The Eggs – Referendum



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  • Polish Pride

    The overriding point of course being that governments should understand who they work for and listen to the will of the people.
    ….. This country would do well to look at how binding referendums work in countries overseas say Switzerland for example.

    • LabTested

      Or California for example. Hows that working out for them?

      • Bunswalla

        Not sure California’s a country

        • Bafacu

          Same principle though

    • cows4me

      May be Wussell can organise a referendum to have a referendum to make referendum binding, that should keep him amused.

    • Euan Ross-Taylor

      Yeah, we could have a binding referendum on whether being a Green should be illegal.

      • Polish Pride

        Actually on a more serious note since you raised it. I am of the opinion that there is a gaping hole in the political spectrum for a conservative on spending, liberal on freedom, gives a shit about the environment party.
        The Coslofgasatep party
        Maybe the name needs some work but any other thoughts?

        • Euan Ross-Taylor

          Polish I appreciate where you are coming from (I think), but the problem I have with giving people more say on Government, but as long as 1) dumb people can vote to nullify more knowledgeable voters, and 2) people can be lobied to group vote; then for me lets keep a system whereby smarter? people can make decisions on our behalf, and we can vote them out after 3 years if we don’t like them. I know – not necessarily smarter, but you get my drift.

          • Polish Pride

            You were right to put the question mark after smarter?
            They are not and this is what concerns me about our politics.
            We essentially have people more stupid than us making decisions for us.
            Their should be vision in politics and unfortunately their is none past the next 3 year election cycle.

          • Phil T Tipp
          • Polish Pride

            Not sure how I missed that thread, that would have been a good one to tell it like it is.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            All good points Euan but:

            1) The bulk of people voting on decisions now would be classed as dumb by most objective standards. What do you think the average IQ of the Parliament would come out at? Then when you’ve thought about that, knock off the few outliers with particularly high IQs and average what’s left, which still form the majority.

            2) MPs aren’t lobbied? In fact it’s worse than that. They used to be told what door to traipse through regardless of what their conscience and their intelligence (such as it might be) told them; nowadays they don’t even have to show up to be lobby fodder. That level of disengagement is not good for democracy.

            If you’re worried about stupid people voting in a referendum (as I would be) then I suggest adopting an idea I’ve pushed since at least 1999: online referenda (at a much lower cost), with voters required to answer a short set of neutral questions about facts concerned with the issue. The questions could be set by the Electoral Commission. Failing the test doesn’t preclude you from voting, but you have to go away and do a bit of research, come back and try again.

            Far from perfect I’ll admit, but considerably better than the Whips telling some halfwit List MP how they voted that evening, after the event.

          • Euan Ross-Taylor

            Maybe I should have used different language – I was not intending to be disparaging about peoples’ IQs. I was really referring to people who take time to consider a position rather than those who don’t give a toss.

            Re: referenda, I am not convinced that we can make many decisions without all the supporting knowledge. Some of the basic stuff maybe – like do we want a road here…, But other things are very involved if not complicated and sometimes I believe it is best to let MPs sort it out – yes lobby groups need more boundaries; this would also go for the mundane stuff. So then who would say what goes to referenda and what doesn’t? I think it would be too clumsy and still open to manipulation by the loudest squeaking door.

            The referenda idea may have merit but would need to be simple to understand and sell.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            The trigger would still be a percentage of registered voters, but could be lower because of the much lower expense.

            I agree with you about the supporting knowledge. The role of the Electoral Commission could be expanded to produce neutral documentation (with help from other government agencies such as Treasury when appropriate). There’s no way to set a particularly high bar on knowledge – no one wants to answer a 200 question multi-choice exam before voting – but a basic test of the facts could at least rule out the wilfully stupid.

            And as I said, MPs “vote” (i.e. have their votes cast for them, on a myriad of issues they haven’t bothered to study. And if they have, and disagree with the party line, they still vote the way they’re told to (with the notable and noble exceptions of the odd Minogue or Waring).

            There’s a lot of information on the pros and cons online. I’d recommend starting here.

        • Jman

          The problem will be finding a party that is conservative on spending. Pretty much all the major parties are liberal on freedom and give a shit about the environment. But they all spend like drunken sailors – some just more drunk than others.

