Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: If we only had time

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  • Gareth Ward,

    we must conclude that Labour have really stuffed this country up in the last 9 years by appointing more incompetent people than we imagined.

    "As soon as the Referendum is officially approved by the Clerk of the House I will be calling on the hundreds of thousands who signed the petition and the remaining 1.5 million Kiwis who wanted to have their say in a referendum at this election, to join me in protesting the anti-democratic dictatorial behavior of the Prime Minister and this government by taking to the streets", said the Kiwi Party leader.

    Blam. The whole thing has partisan politics written all over it now - reinforcing my view that it shouldn't be muddling up a general election ballot paper.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Nick

    Of course the referendum must - and will - be held, if there are enough signatures. And there is clearly a strong case for the referendum to be held on election day, on simple practicalities alone. But I think you have fallen into John Key's trap (and it is a clever one, at least in the short term, as Larry Baldock's statement above demonstrates).

    Which is more important: the date of the referendum, or Parliament's response to the referendum?

    We all know what the result will be, whenever and however it is held. We don't know what will be done about it. If a referendum is the "voice of the people", surely what they say matters more than when they say it.

    Let the people speak, then ignore them. Is that a clarion call for direct democracy? Hardly. It's a cynical tactic, not the Gettysburg address.

    On the TV news tonight, the headline will be "Clark rules out election day referendum". The headline won't be "Key rules out changing law after referendum." Both are true. Which one really matters?

    But I do commend John Key on his political skills. If our media are too dumb to see through them, that's our problem, not his.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Hiding behind Ministry of Justice advice is cowardly. She should tell the truth and admit that it is her intention to do all she can to avoid this referendum at the election for her own political reasons," said Mr Baldock.

    There you have it folks. The real agenda has been revealed. The referendum is really about political influence from the subversive fundamentalists. And no-one said the referendum should be "buried." Just put it at a suitable time.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    According to the PM in Parliament five minutes ago, the Ministry of Justice has advised that based on the 1999 experience, holding a referendum at the same time as the election would lead to voter confusion and disruption of the count. Instead, they're advising that it be held by postal ballot sometime next year.

    I've already OIAd the advice.

    1) Good luck.

    2) Assuming the PM characterised said advice accurately (which I wouldn't assume), I'd love to see whose signature is at the bottom. Don't you love the Wellywood mandarins who don't even bother hiding their contempt for the public?

    The childbeaters were simply too late.

    I/S, thanks... If that's the level you really want to run at I'm sure the childbeaters would like you and the rest of the anti-family crypto-commie queers to go hug a tree. Or whatever it is you do.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    Which is more important: the date of the referendum, or Parliament's response to the referendum?

    The date, for democratic reasons. Parliament is able to respond how it chooses irrespective of the date or result of that referendum.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Dave, that doesn't make sense. What is the referendum for? Fun, or change?

    The response to this referendum will come from a new Parliament, even if the referendum is held on election day. Therefore, the views of the new Parliament will determine the outcome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The fundamental problem with CIR's is that they often reduce a grey issue into a simplistic yes/no answer. And the fear-industrial complex pervading certain elements of the MSM isn't helping.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I was thinking of whining about how this post is already at four pages of comments, while some of my more considered pieces languish with far fewer..

    Heh - I love what you write and always take the time to read it. But the one on the 26th did take me a little while to get....by which time the little one has usually instantiated another cycle of activity.

    As far as the issue of light smacking goes, well let 'em have what they want...but on the condition that those who wish to administer such forms of "correction" be trained and licensed to do so based on the considerable body of evidence there exists on how not to do it. To qualify in Applied Behaviour Management takes about erm seven years.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Now where's that wooden spoon.......

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    The date, for democratic reasons. Parliament is able to respond how it chooses irrespective of the date or result of that referendum.

    I'm afraid I don't follow how a referendum conducted in October and blighthly ignored by Parliament is MORE democratic than one conducted in March with ensuing policy action?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think holding the election by post, possibly in January, shows the contempt that the whole concept of CIRs deserved.

    We elect a Parliament with multiple parties on the basis of those parties complete set of policies. If people (like the Kiwi party or whetever they are called) feel like starting a party of their own, they can, and try to get 5% support.

    Referendums should be limited to major constitutional change.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    Gareth what a stupid thing to say given that the same people will be making the decision. In terms of of democracy, we have a right to have a referendum should the petition be valid. IMHO that date should be soon as practically possible. Common sense - not Labours law of common sense, though- would lean to wards an election referendum.
    Parliament should pass a resolution to have it on election day as that appears to be what the people want.

    The government does not have a right or an obligation to act on the result. Your question would be more valid with your preferred answer if CIRs were binding.

    Referendums are effectively not for fun or change per se, they are to send a message hoping for change. If there is no change, at least Baldock and Co have had the opportunity to exercise their democratic right.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The fundamental problem with CIR's is that they often reduce a grey issue into a simplistic yes/no answer.

