Andrew Geddis can’t type my name, but I can not only type his and use it in a post but also link to his very good explanation of the ill-conceived idiocy of the cult of Colin Craig regarding binding citizen initiated referenda.
Colin Craig has just one thing he wants from National in any post-election deal. Unfortunately, it’s something that National isn’t able to give him.
the Conservative Party’s announcement of their “bottom line” policy demand before supporting National post-election strikes me as a major disincentive to National ushering them into the House. As the NZ Herald reports Craig:
“The thing that we want, that will be required if a party wants our support, is that they are going to need to agree to a change whereby that the people of this country have the right on those rare occasions … to tell the government where to go and what to do.”
He later told reporters it may not be enough for National to step aside and give him an uncontested race in the East Coast Bays seat, where he is a candidate.
“We’d want to see referendum get across the line, that’s the one thing that matters for us.”
Conservatives would not go into coalition or enter a confidence and supply agreement unless this condition was met.
Mr Craig said: “We’re not going to be unconstructive, but in terms of getting our full support, that is our bottom line. That is what we want to achieve.”
Let’s pay Craig and his party the courtesy of accepting that they really, really mean what they say on this matter. Unless National give them this policy outcome, they won’t give any guarantee of support for it in office. The problem they face is that there is no way that National on its own (or even in conjunction with the Conservatives) can deliver what they are demanding.
Why can’t BCIR be delivered as the Cult of Colin Craig demands?
there is no doubting that adopting such a measure would represent a fundamental change to the entire constitutional order of New Zealand. And fundamental constitutional changes shouldn’t be made by bare-majority governments on a straight party line vote. It’s constitutionally improper to even suggest that this happen – it would be like the Maori Party saying that their price for supporting a Government would be for that Government to legislate via a bare parliamentary majority to make the Treaty of Waitangi a “higher law” constitutional document that could be used to strike down other laws. I don’t care whether you think that would be a good outcome; it would be a bad way to bring it about.
Now, maybe Craig doesn’t mean that he wants National (with his Party’s help) to bring in binding referendums directly. Maybe he wants the issue itself to be put to a referendum, so that the people of New Zealand can decide for themselves whether or not to make the change. If that is what he means, then he really should say so. Because what he’s calling for at the moment – a fundamental constitutional change carried out by a bare majority in Parliament – is improper, and I just don’t think National should for one minute think about agreeing to do it.