INDEPENDENT NEWS

Action On Referendum A Moral Obligation

Published: Wed 24 Oct 2001 11:32 AM
The Human Rights Commission has bowed out of a row over the Government's failure to implement the Citizens Initiated Referendum that called for fewer MPs in Parliament, but National List MP Belinda Vernon says the Government has a moral obligation to implement it.
"At the 1999 election New Zealanders spoke loud and clear. Eighty five percent of New Zealanders voted and eighty two percent of them wanted fewer MPs. But the Government has made it clear it has no intention of doing what the people want. This is outrageous. New Zealand is a democracy. Parliament is there to represent the people, not the interests of those in the Beehive.
"Margaret Robertson asked the Human Rights Commission to inquire into whether New Zealanders' human rights were infringed by the Government's failure to implement the results of the Citizens Initiated Referendum.
"The Commission said yesterday that there was no basis for such an inquiry. It has justified its position by relying on a 'longstanding legal principle that certain aspects of Parliament's activities cannot be questioned outside of Parliament'.
"I didn't support the referendum to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament, but I accept that New Zealanders have spoken. The high participation rate and the overwhelming result make it clear the Government has a moral obligation to implement the result. Instead it has thumbed its nose at the voice of the people.
"Helen Clark places much store in the polls. This is one poll she shouldn't ignore," Ms Vernon said.
Ends

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