I've been asked what I think of extending the Parliamentary term.
4 years would be better for many reasons. It would enable politicians to do necessary things that need more than three years to prove themselves. But what would they actually use it for? In a campaign for lengthening the term they should be asked what they could do in four years that they can't do in three. But who will have the courage to float examples? The examples will be contentious, and recycled as a threat to floating voters at the next election.
Still, a four year term could have dynamics that would allow major parties to be less concerned about the floating middle. They might drop some knee jerk (deceitful) opposition to policies they know are best at least during the first couple of years of a term.
I’ve written a number of times (including as a member of the last Constitutional Select Committee) about the dangers of constitutional change when people are free of external threat, or internal exhaustion from strife. Both lead to a focus on the common values and interests of people who share a land. The people at such times know why we must cooperate and live by rules that are fair, and not just designed to advantage those who get their hands on the levers of power.
Yet I’d probably be supporting 4 years if we’d gone back to something like FPP where it was easier to dump the buggers who ignore constituent opinion. MMP has entrenched the power of the unrepresentative holders of the balance of power, and the power of party bosses.
On current indications however I predict that people will not have enough trust in current leadership to make the change, with good reason.
The Waitangi demonstrations of capitulation in all parties to people who are unprincipled but tougher than them, and more determined, warns us all subconsciously that we may need to change our leaders more often than they want, or is even good for us.
Any linking of the term question with other constitutional proposals connected with the Treaty will remind people that our leaders and our constitutional debate cannot avoid placating racialists. They'll wonder whether the people who would get the increased power of longer in office may not really be the champions we subconsciously look for, to stand up for us.