The Press on CIRs

September 5th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

editorial:

When the act allowing for citizens initiated referendums to be held was passed in 1993, it provided that they could only be started after a petition to Parliament signed by 10 per cent of registered electors within 12 months.

The provision was designed to be, and has been, an effective deterrent to single-issue cranks getting their pet obsession on to a ballot paper. It means that anything that does make it to a has some public support already.

It has not, however, prevented the four referendums held so far from being a waste of time and money. All four have produced the answer their proponents wanted and all four have, quite properly, been ignored by the governments of the time, both Labour and National-led.

People should keep asking those who claim a should trump an election, when they will vote to amend the anti-smacking law in line with the 87% vote in that referendum.

The referendum is even more pointless than usual. Not only will it have no influence on the Government’s stance on the issue, it is also on a matter on which the Government undoubtedly gained a mandate at the last election – the fate of state assets was one of the foremost issues of the election campaign. The partial sale of state assets is, furthermore, an issue for which the Government will be answerable at the general election just over a year from now.

That is how it should be. You put up a policy at an election. You keep your word and implement it. You get judged on your record at the next election.

Tags: , , , ,

22 Responses to “The Press on CIRs”

  1. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    People should keep asking those who claim a CIR should trump an election, when they will vote to amend the anti-smacking law in line with the 87% vote in that referendum

    I’m still waiting for them to implement the 99 MPs referendum.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. A.J (4 comments) says:

    In the editorial above it states that a petition for a referendum must have 10% of registered electors within a 12 month period.If this is correct this one is illegal because it has taken 17 months ??????

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Nigel Ng (13 comments) says:

    @queenstfarmer hope that you don’t hold your breath at the same time. I wouldn’t expect turkeys vote for an early Christmas.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. kowtow (8,469 comments) says:

    “…….,quite properly, been ignored by the governments of the time……”

    So the Press ,quite obviously does not believe in democratic mandates.

    And then they wonder why electorates become cynical and no longer trust politicians or the media.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Harriet (4,970 comments) says:

    “……The provision was designed to be, and has been, an effective deterrent to single-issue cranks getting their pet obsession on to a ballot paper…..”

    Um…..no!

    Single issue cranks view ballot paper as toilet paper!

    The single issue cranks went around CIR’s – they used Private Members Bills for whoring and sodomy! :cool:

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    People should keep asking those who claim a CIR should trump an election, when they will vote to amend the anti-smacking law in line with the 87% vote in that referendum.

    I vaguely recall voting in that referendum in a manner that is misrepresented by people because the leading question posed was preposterous and required voters (if I recall correctly) to assert a double negative or some such nonsense.

    I think a binding referendum might be a good idea if it was restricted to either confirming or over-throwing a specific act of parliament, and retains a sufficiently high bar to triggering that it does not become a trivial response.

    Thus there could be no doubt about it’s ambition, electors intention and it’s effect. Questions about validity, appropriateness and value would all be moot through it’s direct and limited applicability.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    AJ makes an interesting point. Has anyone like Graham Edgeler followed it up?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    I believe there is a 12 month limit to deliver the required signatures. It then takes quite a time to count a sizable sample. If it is determined there were too many ineligible signature there is a shorter time to collect some more and these are again checked. I do not know the exact times but I was involved in collecting signatures to repeal the anti-smacking legislation so I know the principle.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Also, I think people see it for what it is, when the political opposition via its activist base organises a “citizen’s-initiated” referendum based around the issue that was PRECISELY the losing political party’s main electioneering plank.

    Labour: You lost. That means your ideas are NOT popular with the public.

    There’s a hidden message in that, if you’re smart enough to see it. Perhaps you’re not.

    And DON’T make policy based on what your smelly fans in the Abel Smith St soap dodger house say they want. They are just a bunch of perpetually disaffected people and lunatics.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Rich Prick (1,701 comments) says:

    ” … cranks getting their pet obsession on to a ballot paper.

    That’s a pretty good description of Norman.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    The Christchurch Press seems to be saying:”Shut the fuck up and sit quietly and do as the politicians tell you. Our editorials will tell interpret their intentions.”

    This week we have the world competitiveness survey out again. Surprise, surprise, referendum-happy Switzerland again heads the table. Twice NZ’s population, four times its wealth.

    Here’s what Wikipedia says of Swiss forums:

    …Swiss law says that any issue can be put to a referendum if it attains 100,000 signatures to do so.[1] The rules further state that for a measure to be nationally adopted into the constitution it has to get a majority of both votes and the number cantons that support the issue…

    The Swiss had 12 referendums (referenda to pedants) last year. Says Wikipedia:

    … on 11 March voters across the country were asked five questions on employment leave, second houses, building society savings, the Fixed Book Price Agreement and gambling revenues. On 17 June there were three questions on healthcare, foreign policy and home buying. On 23 September there were three on a smoking ban, secure housing in old age and music lessons at school. A final referendum was held on 25 November on the Animal Diseases Act….

    Keep the referendums coming folk. We especially need them with MMP – dictatorship by minority interests.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    I was one of the 90% who did not sign the Green Party’s Partial Sales of Assets.

    I object to paying $9, 000,000 to have this stupidity ratified, as the only real referendum was held at the last Election.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Clarifying Swiss referendums, from an official Swiss source:

    The vast majority of laws and legislative acts enter into force uncontested. However, if you disagree with an act of parliament, it is possible to oppose it by launching a referendum. This is known as an optional referendum, as legislation is not automatically contested in this way. If enough signatures are collected to support the referendum, the contested law – or other form of legislation as set out in the Constitution – is put to popular vote. A referendum can also be requested by a minimum of eight cantons.

