Open Letter to the Prime Minister

LARRY BALDOCK 24 Mar 2016: (Larry was a key organiser and promoter of the 2009  anti-smacking referendum which was ignored by the PM). 

Dear John,
I can understand if you might be feeling a little disappointed after the referendum result.
Sorry John, some times democracy can be a ‘pain in the butt’.

Oh I know you will talk it up about how its all been worth it so we could ‘have our say’ but most of us know it was never about us.

Here is a little advice John.  Next time you have an idea about something, maybe you would get more of us on board with your plan if you used the Citizens Initiated Referenda process and went out and organised all the volunteers to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures like we would have to, in the hope that the referendum result would support your idea, whatever it might be!

Oh, but wait a minute, that wouldn’t be any good would it, because even if the people had their say, there would always be the possibility that a Prime Minister, like you John, might ignore the will of the people so that it would be a waste of your time and energy! Now that would really be a pain in the butt wouldn’t it,  and the probably in your heart as well. Believe me I know!

Yes its me John. The guy who along with all those hundreds of passionate volunteers collected 400,000 signatures so that you might get rid of Sue Bradfords and Helen Clark’s anti-smacking law.  (Or is it now better known as John Key’s legacy)

You can probably tell I am still grumpy…and hurt that you ignored 87.4% of those who voted in that referendum.  I may never get over it.  When I tell this story to friends overseas they are shocked and left incredulous that we could live in a democracy with such a long and proud history yet be treated so arrogantly by our elected leaders.

I have to admit it was a clever plan John.  Knowing that the majority did not want to change the flag from many opinion polls you avoided a simple yes/no referendum question. Instead you went through a process that looked so democratic whereby we should be thankful that we were given the right to be able to choose a replacement  from  ‘the best from a bad bunch’ of alternatives. (even before we had decided if we wanted a replacement!)

Then we were supposed to get used to the new flag and maybe think we might as well change the flag now that we had spent all this money, and vote to give you what you wanted.

I must confess to being a little relieved that your cunning plan has not worked as you had hoped it would.  I think the germans have a word for it,..Schadenfreude! Shame on me!

But what a travesty it would have been if someone with no genuine regard for the will of the people had used a referendum to get what they wanted!

I can only hope this outcome may discourage you and future Prime Ministers’ from using power in this way again. I think then it might be true to say that it has been money well spent!

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