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

Peter Dunne talks referendums

As Ohariu MP and the Leader of United Future Party, Peter Dunne has had a lot more to say about referendums recently as reported on Some years ago I was invited to Wellington by the United Future Party where I addressed them about Binding Referendums. They were very welcoming and had numerous questions to ask concerning the process it would take, along with several concerns that most politicians seem to raise. Peter Dunne has always struck me as a level headed and sensible politician and I felt the meeting went well and that I covered their concerns. I was disappointed to be informed sometime after that the Party would only support referendums under certain circumstances. Most of which I felt were just a Clayton's offering. The kind of referendums you have when you don't really have them? Their website says...

Conscience Issues: It is United Future policy to:

Send automatically to a public referendum any conscience issue passed by Parliament with less than 60% support.

Make binding the result of the subsequent referendum only if the motion is supported by more than 50% of registered voters.

Peter is now pushing for a referendum on the future of MMP in 2010 as well as a referendum on the future of Maori seats in conjunction with the MMP referendum, with a view to abolishing the seats by 2014. (Giving effect to the recommendation in the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System.)

While they are making the right sounds from my perspective, I don't think they really believe in real democracy. They only seem to want Binding Referendums when it suits their cause. However, at least we are getting more and more politicians talking about the referendum process which rarely if ever happened before we started our lobby group. I'd be interested to hear comments from any United Future members on this subject.

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