Better Democracy NZ is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation.

Our mission is to foster the improvement of New Zealand's democratic system and encourage the use of direct democracy through the

Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Friday, 6 February 2009

John Key on democracy

Now that we have a new government and a new Prime Minister in John Key, I find myself contemplating whether or not he will be more open to

a better democracy through Binding Referendums than his predecessor Helen Clark who was adamantly against the concept. About four years ago I confronted John Key at question time after he gave a speech at an investors conference in Auckland. He repeated what most politicians seem to regurgitate when confronted with the prospects of less power.

But when I spoke to him on a personal basis for some later on, he did comment that he would like to see referendums replace conscience votes in Parliament because they put politicians "between a rock and a hard place" as he put it. It has been almost impossible to get any comments from National since being elected so maybe now they are in power they will adopt the stance of "Government always knows best"? I can't help but feel our efforts are still better placed towards our new government though in our efforts to bring about Binding Referendums.


Anonymous said...

As I have seen countless times over politicians do what they want as soon as they get in to power. I believe the only logical way to stop this is through binding referendums.
I chose not to vote in the 2008 elections, because I will not support the idea of an elected dictatorship where we as the citizens of New Zealand do not get a say on important issues. A democracy has been invented by men that don’t trust themselves - is this really the message we as a nation want to send? It is about time we started trusting ourselves and all did our part in pressuring the new government to let go of the power they appear to be holding on to.

Dominic Baron said...

Your experience, Steve, reminds me of my attempts during the recent general election farce to get both Helen Clark and John Key to take the concept of BCIR seriously. Both brushed me aside with contempt.

And let me add in this classic piece of arrogant contempt from John Key quoted on the Family First site regarding the Referendum on the Sue Bradford bill:

You may be saying - 'but we're going to have a Referendum in August'. That's correct BUT the government has already indicated that the Referendum will not be binding. However, John Key has said "If I see good parents getting criminalised for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of discipline, I’m going to change the law if I’m in a position to do so. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if there’s a referendum or not." Investigate Magazine June 2008.

The law belongs to the people, John! It is for the people to decide what the laws that they wish to live by should be, John, not you and the 0.005% of NZ citizens that occupy seats in "parliament"!

Steve Baron said...

Well I have to say John Key was more approachable than Helen Clarke. Her stance was that we elect her to make all the important decisions so we don't need Binding Referendums. She then quickly turned and started speaking to someone else cutting me off abruptly. The important thing here is that at least two people (Me & Dominic) have confronted them on the issue of Binding Referendums. The more of us that do this the more these politicians will realise we mean business and aren't prepared any longer to put up with an outdated electoral system.