New Zealand is ready for four-year parliamentary terms.
This is the view of the Maxim Institute and one with which I agree.
In a submission (see attached) to the Constitution Advisory Panel released today, Maxim Institute Researcher Kieran Madden argues that a fixed four-year term strikes the right balance between effective government and governmental accountability.
“Voters should have regular opportunities to tighten the reins on their elected representatives, but this must be balanced with the need to allow governments sufficient time to carry out what they promised and respond to problems as they arise,” says Mr Madden.
“With the changes to our constitutional landscape brought about by the move away from first past the post and the powerful majority governments it tended to produce, it is now time to look seriously at shifting the balance to allow more time for governments to govern well.”
“MMP has made enough of a difference to the way the powers of government are distributed and the legislative process carried out that the time is now right for Kiwis to decide this question at a referendum,” says Kieran Madden. . .
Three-year terms are short by international standards.
Even though one-term governments are rare, an election every three years slows down progress, adds uncertainty which impacts on growth, reduces productivity in the public sector and adds costs.
A four-year term would require less public money than three-year terms and it would also demand less from volunteers who make a significant contribution to election campaigns.