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
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
- Figures and
- 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
(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.