deciding a party’s share of seats in Parliament has declined from 70 percent at the election to 58 percent. Knowledge of the role of the party list is down from 49 percent to 45 percent.
The level of understanding of both the criteria by which a party can enter Parliament is down from 37 percent to only 26 percent.
However, almost three-quarters of those surveyed stated some degree of interest in politics generally (74 percent) and about four in ten voters claimed to have a ‘great deal’ or ‘some’ knowledge of politics in New Zealand.
The research showed that females, youth, Mäori and Pacific Island people continue to have lower levels of knowledge of MMP than other demographic groups.
The Commission’s Chief Executive, Dr Paul Harris, said today the agency has begun planning for a comprehensive public education programme on MMP ahead of the next election in 2002.
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