A Social Democratic Party created in December 1991 by a number of groups including the Democrats, in order to provide a more effective opposition to the social reforms undertaken by Bolger's National Party. In the 1993 elections it gained 18.3 per cent of the popular vote, but because of the first-past-the-post electoral system, it only gained two seats in parliament. This under-representation of its voters was a major cause for the introduction of a proportional representation system (MMP). The NZ Alliance gained thirteen seats (10.3 per cent of the vote) in 1996, and ten seats (7.7 per cent) in 1999. It became the junior partner in a coalition with the Labour Party, though some of its left-wing demands on government, as well as debates about its response to September 11, led to a split. Its leader, Jim Anderton, defected, and led the Progressive Coalition into the 2002 elections. These produced a dismal showing for both factions, with the Alliance gaining no representatives, while the two Progressive Representatives supported the Labour government. Jim Anderton became the sole MP returned for the Progressive Party in 2005, whereupon he entered a 'coalition with Labour, becoming Minister of Agriculture.http://www.alliance.org.nz.The official website of the Alliance Party.http://www.progressive.org.nz.The official website of the Progressive Party.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).