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.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Better Democracy New Zealand website & democratic tools

Have you been to our new updated website and our Facebook page

Many new and exciting features not to be missed.


P.S. Our old blog will no longer be used and you will no longer receive notifications like this one unless you friend us on Facebook.


Sunday, 6 July 2014


The Better Democracy New Zealand blog has now been discontinued.

Please visit


visit our Facebook page

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Is a paradigm shift happening in the democratic world?

Politics must be changing when British politicians talk direct democracy! Nigel Farage has said UKIP wants to give people direct democracy - with referendums to decide some policy.

Click here to watch the video

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Gregory Ferenstein: What Happens When Silicon Valley Experiments With Direct Democracy

Like a few other cities, the city is letting some citizens vote directly on how the city spends its money. But, of course, it's adding an online twist.


Monday, 2 June 2014

Press release:

2nd June, 2014

For immediate release:

New Zealand suffering from democratic deficit says lobby group:

Fast-tracking the introduction of Internet voting and ensuring that governments implement the outcomes of Citizen’s Initiated referenda are two ways to address New Zealand’s democratic deficit, according to a newly released documentary this week.

While most New Zealanders probably believe they live in a democratic society, Better Democracy New Zealand and its Founder, Steve Baron, suggest otherwise and have produced a documentary to substantiate their argument.

In the You Tube documentary, which is already attracting a large number of viewers and positive reaction, Better Democracy New Zealand suggests a number of significant changes to New Zealand’s democratic system. These include using the rollout of Ultra-fast broadband to address inadequacies in the voting system by enabling online voting, scrutinising legislation coming from the House of Representatives and introducing a direct democracy system that is enjoyed by more than 70% of Americans and all Swiss citizens.

The documentary titled, New Zealand’s Democratic Deficit, raises issues about many other aspects of the New Zealand political system;  the fa├žade hiding what actually happens in Parliament, the quality of political leadership and their disregard for political processes, the lack of a codified Constitution, the fallacy of entrenched laws, the dilemma of ‘conscience votes’ in Parliament, the abuse of the ‘urgency’ process, along with what the documentary is calling New Zealand’s “Hall of Shame” which highlights the dark side of numerous past and present Members of Parliament.

Steve Baron says, “The feedback from people viewing the documentary has been very encouraging and the content has struck a chord with New Zealanders right across the political spectrum because they know there’s a problem with their political system but they just haven’t been aware of what the solution is, until now. It’s time we took a deep and thoughtful look at our very weak political system and made much needed changes”.

“It’s ironic that the Internet Party, which announced Laila Harre as its new leader this week, doesn’t even advocate for the use of the internet to improve our electoral system, says Mr Baron.

This documentary leads the viewer to consider what it suggests are powerful tools New Zealanders can use to resolve this democratic deficit—direct democracy, the Swiss based system of binding Citizens’ Initiated referendums, Veto referendums and Recall referendums which have held the Swiss political system in high regard by many political scientists around the world for over 140 years.

Mr Baron says, “We give our politicians too much power with the only check and balance being an election every few years which simply isn’t satisfactory in a modern, well educated, well informed society which now demands more say over issues that directly affect their lives”.


This documentary may be viewed at

For more information please contact:

Steve Baron


Ph: +61457032081


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Swiss Minaret ban three years on


New Zealand's Democratic Deficit video

Check out our latest video production which is an insight into the problems facing New Zealand's democracy.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dominic Baron: Our Constitutional Spokesperson


Better Democracy New Zealand is also pleased to announce that Dominic Baron is our Constitutional Spokesperson. Dominic was born in Buenos Aires in 1943 and educated in Argentina, Switzerland, England, and Spain.  He is tri-lingual, speaking English, French, and Spanish and is an information technology specialist having worked in IT for over 40 years for companies in England, USSR, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. Dominic has long held a special interest in Constitutional issues and recently put in a huge amount of work to produce our recent submission to the Constitutional Review Committee.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Gary Holmes: Our new Local Body Spokesperson

Better Democracy New Zealand is pleased to announce that Gary Holmes is the latest addition to our team as our Local Body Spokesperson.

Gary Holmes has been involved in local body politics for the past 18 years and served three terms as a North Shore City Councillor from 1998 – 2007 and is currently in his second term as a member of the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board in the Auckland Council.