    A majority of the valid votes cast (simple majority) is sufficient to reject an optional referendum, i.e. for the contested legislation to be accepted and become law.

    Consitutional changes require a “manadatory referendum”, with what the Swiss call a double majority: both a majority of the valid votes cast and the majority of the cantons.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Yvette (2,819 comments) says:

    I voted for National, although I am not keen on asset sales, even partial – those shareholders expect dividends of course, which means a basic like electricity costs more than it needs to.
    But the alternative, Labour, were fucking useless. Why vote for a Party who you knew was going to dump its Leader the moment the Election was over?
    However, as they were so single mindedly against the asset sales, and made it the key issue of the election, I hoped if there were sound reasons to not sell assets, they would present them in Opposition, but they are an abject failure in even that too.

    One aspect of those signing the call for the referendum is that many would be as myself – unable to vote for a Party as useless as Labour, who have done nothing but fuck about over their Leadership, both before and since the Election, and these people accept asset sales are the cost of that.
    The great irony in this is that two parties, Labour and the Greens, rather than “the people”, have used taxpayer funds to engender this referendum because of their own fucking failure to raise convincing arguments as an Opposition in this issue.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    The last two citizens’ referendums were on the same ballot that voted out the governments of the time.
    1999 election – National voted out (same ballot as number of MPs referendum).
    2009 election – Labour voted out (same ballot as smacking referendum).
    Maybe they’re an indicator of wider voter sentiment too.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Re Paulus (1.16):

    An issue such as a petition against anti-smacking legislation gives you the chance to express your opinion on this while you accept generally the policies of a the party that has become Government.

    If, for example, you agreed with everything on a party’s platform except its plan to reintroduce the death penalty, or legalise cocaine, or some such, a petition on the issue gives you the chance to express your opinion without changing your overall vote.

    If a voter had to agree with every plank of the party or candidate they voted for, there would be bugger all valid votes.

    If its taxpayer interests you are concerned, with Paulus, the tax loss the collapse of the TV3 owner was initially put at around $20m. This would cover a couple of petitions. (The figure on the loss seems to heave been dropped in media releases to under $3m suggesting that only first-priority taxes are now being taken into consideration).

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Huevon (222 comments) says:

    There is a big difference between the smacking referendum and the asset sales referendum.

    National made its position on asset sales clear at the election. It won, so it can justifiably claim a popular mandate for the policy.

    The anti-smacking law was never any party’s stated policy (well, maybe for the watermelons, maybe someone can correct me on that). The Parliament of the day clearly acted contrary to the popular will. The CIR was the appropriate democratic response and should have lead to the repeal of the law.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    I believe that a referendum on the ‘Whether one approves of a partial asset sale’ should also include ‘or would you rather a ?% uniform tax increase should be imposed to compensate for the revenue forgone’………I understand that when Micheal Laws instituted local referendums in Wanganui he invariably stated the cost of the proposition on rates.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Warren Murray (311 comments) says:

    I dont support the government’s policy wrt partial assets sales, but absolutely accept it won a mandate at the last election.

    I didnt sign the petition. Not sure if I’ll vote in the referendum, if i dont, it will be a first time Ive not voted.

    BTW, should we add the cost of Green’s signature gatherers to the bill?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. blondewithaniq (23 comments) says:

    The referendum is even more pointless than usual it is also on a matter on which the Government undoubtedly gained a mandate at the last election.
    Mandate predicated on ONE vote.. Not much of a mandate is it.
    Especially when Peter Dunne and United Future campaigned on NO such thing.

    – the fate of state assets was one of the foremost issues of the election campaign. The partial sale of state assets is, furthermore, an issue for which the Government will be answerable at the general election just over a year from now.
    Yes they will!
    Sadly though by which time the money gained from the MRP fiasco float earmarked for schools hospitals etc will not have even rehoused all the Cantabrians still living in wrecked houses and dire circumstances. Will have bailed out Solid Energy & ensured their board get their golden handshakes and Christmas bonuses, while Rio Tinto head office reverbeartes with laughter, but certainly not have created any more jobs, unless perhaps they can subcontract to those also going through the motions to get the Pike River miners out in the cynical PR pre -election exersize (as Bridges more or less intimated ‘personally’) that is going to be!
    I’d rather money given to their kids and families and township to help them get back on their feet and pay for their needs and power bills next year too but it is comparable with the referendum spend to try stop the Meridian debarcle.
    As for that 9mill, given the amount of blue voters who signed it who were not called Johnny Rotten or Ima Twat at your behest David, let’s see what happens there too?
    Arrogance just like pride in politics will come before a bigger fallout even of traditional National voters than many here may care to acknowledge,who are beginning to wakeup finally. The tax break honeymoon over for them too.. Like Yvette I despaired of Labour under Mr Shearer albeit for different reasons. Of late Mr Key though is looking bored and jaded and sounds spiteful and petulant, like a man whose ‘future’ (sic) isn’t looking that stable. A man sick of gambling even with other peoples ‘futures’! All of ours!
    One more major stuffup ought to do it for even the ‘blind trust brigade!’
    Morally supporting the indefensible Obamination intervention should!

    ‘That is how it should be. You put up a policy at an election. You keep your word and implement it. You get judged on your record at the next election.’ you say.. I agree, It is the ones he has been sliding in under sops that disgust me, and that phonycrony Banks & Dunne are even tolerated here after their selective amnesia and self-interested sellouts. The most morally bankrupt man dates to pass policies by the bare minimum ever!

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. freemark (580 comments) says:

    JT is back, new name, same language, little IQ.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    Would anyone like to form a multipartisan organisation to repeal the CIR Act 1993?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote