Golriz Electoral Amendment (Strengthening of Democracy) Bill

Golriz had his Electoral Amendment (Democracy Strengthening) Bill removed from the cookie jarand there are many things worth discussing.

The seven areas of reform in the bill are:

  • Allow voters of Maori origin to change list type at any time
  • Extend the voting age to 16
  • Removing the requirement for New Zealand citizens living overseas to have visited New Zealand in the last 3 years to retain their right to vote
  • Give all inmates the right to vote
  • Implementation of the recommendations of the 2012 MMP review of the Electoral Commission
  • Strengthening transparency and safeguards on donations to parties and candidates
  • Expand reserved provisions to include all provisions that reduce eligibility to register as a voter or vote in an election.

Here are my thoughts.

Maori roll: The way Maori are only allowed to switch between the Māori Roll and the General Roll once every 5 years is highly regressive in terms of treaty obligations and democratic representation of Maori. Tens of thousands of Maori inquired about slate switching in the last election, and being able to vote where you want is important for universal suffrage.

The rationale for the five-year approach is that demographic details are used to establish constituency boundaries, so it will take technical work to make it work.

As the country begins to appreciate the yawning chasm of deepening inequality lock-ins between Maori and Pakeha (while acknowledging that we are not safe until we are all vaccinated), this revelation must take place. result in a strengthening of Maori political representation, and not in amputation as ACT wants!

Lowering the voting age to 16: Taxation without representation is a classic and it carries weight. Many young people aged 16 and 17 have jobs and pay taxes but without any political representation. It’s an incredibly powerful argument for Democrats, and those who oppose lowering the voting age don’t have much intellectual or philosophical counterweight to this prescient point.

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A counter is that the frontal lobes of teenagers have not yet developed sufficiently and therefore 16 and 17 year olds do not have the maturity to vote.

While it’s certainly true that teenagers don’t develop frontal lobes until their mid-twenties, we’re talking about the sudden panicky moments in young people’s lives, like fights, boy runs, or police chases, this review cannot be extended to adolescents. ability to reason or understand the world around them!

What is the suggestion here? Are the teenagers going to freak out at the voting booth and murder everyone in an epic fit of not being able to take a selfie while voting?

The third argument is that it’s selfish for the left. I think it’s garbage. Allowing people over 80 to vote leads to very biased results!

Young people are dealing with climate change, allowing them to express themselves politically and by bringing them into politics earlier, they are strengthening the franchise of democracy, no matter who benefits politically (and I would say it benefits the old people at the moment)!

Broadening the candor of democracy is the goal and allowing our teenagers to have a say would force politicians to listen.

If politicians don’t listen, they won’t get their vote!

What could be more democratic than that?

I say yes to lowering the voting age to 16 and I welcome a new generation of citizens to the great debate that is democracy!

Removing the requirement for New Zealand citizens living overseas to have visited New Zealand in the last 3 years to retain their right to vote: The rationale for restricting the right to vote to overseas citizens who have visited the country within the past 3 years is that we are only including voters who actually have a physical connection here. There are a million of us living abroad, do we really want to include a vast electorate who never return home?

What about making voting a right reserved for citizens rather than permanent residents? The question is also urgent to ask if we open the right to vote to outside citizens who, like the absentee owners, have never visited their homeland but continue to influence the system in which we live, not them.

There are real philosophical reasons for restricting voting rights and these need to be explored.

Give all prisoners the right to vote: It’s logic. Prisoners’ rights are restricted in a state-run environment where they have no power. Allowing prisoners to vote forces society to have a legitimate democratic voice for those we punish. Critics claim that you lose your rights as a prisoner, including the privilege to vote, but this privilege is intrinsic to all citizens, regardless of their imprisonment. A prisoner loses his freedom, he does not lose his basic human rights. Allowing prisoners to express their opinions politically forces political parties to listen to their concerns, and people in prison have concerns.

Dump Coat-tailing: The MMP coat-tailing rule was an original feature that recognized regional political movements and allowed minor parties to build infrastructure. The inability of many small parties to exist suggests that it has not been successful to date, but does not mean that it should be abolished! It plays an important role as an incubator in the creation of political movements in New Zealand and losing it would, I think, extinguish one of the structural engines built within the MMP. As someone who started a fair share of small parties, it’s a legitimate tool that helps build new political parties.

Threshold below 4%: We don’t want the madness of the Israeli MMP system, but 5% because the threshold cut off most political movements before they started. Lowering it to 4% will help NZ First.

Strengthening transparency and safeguards on donations to parties and candidates: Sure, but that’s not the real reform we need, we need public funding of our political system!

With so much fuss over donations to political parties, isn’t it time to consider publicly funding our political parties? If we’re going to remove the influence of big money from politics, remove the need for politicians to flirt for those donations in the first place.

Law god Andrew Geddis made the case for state-funded election campaigns for political parties in his 2007 public policy essay

The third set of answers can be qualified as public support measures. They complement the egalitarian objective of the two previous forms of regulation by replacing the role that private (and therefore unequally distributed) sources of wealth can play in the electoral process with a “clean” source of funding – the general taxpayer. In addition, these measures can be designed to provide funding to parties or candidates who would otherwise find it difficult to raise private funds, thereby enabling more votes to be cast in the election. Various forms of public assistance measures are available: direct payments to electoral participants on a “dollar per vote” basis; post-election reimbursements for campaign expenses; matching donations for small individual donations; tax credits to compensate small donors for their donation; the provision of airtime or other campaign benefits to qualified candidates.

…public funding of political party election campaigns would remove any financial influence over the political decision-making process.

Based on current spending caps, we’re talking about a cost of $20 million per election to get a lot of money out of New Zealand politics.

It is time to seriously discuss the public financing of electoral campaigns.

Expand reserved provisions to include all provisions that reduce eligibility to register as a voter or vote in an election: There are many women mainly who need to be on private lists so that they cannot be sued by abusive ex-partners, this process for applying to be on the private list should be as bureaucratically easy as possible .

There is some real meat on the bones philosophically and technically about ways to empower and strengthen our democracy that we should all take seriously.

We have seen the danger of misinformation and disinformation to our democracy when it comes to Facebook’s hateful algorithms. Strengthening and extending the universal right of democracy is an urgent undertaking to which we must commit ourselves.

Can we have this debate rationally?

Damn no!

The polarization of politics is so extreme now that it will immediately be seen as an attempt by the Greens to screw the fray in their favour. When you have a party openly promising to amputate 5 ministries, the idea of ​​progressive political processes will clash like Donald Trump at a vegan feminist conference.

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