Greens, Labour Should Fix Referendum Law First

Media Release 11 Oct 2013
As the Green Party launch their State Assets Referendum campaign which they believe will provide a ‘clear mandate’ for the Government to stop the programme, Family First NZ, one of the promoters of the anti-smacking law referendum, says that the asset sales referendum is doomed to fail because the current law says any result is non-binding on the government.

“From experience with the anti-smacking referendum – which resulted in an overwhelming rejection of the law yet the government being able to simply ignore the electorate’s wishes – the stage is set for a horrendous waste of taxpayer’s money and nothing to show at the end of it,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Labour and the Greens should first be seeking to change the law so that referendums are binding on Governments. Otherwise they will simply be ‘whistling in the wind’.”

“Ironically, the Greens and Labour will be treated the way they treated opponents of the anti-smacking law. And their protests will sound hypocritical,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It seems slightly ironic that they want the government to listen now – yet were deaf on the previous referendum.”

“If important family issues can pass the very high threshold of almost 300,000 valid signatures and then, for example, a greater-than-2/3’rds majority after the public debate, then parliament should be bound by the result. Unfortunately politicians have been able to simply ignore the views of NZ’ers on issues such as law and order, parenting, and the number of MP’s,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Government accountability should be able to happen regularly and on individual issues – not just once every three years.”

(An independent poll of 1,000 people in 2011 found 2:1 support in favour of binding referenda. 53% favoured making CIR binding on Parliament, with 28% against and 19% unsure or refusing to say. Family First NZ supports binding referendums with a 2/3rds majority when voting.)
ENDS