Heavens,not our people making the decisions!

Heavens…we can’t have our people making the decisions themselves, can we?

Talking about the politicisation of the media – check out the headline – “Referenda decision botch-up” given to a very interesting decision by the majority of the New Plymouth Council, who deserve a notable initiatives award for their attempt to introduce democracy into decision-making in New Zealand.

The full report is below. But, basically, the council tried to initiate a move to ensure that whatever the majority of its ratepayers decided they wanted, they would implement…that the council would ensure it operated democratically.

Its attempt to make referenda binding was described by the Department of Internal Affairs – after it was objected to by a political academic Richard Shaw – as not possible under existing legislation – at least not except in relation to highly politicised areas – as below.

Not surprised?

But as commentators have noted:” {There’s} no analysis as to what’s so bad about binding referenda, however. Typical.”

“Oh yes, we must change the law immediately.  We can’t have councils giving power back to those whom they serve and are convened by!”

The last sentence of the article below) is important, containing the response by first-term councillor Len Houwers, who initiated the proposal “The only response, I think, is that it’s time to change the law.” Indeed. He deserves support.

A yesterday column by National Business Review Editor Nevil Gibson points out that Switzerland’s system of referenda, (in particular the 100 Days, what is known as the Facultative Referendum) provision, whereby a stop to legislation suggested by Parliament must ensue for 100 Days – to give the Swiss people the chance to scrutinise this and say yes or no – with their decision binding on Parliament – is what our 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand initiative is fighting for. See http://www.100days.co.nz

As the NBR points out, Switzerland, Europe’s most prosperous country, has become the richest and most successful nation on earth – very much as a result of its totally binding referenda provision, which the Swiss themselves fought for. It is the Swiss people themselves who are in charge of the own country and their own directions.

We can contrast this with our far less successfully performing country where we are dominated by Parliamentary parties controlled by ambitious leaders whose personal agenda and advocacy of ill-thought legislation – let alone whose arrogance in assuming that they know best – has cost the country so much these recent decades. Switzerland would simply not allow a John Key to have pushed the decisions he wanted with regard to asset sales – among other ill-thought legislation. It would certainly not have allowed Helen Clark to destroy the combat wing of its air defence Force – which staggered even our Australian neighbours.

If we want to return New Zealand to the far more stable, prosperous country we once were, we need to have all New Zealanders involved in making the decisions concerning our future.

Do support us – and spread the word!

And congratulations to the New Plymouth Council – The times they are a’changing…

For the full report – see below.

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© Amy Brooke – Convener – http://www.100days.co.nz

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Referenda decision botch-up

stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/63696771/Referenda-decision-botch-up

TARYN UTIGER

A monumental decision made by the new guard of New Plymouth’s council has been revealed as an embarrassing botch-up.

Last week the New Plymouth District Council narrowly voted to allow legally binding citizen initiated referenda to happen under its watch.

The proposal was suggested on the spot by first-term councillor Len Houwers and was quickly passed by fellow first-term councillors Keith Allum, Murray Chong, Grant Coward, Richard Handley, Richard Jordan and returning councillor Shaun Biesiek.

However, the Taranaki Daily News has investigated the decision and can reveal the council move is a major blunder.

The Department of Internal Affairs, which oversees local government in New Zealand, has said the council had passed a policy that was impossible to enact.

“According to the department, legally-binding citizens initiated referenda are not possible under the current legislation except in relation to reorganisation proposals, electoral systems and Maori wards,” a spokesperson from internal affairs said.

The revelation comes after Dr Richard Shaw, from Massey University, spoke with the Daily News and slammed the policy, questioning if it was in fact legal.

Shaw, the associate professor of the school of people, environment and planning, with a PhD in politics, and said New Plymouth was the first council in New Zealand to create and pass the policy.

“There are good reasons why this is the case and no other council has done it,” he said.

Mayor Andrew Judd, who voted against the proposal, said this outcome highlighted why making policy “on the hoof” was not the way to do things.

“This is exactly why we have qualified staff,” he said.

He said council chief executive Barbara McKerrow had recommended against the policy change during the meeting but was ignored by those who voted in favour of it. McKerrow said since the decision was made last week the council had sought legal advice on the matter.

She was still waiting on that advice to come through and said it would reported back to council at a meeting on December 16.

“We need to properly advise the council on what they can and cannot do and ensure they are well informed,” McKerrow said.

Houwers conceded defeat on the issue and said he believed the Department of Internal Affairs.

“The only response I think, is that it’s time to change the law.”