INDEPENDENT NEWS

Upton On Line - God Save The Queen!

Published: Mon 8 Nov 1999 10:05 AM
Six years ago, New Zealanders, irritated with politicians, decided to turn their electoral system upside down.
Last weekend, Australians, grumpy with all sorts of things, decided not to up-end their constitutional arrangements.
Perhaps this is a hopeful sign. Perhaps, people in our part of the world are realising that fiddling with constitutional arrangements isn't always the answer (particularly, when they're not sure what the question is).
In the absence of either a clear need or a clear mandate, Australians have decided not to proceed with a major constitutional reform.
It's a pity New Zealanders hadn't taken a similar approach with electoral reform and the advent of MMP. Like fools, we rushed in where angels feared to tread.
When things aren't broke, normally, you shouldn't try to fix them. This applies with knobs on for constitutional arrangements.
Looking back, it's remarkable that the choice to shift the entire balance of our constitution was taken by a bare minority:
84.7% of a 55.2% turn-out voted for a change in the indicative referendum of 1992.
53.9% of a 82.6% turn-out voted for MMP in the decisive referendum of 1993.
We made our bed and, for the time being, we must sleep in it. Again this weekend, Mr Peters has made it an uncomfortable experience.
Upton-on-line supports the Monarchy. It has nothing to do with the Windsors. It has everything to do with maintaining a stable basis for the State. New Zealand's Constitutional Monarchy operates well. It means that the appointment of our Head of State is not politicised (a point that recommends it to the politics-weary public of both New Zealand and Australia).
New Zealand is having difficulty enough, trying to make sense of the Treaty of Waitangi. If you really want to pour kerosene on to that debate, start the Republican debate rolling here.
ends

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