        • Phil T Tipp

          The environment (planetary/global/too big for us to influence) will continue to do extremely well no matter which set of trotters is in the trough in parliament here in NZ.

          Local environment matters matter, rivers, waterways and cow-shit runoff, 1080, sea-fishing and being clever about coal, oil and gas extraction.

          I suspect if the distinction was made between the watermelons’ marxist global-misinformation enviro-climate strategy and real, tangible, NZ local environmental pressures with real business pay-offs – that some entrenched attitudes towards very salient ‘green’ issues might be swayed.

          Dream on eh.

    • rockape

      Not quite true!

    • Piss off…binding referenda is the mark of a coward….we have a representative democracy…mob rule isn’t that flash

      • Time For Accountability

        Green supporters and very into mob rule.
        Norman is very bitter and twisted so mob mentality is right up his alley.

      • Polish Pride

        So what your saying is that you only like a tiny little bit of democracy with your eggs in the morning..
        Edit: Oh and we don’t have a representative democracy. That would mean the politicians actually listen and ‘represent’ our views in parliament. They don’t, so we haven’t
        We have elected dictatorship and have had for a very long time…

        • BJ

          Electing a party to govern is the culmination of democracy in action. But democracy firstly means you get to have a say literally, prior to ticking the box in a show of support, or not.

          There was plenty of opportunity for discussion, focus groups, protests, information seeking for understanding of the motive, implications and benefits of Nationals well advertised intension to partially privatise some crown entities, into the leadup to the last election. If anyone couldn’t stomach that policy they were free to vote for another party.

        • dyannt

          I’ll agree with you that we don’t have a representative democracy.
          If we had double the number of electorates and a third the number of list members, we’d be getting a little bit closer to parliamentarians being representative.

        • Phill

          Exactly the system that Russell lobbied for, voted for, and got him into parliament. MMP. Now, despite having all the cards stacked in his favour (cant win a seat but gets in on a poxy list) he still cant communicate his point without throwing a wobbly. Best definition of a sore loser I have ever seen.

        • Muffin

          we elect people to make the decisions for us, not to pander to the general publics feeling on any one issue at any one time. I.E. should a party go in with, up prision sentences, remove the smaking bill and get rid of MMP as policies you would think they would romp home with 90% odd of the vote……. but they wouldnt because making decisions based on only one thing is easy, making it based on a number of variables isnt.

          • Polish Pride

            I don’t elect people to make decisions for me. I employ people to action decisions I make and last time I checked my taxes pay MPs salaries. So in short I pay them to ‘represent’ the will of the people and ensure freedom and equal rights for all.
            In fact if government is lucky it doesn’t have to compete for my tax money because on the performance thus far it would be going elsewhere.
            Lastly I have met far smarter people than politicians many a time in my life. If they are that smart why is it they have never been able to fix any of the big problems we face as a society.
            At best they play the game and tinker around the edges.

      • Rex Widerstrom

        The motley collection of nakedly ambitious drongos, dimwits, seat-warmers, porn addicts, drunks, thieves and liars may well be representative of you but I assure you they’re not representative of me.

        Having discussed political issues on this blog and others for over a decade I would far rather entrust the fate of NZ to the “wisdom of crowds” than the perverted system of fealty engendered by the MMP List system, where the loyalties of those chosen to represent us rest with anyone but us.

    • BJ

      And the people who elected National should understand the fact they put their hand up to support that party for 3 years should be morally binding save for a warranted vote of no confidence, which is what voting midterm against Nationals clearly stated intensions, pre election, amounts to.

    • Rex Widerstrom

      Precisely, Polish Pride.

      Opponents of the referendum (not those opposed to the content, who intend to vote for the status quo, as is their right, but those who are opposed to people having a say) seem to be saying that because the arrogant prigs who’ve ruled us in the past have ignored the wishes of the majority, the majority should just STFU and stop making its disapproval of their arrogance known by the only means possible.

      There’s a simple solution to that: make referenda outcomes binding. And hold them online, so the cost plummets. We’d see a very different style of government then, from all parties… one which had to take account of their electors’ wishes more than once every three years, lest they get told to make an embarrassing u-turn.

      • Euan Ross-Taylor

        Do you think such referenda would be susceptible to hacking?

        • Rex Widerstrom

          I wrote a detailed reply to this which seems to have disappeared.

