New Zealanders don’t like being spied on. Or being told too little, too late.
And what about “a rock-star economy”? Smoke and mirrors? – with businesses closing everywhere, right throughout the country. In Nelson, at least four shops in the prime shopping area have closed or are closing. Others are offering huge discounts to stay afloat. The unemployment rate is going down? Who believes this?
The Dominion Post’s James Weir reports that the manufacturing sector in this country shows businesses are barely treading water. That is, the ones we still own?
What about health sector workers – including mental and public health nurses physiotherapists, anaesthetic technicians, dental therapists and other occupational groups – recently being initially offered a 0.7% pay increase? As an interesting contrast, state sector bosses, as illustrated in reporter Hamish Rutherford’s recent column, are apparently managing to spend more than the annual earnings of many New Zealanders on their expense claims alone. The Treasury Secretary achieved $64,806.12. ACC’s chief executive $62,805. The Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet listed $56,752.58 and the director of the Government Communications Security Bureau $50,566.16. Although the Chief Legal Adviser for the State Services Commission has pointed out that chief executives are responsible for their expenses and are expected to show restraint, we can compare these with Statistics New Zealand showing that the average weekly earnings for full-time workers is $55,296.80 annually.
Trickle down or trickle up? Given the untruths which dismay us about how well we’re doing – and the fudging of what’s really happening to this country, New Zealanders are either a) keen to at last have a say about what’s happening or b) have become so cynical about the political arena that their non-vote will be a protest. The deals done behind-the-scenes – and what they now view as the soft corruption of politicians backing Party leaders to conserve their own salaries, perks and privileges – has many now disgusted with politics. The outstanding example? 87% of New Zealanders rejected the infamous anti-smacking legislation. Too bad, said the Key-dominated politicians, with a now typical, born-to rule arrogance which has made a mockery of New Zealand claiming to be a genuine democracy.
Who to vote for? Our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement (now on Facebook – please Like – and help us to achieve just this…) notes that it is Party politics, i.e. the centring of the importance of the Party vote, which has returned to Parliament List MPs responsible to no-one except a Party leader – and his/her inner clique.
As MP Nick Smith admits – the real decisions made about the country’s directions are made in Cabinet. And they shouldn’t be. In any democracy worth its name, these would be for New Zealanders themselves to be involved in. Asset sales? Prime Minister Key had no mandate there. Equally as culpable? What about New Zealanders shockingly excluded from even knowing that Maori Party leader Pita Sharples was sneaking off to New York to sign the radicalized Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – with John Key’s connivance? This piece of legislation is going to cause us ongoing mischief in the days ahead.
The growing 100 Days protest movement focuses on giving no Party vote at all – as it is the party vote which facilitates the transfer of power to a political party leader – whittling away the ability of New Zealanders at large to have an effective say in decisions that affect our country.
Voting for an electorate MP – only if he or she pledges to represent the electorate, rather than to jump at the bidding of a Party leader, helps to move us back towards a democracy.
This means that a no-vote – as a strong protest voice – can be regarded as wholly legitimate.
Ultimately, the 100 Days movement, noting that list MPs are not accountable to any electorate, advocates that New Zealanders reject giving any Party vote, and demand the right to veto legislation they see as damaging to the country. Until this aim is achieved, rising unease about how their concerns have been ignored and sidelined, means that more with a long memory are now saying they want to support with a Party vote the one political leader who has long addressed major concerns they hold, which the major political parties have consistently ignored. Of prime importance is the advocacy of one law for all – the fight against racial discrimination – and for New Zealand to be protected from the perceivably rapacious buying up of our land, our housing, our businesses, and our strategic assets by overseas buyers whose far greater wealth is leading to the selling out of this country.
However, the important long-term aim of this 100 Days potential veto will require writing into law the reality of a 100 Day period during which all government legislation must wait (except in cases of genuine urgency) to allow the public to scrutinise it. The public can then, if necessary, insist that within that 100 Day period, a referendum on any questionable issue is held. A simple majority of the public would decide one way or another.
This referendum, known to the Swiss as a Facultative Referendum, is the means by which this most successful democracy in the world has the Swiss people themselves making the decisions about what they will, or will not, allow their government to do.
It is not the same as BCIR – Citizens Initiated Referenda, which Colin Craig’s Conservative Party are now advocating – hedged by his recent restrictions which arguably would make it highly unlikely for it to ever be genuinely useful to New Zealanders. In contrast, the 100 Days, Facultative Referenda would actually prevent the passing of bad laws – rather than trying to have them repealed later.
The Conservative Party, among an extraordinary dogsbody of latecomer, minor Parties fighting for time in Parliament, and distinguished by its extraordinarily well-funded campaign to achieve just this- (which some may regard as big-money helping to advantage those able to access it) consists of possibly surprising candidates. These include the formerly flamboyant Christine Rankin whose controversial presiding over WINZ may make her appearance as a Conservative perplexing to some. Moreover, the fact that its late-formulated policies have so firmly coat-tailed onto New Zealand First’s dogged defence of basic democratic freedoms – including the safeguarding of New Zealand from those overseas investors who see us as an overripe plum ready for the picking – has raised questions.
These issues are not going to go away after the election. And the best possible chance to claim back our democracy is to join our movement.
Welcome support comes from Australia, with the highly-respected Professor David Flint’s “Give Us back Our Country” Australian movement echoing ours. See:
“Our friends across the Tasman are also concerned by the unaccountable politicians who are taking major decisions without even consulting the people.
“Too often those decisions would not pass the “pub test”. The pub test is simply shorthand for the common sense, good judgment and basic decency we believe rank-and-file citizens possess.
“The great organisation, 100 Days, which has so inspired us, is leading the call in New Zealand for reforms which will make the country as democratic as Switzerland is. We wish them well.”
“There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies, as against despots – suspicion.” Demosthenes.
Do support us at http://www.100.co.nz
© Amy Brooke