“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi.
The good news for all our supporters is that one of Australia’s top constitutional lawyers, the eminent Professor David Flint, AM, LLM (Syd), BSc (Lond), leader of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, and former head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, has now written in support of our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand initiative www.100days.co.nz. Professor Flint was awarded World Outstanding Legal Scholar, World Jurists Association, 1991, and in 1995 was made a Member of the Order of Australia “In recognition of service to the print media, particularly as Chairman of the Australian Press Council and to international relations”. His many achievements can be found by accessing Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Flint.
Professor Flint’s support is particularly valuable, given the high respect in which he is held across the political spectrum in Australia. His three books, The Cane Toad Republic, The Twilight of the Elites and Malice in Medialand contain compelling analysis of the socio-political reality of Australia in recent years.
Back by popular demand, David Flint was for several years an outstanding keynote speaker at the annual Summersounds Symposium – www.summersounds.co.nz He is a highly sought commentator, and has been giving prominence to our New Zealand initiative to work towards reclaiming a democracy from our political classes through our 100 Days movement.
It was a great pleasure to hear recently from David, analyzing the parallel problem in Australia, and stating: “I have come to the conclusion that the only way to control (politicians) is through your proposal.”
As David wrote recently on the ACM website, “I suspect that New Zealanders would be more interested in improving their control over the politicians, rather than increasing their power in some politicians’ republic.
“They will no doubt be considering writer and commentator Amy Brooke’s well named “100 Days Campaign”. This is to introduce facultative referendums into New Zealand. Her paper, “100 Days — Claiming Back New Zealand”, has been posted on a new website, http://www.100days.co.nz/.
“100 days campaign….
“She summarises the reasons for the proposed measure in these words:
‘Essentially this provision ensures that, although parliament can pass any law, including those insufficiently debated, typically late at night, or on Christmas Eve — or through any profoundly undemocratic trade-off with a minor party manipulating the system… whatever law is passed actually can’t come into effect for 100 days.
‘During this time, if 50,000 citizens are concerned enough to call for a referendum, it has to be put — what is called a facultative (optional) referendum — and the country’s verdict is binding.
’The different, citizens-initiated referenda, where proposals come from the people themselves, are a separate and interesting issue. But it is the facultative referenda that we most urgently need to put a stop to our now perceived lack of genuine representative democracy — so very well illustrated by the scandalous ignoring of the country’s wishes in parliament’s infliction of the anti-smacking legislation.’ ”
Our main effort this year has been in laying down the concept of what the 100 days moratorium (after Parliament passes new legislation) achieved for the Swiss people. Although they had contrived for themselves the oldest democracy in the world, the Swiss people, in 1848, finally insisted on this 100 day period for their citizens to properly evaluate parliamentary legislation – when they realized they did not in fact have a genuine democracy.
As a result, the Swiss people themselves, rather than compromised and deal-making political parties, decide whether or not they are willing to accept legislation that Parliament has passed. In other words, the prosperous Swiss are the world’s truest democracy – these two facts are not irrelevant.
Although 50,000 people are needed to call for facultative referenda in Switzerland, because its population is almost double ours, it should be acceptable to require only 30,000 New Zealanders to call for a facultative referendum. Its results are binding on the government.
Please note that a facultative referendum is not what is called the citizens initiated referendum – which serves a useful, but different, purpose. Other New Zealand groups are already working towards this outcome. However, enabling New Zealanders to insist on that 100 days moratorium, with the prospect of calling for a facultative referendum, is by far the most effective means of claiming back our democracy.
“The possibility of facultative referenda forces the parliament to search for a compromise between the major interest groups. In many cases, the mere threat of a facultative referendum or of an initiative is enough to make the parliament adjust a law” – or to abandon attempting to impose legislation on the country which it knows full well that is unacceptable to the majority – as with the infamous anti-smacking legislation. Facultative referenda also inhabit behind the scenes decision-making, and put a stop to minor parties wielding inordinate influence and power.
Mahatma Gandhi’s reminder is one for each of us. New Zealanders’ disillusion with their political parties must be balanced with this reminder – that nothing will change – unless and until individuals themselves take control of their democracy – to reverse the slide into domination by the State.
Gandhi, for example, genuinely admired British imperialism as exemplifying his dictum that the best government is less government. This no longer applies to Britain today, a politically correct country from where the rot in relativist thinking, taken up from the French nihilists challenging the objective truth of issues, has spread throughout the West.
Our emphasis this year has been on bringing home the reality that New Zealanders can claim back ownership of our country from our politicians who have claimed more and more decision-making for themselves. This has been in spite of overwhelming majority dissent on such issues as the infamous anti-smacking legislation; the ridiculous and culpably costly Emissions Trading Scheme; the current highly controversial proposed foreshore and seabed legislation; and the ongoing, extra ordinarily costly, in some cases manipulative and even unproven neo-tribal claims for compensation for supposed wrongs far back in the past.
Politicians do not like having what they regard as their authority and power challenged. However, they should be answerable for the damage they do with their usual capitulation to the party leader’s agenda, or their lack of research on important issues. Environment Minister Nick Smith, for example, has now admitted he was wrong to vote for lowering the drinking age, and regrets it. Did he, former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and other obdurate MPs take heed of informed commentators warning what lay ahead? No, they didn’t. The consequences of politicians’ poor thinking on this and other issues are still with us and have cost the country a great deal – not only in economic terms.
Further poor decision-making, muddled thinking, and behind the scenes deal-making lie ahead, as usual, unless New Zealanders themselves claim the right to have come of age – and to claim back this country. Only the Claiming Back New Zealand – 100 Days initiative offers a practical way forward to achieve this.
Please spread the word – www.100days.co.nz. We need welcome subscribers to the newsletters (no charge). We also need donations for the publicity needed to outline our strategies so that they are available for all – looking ahead to next year’s general election.
While one recent generous donation in particular has been most gratefully received, please note that no donation is too small.
In this respect, it was interesting that one of the Tea Party members in the US who recently nearly unseated a popular sitting Democrat noted that all her donations were of under $100. What this illustrates is that it was grass-roots Americans who supported this movement to win back control of the country’s directions from professional politicians.
Donations can be made on our website, or to the address supplied.
We rely on your grass-roots support. Thank you!
See the new article – The 100 Days battle ahead – the fight for democracy.