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, 11 January 2010

Baldock update #9

Following is an update by Larry Baldock on the progress of his initiative campaign.

9 April, 2010

Dear Steve,

On the road

Collections over Easter have now brought us to the 10,000 signature milestone.
Yes there is still a long way to go, but the first 10,000 are much more difficult than the last 10,000 believe you me!

If we can achieve this in two months with just a handful of volunteers, imagine how easily the target can be reached when we all begin collecting!

What is it all about?

On the 10 March 1992 the Hon Muray McCully said in his speech on the first reading of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Bill that the new Act would “profoundly change the way in which we conduct our democracy in this country.” I am sure he probably had in mind positive rather than negative change, and he thought real power was being given to the people to be heard on important issues.

The reason for change in his opinion was because “our system permits the executive to have too much power. The Executive is too easily able to dominate Parliament and that Parliament has become the puppet rather than the master of cabinet.”

Of course New Zealanders in 1992 still had the option of recourse to the Privy Council, but when Helen Clark abolished that right in 2004, the power of the executive grew even greater.

The Prime Minister in this country controls the Executive and Legislative branches of our Government and the Attorney General appoints our Supreme Court Judges without much scrutiny. If we add to that the fact that the Queen appoints the Governor General only upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and the Governor General in this country then only acts upon the recommendations of the Prime Minister, you can begin to understand the extent of the abuse of power that can occur.

With no written constitution to define the boundaries of power, and no Upper House such as a Senate or House of Lords you can perhaps see why John Key may feel nothing wrong about telling parents to disregard the anti-smacking law, because he has instructed the otherwise independent police to not prosecute good parents who break the law.

Perhaps if the National Party had made Citizens Initiated Referenda binding when the Act was passed in 1993, we could have seen the fulfilment of Murray McCully’s envisaged 'profound change in our democracy'.

Unfortunately those of us who believe that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, must now follow the Member for East Coast Bay's advice when he said in the same speech in 1992,

“To those who want to step immediately to binding referenda, I say that they will have their opportunity when the legislation is in force to express that view by the mechanism that the bill will provide. In other words, those who wish to promote that referenda shall be binding will be able to initiate a non-binding referendum to demonstrate public sympathy for their view. I commend that course to them.”

I have attached my 'as yet unreplied to letter' to Hon Murray McCully for your interest.


Larry and Barbara Baldock

Upcoming events

We are still looking for volunteers to help over the V8 street race in Hamilton next weekend. Please let us know if you can be available April 16 - 18.

Barbara and I will be around the Auckland area for April and May so please let us know of any market days or events coming up.

Field days at Mystery Creek June 16 – 19


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