Duncan Garner: Our MMP system should be the envy of Australia and the UK

Opinion 04/09/2019

It's not often I wax lyrical about our politicians.

Indeed, I can't recall ever doing so. So today, let me try something for the first time.

Context is important - Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron - Brexit, turmoil, uncertainty and this morning a snap election looks even closer in Britain.

Heck, one of the PM Boris Johnson's MPs walked out on him right in the middle of his speech.

It's a shambles.

Now think Australia and Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, again, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison - chop change, chop change.

Listen up. We are lucky. Our politicians have made MMP work and should be congratulated for it.

New Zealand is a peaceful, stable, workable democracy under this MMP system in place since 1996.

You may not like the little parties wagging the tail on the big old rottweiler - but it's largely worked and for that, we should thank Jim Bolger, Helen Clark and John Key because they have led the way.

And now Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters are continuing. Actually, Winston's always been there.

Now, you may not like them personally, you may not like their policies, but you gotta give it to them, they have made this system work because they know they have to.

Success is the only option in a small country that trades with the world to survive and we have much to be proud of.

We have easy transfers of power, there are no military coups - although I am reluctant to give Winston Peters the one idea he hasn't tried over the last 40 years.

Even this latest odd bunch are making it work.

If anything, Jacinda Ardern was probably more surprised than anyone to be made PM, but she and Peters are making it work.

No big scraps, no coalition collapse, no snap elections. We should cherish what we have because we are the envy of the world in so many ways.

Just go to Australia and one of the first things they will tell you is that they would have taken John Key in a heartbeat.

These days, they regularly ask Jacinda Ardern if she'd like the big gig over there. They wish they had what we have and, as usual, we take it all for granted.

But a bit of praise where praise is due and well overdue.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.