    That's also a problem with all law. The Greens will be faced supporting or opposing an Emissions Trading Scheme, and it's a yes/no question.

    The motion is that the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill be read a third time, the question is that the motion be agreed to ... those who are of that opinion say 'aye' ... to the contrary 'no'.

    Now do they say aye or no?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The fundamental problem with CIR's is that they often reduce a grey issue into a simplistic yes/no answer.

    There's nothing wrong with a yes/no answer, and our politicians give them all the time on actual legislation. Which points out the real problem: that our CIR system allows referenda on vague, leading questions ("do you like apple pie"?), rather than on specific pieces of legislation.

    The fact that they didn't even go for something as simple as "should the crimes (substituted section 59) amendment act 2007 be repealed and s59 of the crimes act restored to its pre-child discipline bill state?" speaks volumes about their honesty and integrity. But I guess that would be taking the people seriously as a potential legislative body, rather than simply seeking to vent your spleen.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Dave: there's a strong presumption in the CIR Act that referenda will be held around election time if at all possible, and I'd expect the politicians to respect that. But if its impractical, its impractical. I'm sorry if that disrupts your little crusade, but then maybe you should have got your act together sooner.

    (As for whether its really impractical, unlike Family Fist, I'm not given to dark conspiratorial mutterings about the perniciousness of government departments. I certainly expect the electoral bodies to give me a straight answer on whether its logistically possible or not. And on that, its worth noting that referenda don't really feature in their statement of intent or their ongoing election planning. Perhaps because they're so rare...)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Gareth what a stupid thing to say

    Given the question posed and the answer you gave, it may be a little brave of you to wave the stupid epithet around.
    If you've read the thread you'll understand my position on this...

    I/S - It's interesting the Act presumes a preference for holding CIR's specifically around election time. If it's actually preffered to be held on the general election ballot then I feel like this one should be (regardless of my view that it's not the greatest idea).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I/S - got in first this time :-)

    Referendums certainly make more sense as a final veto to actual legislation, I agree.

    In this case, however, I'm not sure whether your wording would be better - I imagine a fair proportion of people who signed the petition (if fewer who were behind it) actually support an amendment to the status quo ante, whether Chester Borrows' or John Key's. The wording of the question allows for such a possibility (smacking as part of good parental correction is illegal under the law now, but wouldn't be under either the status quo ante, or the Borrows or Key wording).

    I note that you use the semi-loaded phrase "restored to its pre-child discipline bill state". The bill only became known as the child discipline bill very late in its passage, and only by a very small minority of people, the vast majority of whom fell on one side of the debate.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    I/S: If it was impractical I would accept that. Of course.But it is about as impractical as organising an election. And its not my crusade. I didn't even sign the damn thing.. perhaps I wasn't at the right beaches or parks...

    But, yes, CIRs are rare. About as rare as straight answers from Electoral Authorities.

    And as someone who holds strong and similiar views on democracy as I do, I'm not sure why you`re so reticent in going into bat for democracy....

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Dave, that doesn't make sense. What is the referendum for?

    Making a couple of hundred thousand NZers feel briefly better about themselves, and then pissed off and disenchanted with the political process.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    As for whether its really impractical, unlike Family Fist, I'm not given to dark conspiratorial mutterings about the perniciousness of government departments. I certainly expect the electoral bodies to give me a straight answer on whether its logistically possible or not.

    I'd be curious to see what result you get back from your OIA request I/S, so make sure you post a link to it here.

    At first glance I fail to see why four months isn't long enough to organise a simple referendum with one question and a yes/no answer. But there are likely to be complications that I don't know about.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I imagine a fair proportion of people who signed the petition (if fewer who were behind it) actually support an amendment to the status quo ante, whether Chester Borrows' or John Key's.

    Then let them put up something specific, so we can vote on it. Because the vague, leading motherhood statement in this referendum petition does no-one any good.

    As for loaded phrases, I'm happy with status quo ante. But I'm not sure that Family Fist would want to be so blatant about their goals.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Kyle: here.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Its from the Chief Electoral Office, dated March, and seems to say exactly what the Pm says it does. There's also this little gem:

    The CEO is not funded to conduct CIR and whichever option is adopted, a between budget bid would be required if either petition is successful.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    At first glance I fail to see why four months isn't long enough to organise a simple referendum with one question and a yes/no answer. But there are likely to be complications that I don't know about.

    The argument from the PM in the House today was that there would need to be more polling booths and staff to conduct voting and count the votes. People will take longer to vote, and require more explanation from polling staff, so to ensure queues aren't too long more staff at each polling booth, or more polling booths will keep this down. The planning for these matters for the election has been taking place for some time. etc.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    "And no-one said the referendum should be "buried." Just put it at a suitable time."

    absolutely if something is so topical it requires a referendum that debate deserves to be isolated for thorough re-discussion not yanked into the forefront of a hugely complex election discussion.


    How many causes could you feasibly get 300,000 signatures for?Alright we'll spend taxpayers money on rediscussing and voting on this but it shouldn't dominate our election.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

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