INDEPENDENT NEWS

Democracy denied by Labour Government

Published: Thu 7 Nov 2002 10:02 AM
Democracy denied by Labour Government
National’s accusing the Government of denying New Zealanders their right to choose, after Labour MP’s decided to oppose the Electoral Options Referenda Bill at its first reading last night.
“The people of New Zealand always expected to have another say on the electoral system but this Government is determined their voices will not be heard,” says National’s Rangitikei MP Simon Power.
The bill provides for the holding of two referenda on the electoral system and it’s essentially the same process used when MMP was adopted in 1992/93.
The first referendum has two parts.
The first part is whether electors wish to retain the current system of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or want to change the electoral system.
The second part asks all electors which alternative they prefer.
“Of course the Greens are siding with their former Labour buddies and voting against the idea, it’s in their best interests to do so.
“But that’s particularly surprising when they’re actively campaigning to change the way Local Government is elected,” says Mr Power.
“National was the party that helped bring the current system into being, it’s had three terms to mature and now voters should be allowed the chance to say whether it’s right for us.”
Mr Power has been representing a Private Members Bill lodged by New Zealand’s first woman Prime Minister, National’s Jenny Shipley, in May 2001.
“If this Labour Government is serious about listening, then perhaps it’s time to give New Zealanders the chance to have their voices heard, instead of shying away from real democratic processes.
“They should let the people - not politicians - choose the voting system,” says Mr Power.

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