National Unsure About Backing ACT’s Four-Year Term Bill

Salim Ali
Published 1 month ago on 30 January, 2024
National undecided on ongoing support for ACT's four-year term legislation

National remains undecided on its ongoing support for ACT’s four-year term legislation, a move that has garnered considerable attention in New Zealand’s political landscape. The legislation, which seeks to extend the parliamentary term from three to four years, has sparked debate among parties and the public alike. National’s position is crucial as the bill progresses through Parliament.

Key takeaways

  • National has not solidified its stance on the four-year term legislation.
  • The ACT’s bill proposes making the four-year term optional and contingent on select committee control.
  • There is a history of public resistance to extending the parliamentary term.
  • Parties across the spectrum are considering the implications of a longer term.
The National Party is currently evaluating its position on the proposed legislation to extend New Zealand’s parliamentary term to four years, a significant change that could affect the nation’s political dynamics.

Public Resistance Versus Political Support

Despite political backing for a four-year term, National is cautious, reflecting on past public resistance. Referendums in 1967 and 1990 saw a clear rejection of longer terms. The current three-year limit is entrenched, requiring a supermajority or a referendum to alter, indicating the weight of this potential change.

Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith acknowledges the government’s commitment to address coalition promises in the bill. National’s indecision on the issue contrasts with leader Christopher Luxon’s personal support, highlighting the party’s careful consideration of the electorate’s views on the matter.

Contentious Aspects of the ACT’s Proposed Bill

The ACT’s bill includes provisions that could stir controversy, particularly the condition of making the four-year term optional in exchange for opposition control of select committees. This proposal aims to introduce additional checks and balances into the system, compensating for the extended term.

National’s ambivalence on the legislation reflects the complexity of the issue, with arguments for stability and policy implementation on one side, and concerns about democratic accountability on the other. The party’s ultimate stance will be a key factor in the bill’s trajectory.

Year Referendum Outcome
1967 68% against a four-year term
1990 69% against a four-year term
Current Term Three years (entrenched)
Proposed Change Optional four-year term with conditions

National undecided on ongoing support for ACT’s four-year term legislation remains a pivotal point in the potential shift of New Zealand’s political framework. As the debate continues, National’s final decision will be instrumental in determining whether the country will see an extension of its parliamentary term and an alteration of its political rhythm. The outcome of this legislative process will undoubtedly be a defining moment in New Zealand’s democratic history.


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