First published in 1998, this volume is based upon the files of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System plus extensive interviews with the Commissioners, cabinet ministers, MPs and officials, as well as leaders of the principal pressure groups. It seeks to place this highly important change in context, reviewing both the long-term trends and shorter term considerations which led to the adoption of MMP, as well as the immediate consequences It is an axiom of political science that whatever promises political parties may make about electoral reform, as governments they do not kick away the ladder that brought them to power.

This book seeks to discover how and why that axiom was disregarded in New Zealand, and, above all, how a reputedly conservative party was ultimately responsible for the change. It provides an object lesson in both how, and how not to change an electoral system and should be of particular interest in countries with simple plurality electoral systems.

chapter 1|17 pages

The Setting: Constitutional Evolution

chapter 2|19 pages

Early Electoral Experiments

chapter 6|35 pages

Political Obfuscation

chapter 7|42 pages

The Campaign for Electoral Reform

chapter 8|30 pages

The Maori Dimension

chapter 10|48 pages

The Transition to MMP

chapter 11|25 pages

Consequences and Causes