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The Political Class in Advanced DemocraciesA Comparative Handbook$
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Jens Borchert and Jürgen Zeiss

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260362

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199260362.001.0001

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New Zealand: Parliamentary Careers and Electoral Reform

New Zealand: Parliamentary Careers and Electoral Reform

(p.278) 15 New Zealand: Parliamentary Careers and Electoral Reform
The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Elizabeth McLeay

Oxford University Press

At the end of the nineteenth century, New Zealand's MPs began to see their mandate as an occupation and therefore granted themselves full salaries. Yet, staffing remained poor until the 1970s, when parliament became more sophisticated, specialized, and policy-focussed. Political recruitment and careers were mostly channelled through one of the two dominant national parties; that changed in 1993 when the first-past-the-post electoral system was substituted by a mixed member proportional system resulting in a more diverse party system. But the electoral reform process itself also shows how the rather small, established political class of New Zealand tried to protect their endangered status first by resisting popular reform initiatives and then by manipulating their inevitable institutional outcomes.

Keywords:   electoral reform, Maori, New Zealand, party duopoly, political class, remuneration, Westminster system

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