NZ First MP Barbara Stewart’s Bill to reduce the number of MPs to 100 got its first reading in Parliament this week, and received enough votes to send it through to the select committee stage. The Greens were among the parties voting against the Bill, largely because of the detrimental effect it would have on the representative make-up of Parliament.
Traditionally, the idea of reducing the number of MPs has held a lot of currency with the public, probably because of the unfortunate association of MPs with bad behaviour, petty personal politics, and excess. The public see politicians as lazy, grandstanding, and out of touch with real people – so the fewer of them the better right?
Well, on face value it might sound good, but it just doesn’t stack up. In fact, as Nandor pointed out in his speech to the House on the Bill, the worst behaved MPs are actually the high-ranked senior MPs, and this Bill would get rid of the lowest-ranked list MPs – the best behaved! It would also have a very harmful effect on the gains that have been made in terms of better representation in Parliament for women, Maori and other minorities.
What do people think about this issue?