Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lucia National and Labour and Referendums

Yesterday David Farrar wrote a post condemning Labour for their asset sales referendum when they were not interested in the the results of the anti-smacking referendum that was driven entirely by the people and not by parliamentarians and their staff and their government money.

Oh the irony.

There can be no doubt that the majority of New Zealanders want correctional smacking to be legal, and there was a referendum that said so by a massive 7:1 margin.

Now one can have the view that a party’s policy should triumph over a non binding referendum. I certainly hold that view.

But what is absolute hypocrisy is to be a party that ignored the results of this 2009 referendum, and then two years later to then demand that the Government should break its election policy on the basis of the asset sales referendum.

What many do not know is that a bill was selected for first reading in Parliament in 2010, just a couple of weeks after the referendum result. The bill would have implemented the referendum result by amending the law so that:

it is no longer a criminal offence for parents, and those in the place of parents, to use reasonable force for the purpose of correcting their children’s behaviour and there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force

The law was basically identical to what the referendum called for. Now how did Labour and Greens vote on this bill, just three weeks after the referendum? The voted it down (along with every other party except ACT) at first reading.

Now I think National should have voted for the bill, but at least National is consistent that their party’s policy over-rides a referendum result. They have never ever said that referenda should trump elections.

National was not consistent on the anti-smacking law, as they fought tooth and nail against it until John Key made a deal. Many people would have assumed (I was one of them who was hopeful) that once National got into power, given it's record on opposing the law change, they would overturn it irrespective of their party policy, ie do the right thing.

However, that's not what this post is really about. I was astounded to read that Kiwiblog post trying to use the smacking referendum against Labour when National is not squeaky clean with regards to how they treated it. To try and make political mileage out of it when National could overturn that terrible law tomorrow, is far worse in my mind than whatever Labour is up to with their asset sales referendum.

Both parties are just a joke.

Related link: A tale of two petitions ~ Kiwiblog

1 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...


I'd go further: No political party in NZ has ANY right to request and ask for non-binding referendums to make any difference to political outcomes after all parties ignored the results of the smacking referendum or distorted and excused the results to suit their purposes.

Since then, the Greens have demanded a halt to mining based on petitions of only 30,000, and a poll of only 1000 people apparently provides mandate for various policies. Labour and National pick and choose as you have described - and it's all proven to be a big joke, because if they cannot accept the will of the people when it doesn't suit them, then they certainly don't get to claim it when it does suit them.

Furthermore, Kiwiblog made the point on one topic (can't remember which) that if people didn't like National's policy, they could always vote them out.

Again, a joke argument, as in another post, suggests a 4 year (up from 3) year voting term making them less accountable, and ignores the fact that the NZ voter is starved for choice in sending messages to parliament.

I voted National in, only because it was important to vote Labour out. The fact that Labour policies are still coming through via the ballot and National speeding them through with compressed times for debate makes further mockery of any supposed difference between the parties.

This, and many other reasons, is why the concept of democracy is increasingly becoming a sham, and increasingly why Conservatives and Classical Liberals are being marginalised in favour of economic and social progressivism, which is essentially promoting a culture of self-interest at the expense of social stability. The short term gains might seem good, but the long term effects will become a large price to pay, and paid by our children.

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