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.


Monday, 29 June 2009

Our Submission on Auckland Council Bill

This is the submission we have made. Submissions closed last Friday.

26th June 2009

Submission on the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill

To the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill committee

Democracy can mean many things to different people. The word conjures up a feel good
factor whenever it is used. Because of that it runs the risk of meaning nothing at all. For some, simply voting once every three years at local body elections is considered democracy, to others this could be considered an elected dictatorship. Many politicians seem to believe that democracy is well served if the people simply make submissions to a Select Committee, like this one. In our view this is not satisfactory and neither is this Bill. It fails to give Aucklanders a real say in matters that directly affect their lives and reduces democracy for two reasons.

1. It does not allow for the people of Auckland to assert their democratic right to
have a say on controversial and polarizing issues in between elections, as it does not provide for binding citizens initiated referendums to take place when the people
decide it is important to have them. Neither does it provide for the option to initiate a recall of any council member who is not performing to public satisfaction.

2. It breaches the fundamental right of democratic governance in that any change to a
system of governance should be agreed to by the majority of those governed.

The ultimate insult to democracy is that the people of Auckland do not get to make the final decision, after consultation, via binding referendum, on this constitutional type change. Our elected representatives should be ashamed of themselves for calling this democracy.


We therefore insist that provisions for binding citizens initiated referendums and the recall be included in the final Act and that a binding referendum be held to endorse the Act.


1 comment:

Dominic Baron said...

Excellent, Steve. It will, of course, be totally ignored. That's why I would have left out the sentence:
"Our elected representatives should be ashamed of themselves for calling this democracy."
We do not have democracy - period!
Those self-selected people who get to sit in that thing they call "parliament" represent no-one except their own selves. Then that 0.005% of the citizens of NZ presume to impose their "laws" on the remaining 99.995%... That cannot logically be called democracy.