Binding Referenda.

Date: 12 Apr 2023

There are some rules and customs in our democracy that are too important to be left to Parliament. But under our system of government Parliament is supreme. This has one big disadvantage. 

New Zealand has an “unwritten” constitution scattered through various pieces of legislation and embodied in a number of conventions and customs. Some legislation, such as some parts of the electoral system, are entrenched and need a 75% of Parliament to change them.

It is a ramshackle system, and the danger is that Parliament, either by intent or accident, can, with consequences intended or otherwise, change the major “unwritten” rules and customs that rule our lives.

There is no protection in a written constitution that Parliament cannot change without reference to the courts or to the people themselves.

HeartLandNZ believes that our democracy has some rules and customs that are so important that can only be changed by the citizens themselves.

Some political steps such as changing the name of the country, deciding that the Treaty of Waitangi is core legislation, putting in place a system of government based on race and co-governance, should be outside the scope of Parliament.

HeartLandNZ believes that changes of this importance should only be made by Binding Citizens Initiated referenda.

We would set in place a system whereby citizens could organise a petition  of at least 10% of the votes at the last election and put a referendum question before voters at the next election.

If successful, the referendum would be written directly into law and entrenched to the 75% level.

HeartLandNZ believes that Binding Citizens Referenda would protect voters from arbitrary changes to the core principles on how we are governed and put such decisions in the hands of the people themselves.

Binding Referenda.