NZ Herald Nov 17, 2009
A high-powered government committee has called for a veto of a proposed referendum aimed at making citizen-initiated referendums binding. The Legislation Advisory Committee, chaired by former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, says the proposed public vote should not be allowed because it would contradict the fundamental purpose of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, which provided for non-binding referendums. Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock, who is promoting the vote, accused the committee of “trying to shut down democracy”.
Organisers of a “march for democracy” hope to stage New Zealand’s biggest-ever protest on Auckland’s Queen St this Saturday to demand that the Government carries out the wishes of the 87 per cent of people who voted in August that smacking should not be a criminal offence. The march was endorsed yesterday by Wellington superannuitant Margaret Robertson, who initiated a 1999 vote on reducing the number of MPs from 120 to 99, and by Norm Withers, who initiated a vote in the same year for better treatment of victims and tougher sentences for violent offenders after an intruder smashed his 71-year-old mother’s skull. Both said successive governments had ignored those votes.
CITIZEN-INITIATED REFERENDUMS – OUTCOMES SO FAR
1995: Should the number of professional firefighters employed fulltime in the NZ Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on January 1, 1995? No: 87.8 per cent Outcome: Firefighter numbers were cut from 1819 on January 1, 1995, to 1573 by 1998. There are now 1702.
1999: Should the size of the House of Representatives be reduced from 120 members to 99 members? Yes: 81.5 per cent Outcome: House remains at 120 (now 122 due to extra Maori Party seats).
1999: Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences? Yes: 91.8 per cent Outcome: Victim impact and reparation now required, minimum non-parole periods 10 years for murder, five for other serious offences.
2009: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in NZ? No: 87.4 per cent Outcome: Review team due to report by December
National Radio Checkpoint http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/ckpt/2009/11/16/scope_of_auckland_protest_march_broadens