Gary has always been a strong advocate for participatory democracy and while a city councillor attempted to introduce binding citizens initiated referendums at North Shore and argued strongly that major decisions such as the sale of airport shares should be determined by referenda.  He is also a strong supporter for constitutional reform.

Gary has a background in public relations and, outside of his political role, manages the operations and activities of three Auckland business associations.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

An interesting article by Professor Martin Devlin taking Sir Geoffrey Palmer's swipe at direct democracy prior to Christmas, to task.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Winston Peters on Direct Democracy

Steve Baron interviews Winston Peters from the New Zealand First Party about direct democracy.


Colin Craig on Direct Democracy

Steve Baron interviews Colin Craig from the Conservative Party about direct democracy.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Swiss Voters Use BCIR for Basic Income Poll

100,000 Swiss voters  recently  used their voting power to petition a referendum  on a guaranteed Basic Income . Please note BCIR New Zealand has no policy on the Basic Income .


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Please donate and help us spread the word about this new fundraising initiative to raise funds to create a new video about the lack of real democracy in New Zealand. Thank you in advance.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

BCIR's Steve Baron on the Voting System


Monday, 29 July 2013

Citizens' direct democracy, new system

An example of improvements towards more direct democracy, assisted by internet and mobile phones.

We should introduce this and better systems in UK and our countries and cities.

In early 2012 the Finnish parliament made law which enables a large number of citizens to put forward a law proposal. The proposers have six months to collect 50 thousand endorsements which is about 1.2 percent of eligible voters.

The proposal can be in the form of a drafted law and assuming that certain standards have been met the parliament is obliged to treat the proposal like a parliamentary "bill".

This is not full "citizen-led" (direct) democracy because, even if parliament rejects the proposal and refuses to put it into law, no referendum or plebiscite of the electorate must follow.

So, the Finnish citizens' initiative might be termed an agenda-setting tool, with small teeth (e.g. parliament must process and debate or consider the proposal and may NOT simply ignore it).

This innovation in governance shows some features of "electronic democracy" (e-democracy). Statements of support from signatories may be collected electronically or in paper form. The government has set up an online system to collect statements of support. A self-management system may also be used subject to certification by the Communications Regulatory Authority. An NGO named Open Ministry has assisted people and groups wishing to make a law-proposal. Open ministry states that in one case "the threshold of 50 000 supporters needed to pass the initiative to Parliament was met within 9 hours of launching the campaign and by midnight some 120 000 people had signed the initiative with their online bank codes or mobile phone."

A recent successful campaign has produced a law proposal which aims to reduce penalties on small-scale private downloading from peer-to-peer networks. In Finland as elsewhere, strong public opposition has grown against draconian penalties imposed for apparently trivial on-line offences involving "downloads".
report by

Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB  Link to site index  Election campaign call


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Trust in the collective wisdom of citizens - the Greek experience

Greece has been the poster child for European economic crisis, but former Prime Minister George Papandreou wonders if it's just a preview of what's to come. “Our democracies," he says, "are trapped by systems that are too big to fail, or more accurately, too big to control” -- while "politicians like me have lost the trust of their peoples." How to solve it? Have citizens re-engage more directly in a new democratic bargain.
George Papandreou draws on lessons learned from the Greek debt crisis as he helps guide the EU through difficult waters


Monday, 15 April 2013

Constitutional Review Debates

The first in a  Sunday series  on  National radio on the basics  of  our constitutional  review


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Helen takes exception to the draft Constitution Title

What does everyone else think ?  Is having the  word "Aotearoa"  in or out of the Constitution a dealbreaker for many people ?  Would  reading it stop you  reading any further ?

I have only got to the cover page of your Constitution but before I read any further I take issue with calling our country Aotearoa/New Zealand.  We are New Zealand and any change to our country’s name should only be by referendum.  Slowly Aotearoa is creeping in as part of our country’s name, when it isn’t.  Before we know it the New Zealand part will be dropped and we will just be called Aotearoa and this must never happen without a referendum.  I will personally oppose it strongly whenever it comes up.  We are New Zealand and its people are New Zealanders first and foremost. Next thing we will be called Aotearoans or something equally ridiculous.

