Saturday, August 4, 2012

From NZ First's Manifesto: Greater Use of Public Referenda

New Zealand First wants to form a practical partnership with the New Zealand people by the judicious use of direct public referenda where:there is neutrality and impartiality in the question;
-there is fair dissemination of all of the facts on both sides of the argument;
-there is certainty in the poll (i.e. the question can be clearly understood);-there is appropriate time for debate to be conducted;
-and,the referendum's objective is capable of being met within the country's fiscal constraints.

Consultation on major constitutional changes, on the ownership of assets, on important social policy, on significant economic strategies, and on New Zealand's relations with the world is fundamental to a healthy democracy.

'People power' by means of referenda should, where possible and practicable, replace MPs' conscience votes.

Binding referenda will be triggered by petitions achieving support of 10% of the electorate.

Both government and members' bills that have the support of parliament can, where stipulated, also trigger a binding referendum.

Referenda will be conducted either on the first Saturday of November each year or inconjunction with a general election.

Referenda qualifying before March 1 will be conducted in the following November to provide sufficient lead-in time.A revamped Electoral Commission provided with greater resources will conduct up to fourcitizens initiated referenda, as well as any government or parliament designated referenda each year, and will also be responsible for ensuring that balanced dissemination of all of the facts on both sides of the argument occurs in timely fashion.

A successful referendum result will be achieved by simple majority and may only be vetoed by the vote of 75% of all Members of Parliament within one calendar month of the result being declared.