New Zealand: Parliamentary Careers and Electoral Reform

Elizabeth McLeay

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 New Zealand: Parliamentary Careers and Electoral Reform

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At the end of the nineteenth century, New Zealand's MPs began to see their mandate as an occupation and therefore granted themselves full salaries. Yet, staffing remained poor until the 1970s, when parliament became more sophisticated, specialized, and policy-focussed. Political recruitment and careers were mostly channelled through one of the two dominant national parties; that changed in 1993 when the first-past-the-post electoral system was substituted by a mixed member proportional system resulting in a more diverse party system. But the electoral reform process itself also shows how the rather small, established political class of New Zealand tried to protect their endangered status first by resisting popular reform initiatives and then by manipulating their inevitable institutional outcomes.

Keywords: electoral reform; Maori; New Zealand; party duopoly; political class; remuneration; Westminster system

Chapter.  9850 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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