Monday, July 21, 2014

Lucia Totally against binding Citizen's Initiated Referenda

Arghh, what is Colin Craig thinking?

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he would not form a Government with National unless it agreed to introduce binding referenda.

Mr Craig confirmed the party's bottom line for potential coalition talks at its annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon, attended by around 120 delegates.

In his keynote speech, he said: "We are not playing a mystery game. We are being upfront with the electorate.

"The thing that we want, that will be required if a party wants our support, is that they are going to need to agree to a change whereby that the people of this country have the right on those rare occasions ... to tell the government where to go and what to do."

Oh well, they won't be going into coalition with National, then.

I'm personally against making citizens initiated referenda binding the Government. The closest thing I would support would be a Voter Veto on Parliament's conscience votes. That would mean any legislation passed by politician's consciences would be then subject to approval by the people. If politicians don't want their moral decisions overturned, then their only option would be to make whatever the issue is a party issue. On that basis, I doubt that same-sex marriage would have stood, it would have been voted out by the population.

I also don't believe that Conservatism really supports binding referenda - it's more an anarchistic thing. The stuff of revolutions. Conservatism is for stability, not for providing a back door method to have the Government controlled by the mob on any issue whatsoever. So, if we all voted for abolishing existing mortgages - how is that going to work? An extreme example, but possible under a binding referenda.

New Zealand doesn't have a history of binding referenda, therefore we don't have experience with needing to be prudent with the type of power that these can give and therefore maybe unable deal with a Kim Dot Com type takeover of the process. Imagine if Kim managed to get enough people to vote to keep him in the country. Maybe he could promise each person who voted for him a cash bonus. I don't want to give him ideas, but that's the sort of backdoor thing that could happen.

I wouldn't be surprised if Colin Craig just can't see past the anti-smacking referendum to all the other possibilities that are out there, just lurking in the background.

Related link: Colin Craig reveals Conservative Party's bottom line ~ NZ Herald

6 comment(s):

the conservative said...

Maria, I like the idea of binding referenda; however, I don’t
like Craig’s model. I don’t like his 67% pass threshold nor do I like the idea
of having them for anything. I think on principle, the idea is okay but it
really needs some serious work. One commenter on my site offered this solution
which I quite liked:

“I think it should be:

Greater than 60% referenda applies immediately and cannot be asked again for 10 years

Less than 40% -- referenda rejected and cannot be asked again for 10 years

Between 40% to 60% asked again in 1 year when a simple majority applies”

As for Craig’s referenda bottom line push, I would think it
has something to do with Laurence and Katrina Day, the Conservative Party’s big
$675,000 donors; they are very strong on referenda:

William Stout said...

That's similar to the California model. In my opinion, by adopting such a model you weaken the Executive and subject the legislative to the caprice of the people. While the measure is certainly more democratic, democracy usually finds a way to destroy itself fairly quickly. It is why the States went with a representative Republic. One should think long and hard before making such a choice, as you point out.

Lucia Maria said...


So, very wealthy donors directly driving the way the Conservative Party will go. Just more obvious that the other parties.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi William,

We have no chance of the republic model similar to the US being implemented in NZ, even if we move away from the monarchy, which is unlikely. But then, this binding referenda concept will never happen - our parliamentarians do not want to be directed by the population in any way.

Pete Thecurious said...

It works in Switzerland. Just get the handbook. Judging by results from this distance; not too shabby.

Elsewhere politicians like power and they think they are guardians and not managers. If they weren't so power hungry they could find it easier letting the people decide the big hard issues with binding referendum.
In NZ we could start by shooting a few elephants in the room. Abolish the racial based Maori seats for a start.
Ban the Haka at sports matches .....nah; just kidding

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Pete,

Yes, it does work in Switzerland. They do have quite a few things that I like, though their gun ownership traditions would freak out our socialists, not to mention their schooling system whereby after elementary school, most children start working apprenticeships and attend school on or two days a week (see
Information about Education in Switzerland

Switzerland is radically different from NZ, and I don't think that we have the traditions in place that support control of the government the way the Swiss do. Approach with caution should be the byword of the conservative.

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