Referendums Will Be Ignored Until Law Changed

Media Release 22 Nov 2013
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’. Doing this would also save millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a pointless referendum.”

“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.

“If important 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 where there is high voter interest – 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.)

ENDS