Tim Barnett on Referenda

Tim Barnett has a column in the NZ Herald titled “No need for public whim to dictate fate of MMP“.

Now Tim makes a good case (and one in which I can agree with to a fair degree) on why referenda were not needed on some of the legislation passed in the last few years such as prostitution law reform, civil unions, supreme court, smokefree law etc.

But in his article he actually makes no case at all for why the public should not get a vote on which electoral system we use. He says MMP is good, but fundamentally the public, not MPs, should decide how MPs are elected. I suspect he did not choose the headline for his column, as he doesn’t actually address the very point of why the public should not decide on MMP.

Incidentially I also believe the supreme court change was also of enough constitutional significance that it should have been decided by referenda. As for other issues, I am content with the Citizens Initiated Referendum Act which allows 10% of voters to trigger a referendum on legislation they do not like.

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