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Kuniaki Nemoto, Robert Pekkanen, Ellis S. Krauss, and Nigel S. Roberts, "Legislative organization in MMP The case of New Zealand," Party Politics 18 (July, 2012), 503-521. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue4/ ]

First paragraph:
How do electoral systems affect legislative organization? Our article investigates this fundamental question. Specifically, we use the change in electoral systems from Single Member District plurality (SMD) to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) in New Zealand to illuminate the way in which different electoral incentives affect how the country's governing parties distribute cabinet positions. Because in SMD the outcome of individual local districts determines the number of seats a party wins collectively, we argue that it should provide incentives for parties to deploy cabinet posts in order to shore up the electoral fortunes of individual members. In contrast, because in MMP the total number of seats a party receives is determined by the votes in the proportional representation (PR) portion for the party, we hypothesize that the incentives to reward electorally unsafe members with cabinet positions should disappear.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. When Labour and National were in power
Table 2. Multinomial logit estimations for assuming cabinet ministership in New Zealand
Figure 1. Vote share and probability of being a minister, before 1993

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusions) Our examination of how parties distribute cabinet positions in New Zealand adds further evidence on the ways in which electoral systems influence political parties. Our results indicate that political parties in New Zealand respond to shifts in the electoral system by recalibrating their strategies for allocating cabinet positions. Labour and National cover a wide ideological spectrum and have diverse support bases. The fact that both parties responded in similar ways to the electoral system change increases our confidence that this phenomenon is not limited only to New Zealand.

Last updated August 2012