So, I oppose that part of your Constitution before I go any further.  I cannot support it whilst Aotearoa is connected to our country’s name

Saturday, 13 April 2013

New Zealand Constitution - draft

Special thanks to Steve Baron  & Dominic baron  for many hours put into  devising this  demonstration  Constitution for New Zealand .  They believe a Constitution must grow organically & be a true  initiative of the  people of New Zealand , rather than  of  the existing  parliament & political parties  who are too influenced  by  the dsire to protect their power .


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Australian Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013

Submissions being sought NOW !

Could this bill provide an example for New Zealand ?

The reasons for the referral are for the Committee to consider [ & seek  public submission ] 

1. Citizens' Initiated Referendum (CIR) promotes greater openness and accountability in public decision-making.
2. Laws instituted as a result of a CIR are more clearly derived from the popular expression of the people's will.
3. Government authority flows from the people and is based upon their consent.
4. Citizens in a democracy have the responsibility to participate in the political system.
5. The Inter Parliamentary Union's call on member states to strengthen democracy through constitutional instruments including  the citizen's right to initiate legislation.

Citizen Initiated referendum Bill 2013

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Australian Senate Bill for Citizens Initiated Referenda

YOUR opportunity to make a submission - see below 

-------- Original message --------
From: Ronald Evans <>
Date: 20/03/2013 18:26 (GMT+10:00)
To: Evans Ronald <>
Subject: Inquiry into Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013

Behold, I bring glad tidings. Please see below.

 Ladies & Gentlemen, this is a once in a lifetime chance to get Citizens' Initiated Referendums (CIR) so please do whatever you can to express your support. You could send a very brief statement to the committee merely saying that you support this proposal. Just one page, not many minutes of your time, please. You might also send an email to your federal MP and as many of your Senators as you think fit.  A few paragraphs, that's all; please. (Remember, it is always best when writing to a legislator to make clear that you are one of their constituents.)

 You may be assured that the the committee of CIR Australia will be making detailed submissions to the inquiry and will be doing everything possible to support this initiative from Senator Madigan. 

To the barricades citizens!

Ronald Evans
President CIR Australia


Legislation Committee

20 March 2013

Mr Ronald Evans 
Citizens Initiated Referendum- Australia
PO Box 3034
Norwood SA  5067
Dear Mr Evans
Inquiry into Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013
On 14 March 2013, the Senate, on the recommendation of the Selection of Bills Committee, referred the Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013 to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 24 June 2013. 
In undertaking the inquiry, the Committee is to consider:
1.             Citizens' Initiated Referendum (CIR) promotes greater openness and accountability in public decision-making. 
2.             Laws instituted as a result of a CIR are more clearly derived from the popular expression of the people's will. 
3.             Government authority flows from the people and is based upon their consent. 
4.             Citizens in a democracy have the responsibility to participate in the political system. 
5.               The Inter Parliamentary Union's call on member states to strengthen democracy through constitutional instruments including the citizen's right to initiate legislation.
The Committee invites you to provide a written submission addressing issues that may be of relevance to you. The submission should be lodged by 19 April 2013. The Committee prefers to receive submissions online as an attached document through the Committee's website via the Upload Submission Online link Alternatively, submissions may be emailed as an attached document to or mailed to the address below.
Submissions become Committee documents and are made public only after a decision by the Committee. Publication of submissions includes loading them onto the internet and making them available to other interested parties including the media. Please indicate if you wish the Committee to consider keeping your submission, or part thereof, confidential.
Any person or organisation making a submission must not release it without the approval of the Committee. Submissions are covered by parliamentary privilege, however the unauthorised release of a submission is not protected. 
Information relating to Senate committee inquiries, including notes to assist in the preparation of submissions for a committee, can be located on the Internet at
The Committee will consider all submissions, and may invite individuals and organisations to give evidence at a public hearing. 
Should you require further information, please contact the Committee Secretariat on (02) 6277 3530.

Yours sincerely

Christine McDonald

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Committee, FPA (SEN)" <>
Subject: Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee- Inquiry into Citizen Initiated Referendum Bill 2013
Date: 11:00:50 AM ACDT


Tuesday, 5 March 2013