If MMP wins the referendum, as I expect it to do, it will be a victory in the toughest of circumstances:
- National voters are statistically the most opposed to MMP, and National is and has been at its strongest ever in recent months.
- The one major flaw in MMP – the ability to coat-tail extra MPs in by creating a situation where a minor party can win an electorate seat, due to an accommodation with a major party – was exploited cynically and publicly in both Epsom and Ohariu.
- This election was going to have a low turn out, and a low turnout should have hurt MMP’s chances.
- The Rugby World Cup and the General Election sucked away many opportunities for informed debate about fairness, proportionality and good governance. It allowed potential misinformation to flourish uncorrected. Despite all that most voters I talked to already understood what MMP was and how it was different from non-proportional systems.
If MMP wins despite all those factors, I don’t think anyone can complain any longer. I’m looking forward to the review now – and in particular a fix that stops the sort of tomfoolery we saw in Epsom and Ohariu.