          The short answer is no. The online banking system (by which I mean actual online banking, not credit card transactions on millions of websites) has proved secure, and we could use this as a base on which to build an equally robust voting system.

          Then, when it was built, run a worldwide hacker challenge, with a cash prize for anyone who showed up vulnerabilities.

          • Euan Ross-Taylor

            Could people vote more than once, or buy/steal/gift others’ vote details? I can just see the likes of Unions saying give us your details and we’ll sort it for you.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            Multiple voting is relatively easy to guard against. So is outright theft – sending the ID (the equivalent of your bankcard in my analogy) and PIN separately, by post.

            And you must remember that if I steal just one credit card and PIN the potential payoff for me is huge. But to swing a referendum I’d need to steal thousands, and most of those people would complain when their ID and/or PIN didn’t arrive.

            “Gifting” is much harder, and relies on the integrity of the individual voter. My counter argument to that is that if you’re so slack as to hand your voting details to your union delegate then you’re slack enough to vote the way they tell you to anyway. And that it effectively already happens. KFC, anyone?

  • Harroputza

    “Stop being facetious. Democracy is only important when it agrees with OUR views.”
    — Russell Norman.

    Too bad that 87.4% of NZers didn’t want you to get back your flag.

  • Tim

    That apostrophe annoys me.

    • Me too! I guess we are ‘old school’ from the days when grammar mattered. LOL

    • RightOfGenghis

      Annoy’s the crap out of me as well. Glad to see I’m not the lone ranger

  • johnbronkhorst

    So mr norman, an election is only an annoyance ……. until YOU win one?
    ALL other times we should be governed via referendum?

  • Orange

    What is that word? inisitting?

  • Jester

    If you want something to beat Norman to death with then look no further than his NZHerald Q&A Live Session.
    Every question he answered gave me a whatdafuck! feeling
    The one that caused me to spill my coffee was managing the country by a “citizens assemblies”
    Does this clown think running NZ Inc is like deciding which goat to milk in a fucking kibbutz?

    • Col

      Not my fault we have MMP, I wanted first pass the post, Noddy Norman is a S*&t.

    • Scott


      “I’m not asking national to change their policy or to change what they think as they are clearly pro privatisation…. But yes we would be asking national to stop the privatisation if a majority in a referendum voted in that way”.

      So he’s not asking National to change their policy, he’s just asking National to change their policy. I get it now.

  • BJ

    I’ve been thinking…
    If getting 10% of eligible voters signatures to support a referendum is a requirement in order to take things to the next stage, then surely it should be required that the powers that be make sure that the question being asked of signatury’s is completely honest. The oppositions questionnaire was only ever going to elicit a no response from the majority because it was loaded.

    I can’t see how a referendum process can carry any weight at all if the initial step (question put up to elicit a response) wasn’t conducted in an open, informative democratic way.

  • wanarunna

    Will Wussel agree that a no vote in the referendum could simply mean that the voter is happy with the power companies being sold, but not Air New Zealand? He seems quite happy to assert that a vote for National at the last election was a vote in favour of all their policies except the asset sales policy. Is consistency too much to hope for?

    • Bunswalla

      Yes of course it is. Wake up ;-)

  • Hazards001

    I don’t go to smorgasbords for the simple reason that 1. I’m not paying for something everyone else has breathed on and fondled and 2. Because if I pay for a meal in a restaurant I expect someone to bring it to me.
    I vote for the government I feel will represent me and my kids future interests and I bloody well expect them to govern. I don’t expect to like every thing they do as my interests are not always aligned with the greater communities needs and that’s fine.
    I do not however believe the greater community feels the same way about me, therefore why should they get to constantly go to the polls and govern by public opinion?
    The socialist crap spouted about Switzerland is beyond belief sometimes. Another country constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul and slowly entrenching itself in a debt cycle all the while allowing the vocal minority to have their say.

    Heard Larry Williams tonight supporting the stupidity of on line voting being trialled for the 2016 local body elections.
    What a load of fucking moronic do gooder stupidity!

    Fucking voting should be an inconvenience. You should have to be motivated and interested enough to get your fat arse off the couch and walk or drive to your local polling booth and have your say. Not wait for the van and the feed of KFC for going!

    The idea of internet voting is as credible as polls in the Hearld online. Any numpty self interested knucklehead can and will vote in that.