Peter Dunne on Constutional Issues

Peter Dunne has blogged his wishlist/policy for . Worth taking them one at a time.

A referendum on the future of MMP, in 2010, to allow the New Zealand people to review the effectiveness of the system to date

Is going to happen as was an election promise. Timing not certain though.

A referendum on the future of Maori seats in Parliament to be held in conjunction with the MMP referendum, with a view to abolishing the seats by 2014. This would give effect to the recommendation in the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System.

I do support implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations, but you need to do all three of their outstanding recommendations – reduce the threshold from 5% to 4%, waive the threshold for Maori parties and then abolish the Maori seats. I think a waived threshold is a superior way to have Maori representation than separate seats.

Moving towards New Zealand becoming a republic within the Commonwealth by 2017, with a referendum in this term of Parliament on having our own Head of State.

No surprise I support this one, but I doubt a referendum will occur in the near future.

Establish a New Zealand Day separate from Waitangi Day to celebrate our nation’s history, multicultural society.

I support this one strongly. I think Waitangi Day should stay, but it would be good to have a New Zealand Day also that is celebrated like national days are in Australia, France and the US. A possible date for this would be Dominion Day in mid September.

Investigate an extension of the Parliamentary term to four years, with a fixed election day.

Again support both of these. The second one is a bit harder than the first, but not impossible. A longer term would lead to much better policy making.

Introduce a Multicultural Act, similar to Canada, for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in New Zealand.

Not so sure on this one. We are already obviously a multicultural society and have anti-discrimination laws. I’m sceptical of the benefits of such a law.

Ensure that school pupils understand their civic rights and responsibilities, the structure of the New Zealand Parliament and of Local Government and their means of access to them.

I would hope this gets covered in senior years already.

Nationally televise the Youth Parliament to give credence to the efforts of young people to lift the bar.

Now we have in house TV in Parliament, I would hope this could be done for almost no cost on Sky.

Require immigrants to take a civics course as part of becoming a New Zealand citizen, to promote civics understanding and teach immigrants what it is to be a “Kiwi” & what the norms & expectations of New Zealand society are.

Very good idea. Ideally some of this should be done even before they apply, so immigrants get as much information as possible to decide if they will be happy here.

Introduce a graded system towards citizenship to develop the idea that citizenship is a privilege and not a right.

Yes, but more than that we need to look at whether certain entitlements should be reserved to citizens, rather than all permament residents. There is little incentive for people living here to become a citizen.

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