Posts Tagged ‘referendum’

S59 tyrants

August 23, 2009

Unbelievably, or perhaps predictably, the ‘Yes vote’ campaigners have immediately launched into a campaign against democracy. After all, as No Right Turn’s ad below shows, why should MPs listen to 87% of the people?
No Right Turn - yes vote ad against democracy
So perhaps the public should respond by spoofing the Yes Vote tyranny, perhaps like this:
S59 alt yes vote ad - Sue says screw democracy
or maybe this:
S59 alt yes vote ad - you ignore them

S59 & Citizen’s Initiated Referenda

April 29, 2008

Grrr – the S59 Citizen’s Initiated Referendum petition on Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law (that tightened Section 59 of the Crimes Act to remove parental ability to use physical force to discipline children except in very limited circumstances) has fallen short on numbers.

This is not the cause of my Grrr – that stems from the appalling methodology of the beauracrats who ‘counted’ the petition. This issue has been commented on by bloggers from the left (No Right Turn) and right (David Farrar), the latter noting the ‘valid signatures’ count came from a “large random sample” of the signatures delivered.

This seems sound enough technique, so long as the estimated signature count is either well over or well under the required threshold of 10% of eligible voters (285,027 valid signatures).

When the claimed valid tally (269,500) is close to the margins of error of any such sampling though, closer inspection is required. This petition fell short by 15,527 or 5.4% of the requisite total. When you get this close to the error (typically around 3%), I would be more comfortable if such petitions had a fuller count.

Of course, the petition organisers may just collect another 15-20,000 signatures over the allowed next 2 months, but it may not be necessary if a closer check finds the original sampling was an underestimate. Point being, when the gap is that close, the officials need to check their methods more closely (which does not imply anything wrong with their methods, just that their ‘microscope’ can’t distinguish between actually tally and required threshold accurately enough).

Hence, the grrrr!

Granny gets her gun, rides shotgun for National

February 25, 2008

Granny Herald has rather debunked her nickname lately. Tagged ‘Granny’ Herald for the socially conservative views expressed in the Auckland-based newspaper, the Herald writers have nonetheless pushed strong social liberal positions in recent times.

The latest is a Herald editorial that demands Kiwis ‘get over it’ on the topic of Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking Act (text of altered S59).

Lobby group Family First seem to have reached the 300,000 required signatures to force a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum at this year’s General Election. This appears to have sparked concern in the Herald editors that National’s electoral victory may be smothered by a resurgent anti-smacking debate drawing out socially liberal Kiwis to back Labour.

Hence, the apparent contradiction in an erstwhile ‘right-wing’ newspaper and lobby group on opposite ends of the tug-of-war. It should be noted of course, that many National MP’s are socially liberal, and voted for Bradford’s bill to become law (irrespective of the redundant nonsense John Key put in as clause 4 – Police have always had discretion on all laws as to whether they prosecute).

What is shocking, is that the editor makes wild assumptions; “many signatures on the petition were, in fact, gathered before the compromise clause was inserted” and “the anti-smacking law is no longer a matter of substance to the public”. Granted, they cite a survey showing the S59 position of just 4.2% of people would “likely influence their election vote”, but this simply reflects the impossibility in voting on 1 issue in an election. People want to choose a government that aligns with their views on a range of topics, not just a single issue – even if viewed as the most important.

Worse by far, the Herald’s editor notes CIR are non-binding, so claims “there is little reason to think this one [if passed – SD] would lead to the anti-smacking legislation being thrown out”. What a cynical expression of our democracy! Regardless of how MP’s voted for the Act, surely a democratic position would be for them to change their position to represent the views of the people that put them in the Beehive to … represent their constituents? That the Herald does not think MP’s would (or should) change their stance – irrespective of the voting outcome) is horrendously totalitarian in outlook. NZ is not supposed to be a 3-year elected dictatorship!

Recall the late 1990’s saw a CIR on firefighting resources get around 90% support, which saw a partial government backdown. To suggest as the Herald does, that a majority of voters in a CIR should be ignored because “attempts to raise a hue and cry over the law during the election campaign would be misguided” reflects the deeper desire of the Herald to avoid a bunfight on anything other than tax cuts and PPP’s for transport, it seems. Granny has got her gun, and is warding off anything that may distract from the core message of a National government.