Jan Logie
Quotas for women

I don’t meant to be picking on the Minister of Women’s Affairs, but these quotes can’t be left without a response:

“Women’s Affairs Minister Jo Goodhew criticised the quota, saying people should be selected on their merit.

“What really bothers me about this is New Zealand has got an amazing history of women who have been in amazing positions – chief justice, governors-general, we’ve also had prime ministers,” she told Radio New Zealand.

“I think it demeans them for any suggestion that women should be there because the time is right for a women. They were there because of their merit.”

National was satisfied with the number of women in its caucus, 25 percent, but introducing quotas was not the right way to increase it, Goodhew said. “

I suspect the satisfied in the last sentence is a typo but even still what gets me about this contrasting quotas with merit is that it completely ignores discrimination and gender bias.

There is a wealth of evidence that shows entrenched gender bias is a reality. This article demonstrates it in the sciences:

“To test scientist’s reactions to men and women with precisely equal qualifications, the researchers did a randomized double-blind study in which academic scientists were given application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position. The substance of the applications were all identical, but sometimes a male name was attached, and sometimes a female name.

Results: female applicants were rated lower than men on the measured scales of competence, hireability, and mentoring (whether the scientist would be willing to mentor this student). Both male and female scientists rated the female applicants lower.”

If the Minister of Women’s Affairs doesn’t recognise gender bias then we really are in trouble.

I’m not saying quotas are necessarily the answer but it makes sense that they should be considered as a response to bias let alone historical discrimination. They’ve worked really well for us in the Green party.

There’s plenty of evidence that gender balance in governance leads to better governance and I can testify to that from my experience in the Green Caucus.

78 thoughts on “Quotas for women

  1. Jan,

    Problem with quotas as run by the Greens is that we, the voters, dont know if you are the best person to be ranked number 9 on the Greens party list through ability, or are ranked there through gender.

    You may be better in ability to be listed for example at number 7 but as this place is reserved for a male you cannot be.

    Alternatively Jack McDonald listed at number 30 may be a better representative then you at number 9 but, because of being a male, he cannot ever replace you due to gender discrimination.

    You sure you are in the Greens number 9 ranked position due to ability or because you happen to be a female.

    if you are ranked at number 9 because you are a female and not judged on ability, does it worry you to be pandered to like that?

    Token female to fill a quota?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6 (+16)

  2. The big problem is where does it end. Should a caucus properly represent the population of NZ, or should it be comprised of the best available people who WANT the job?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4 (+8)

  3. Quotas work fine within elective politics. The House of Representatives must be just that – representative of NZ. The obvious entrenched ‘quota’ system applies to political opinion, but a slightly weaker one operates geographically. A gender quota is appropriate given that men and women often perceive issues in different ways, and come up with different solutions.

    The alternative – a House of Smarts – is plain undemocratic. Whatever would happen to National? They have rights too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5 (-5)

  4. Talk to Mani Bruce Mitchell, I call her ‘she’ because to me she looks and sounds like a she, but she says she’s neither male or female. Ahh how many not males and not females will be the required number to make the sexes equal in Parliament?

    Never thought of that did you! Nah you lot think sex is binary, you’re so uneducated! You’ll find Mani in Wellington somewhere, I’m surprised she’s not made contact already, this being a topic right up her ally!

    I guess she spends too much time trying to convince the world men treated for Klinefelter’s syndrome are intersex, and not enough time promoting herself as intersex!

    So when ALL the sexes are acknowledged I’ll consider female concerns as being valid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  5. The rank of someone on the party list is based mostly on the vote of the party – not gender – and the balancing for gender, maori, south-north island and other factors are lesser considerations. The process works. Having met Jan and worked for her in Mana, I know that she is far better than several far more senior people of other parties in parliament I have also met. You go right ahead and harbor your suspicions, I know better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10 (-5)

  6. There isn’t an “answer” to that question Dave, there is a “balance”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4 (+1)

  7. quotas was never a perfect solution but no one (can) has come up with a better way…
    We have a race relation chief who dosen’t see the very insulting cartooon to Maori/pacific islander population on main stream newspapers as a problem…
    The SOE sector chief who is not interested in protecting the benifits of real owners of our SOE, so many more expamples to show you how National govt appoints those ministers base on their own “merits”
    worst of all, we have got a PM who wants to sell the whole country off…
    What can we expect? I want to cry…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7 (-5)

  8. BJ,

    The rank of someone on the party list is based mostly on the vote of the party – not gender – and the balancing for gender, maori, south-north island and other factors are lesser considerations.

    Not sure if that is true

    Ms Delahunty said that the Green Party had made a commitment to gender balance through its list ranking process.

    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/national-party-undermines-percentage-women-parliament

    So how does that work, this magical listing process?

    Green party members create a “wish list” of the candidates to put on the parliamentary list. The “leaders” then decide how to rank this list taking into account the considerations of gender, race, residency, etc. to finalise the list ranking?

    So how do we know that Jan Logie is the best person on ability to be ranked 9th on the current list. We ( the voters) dont as she may well have been chosen based on gender.

    Jan Logie will always have this cloud hanging over her. Is she on the list based on ability or on the list based on gender.

    She now has to double work harder to convince the voters she is there on merit and ability, not on gender.

    She may well be a far far better MP then any MP from another party, but is she the best person from the Greens to be ranked number 9.

    That is the doubt, in the voters mind, the Greens and her have to overcome when you introduce gender balances through quotas and biases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  9. I support gender equality, IF it is used to promote the ‘best & brightest’ of both sexes.. not as a tool, just to make the numbers look right.

    I don’t take the Nats comments seriously, their agenda seems to be; giving the top jobs to ‘their mates’, regardless of anything else (eg GCSB)! ‘the old school tie’ mentality !!

    If the Labour party are serious, maybe they should consider the option the Greens took : Co-Leaders & list ranking by the members (not by the exec.) ?

    Kia-ora

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  10. BJ
    The conundrum is what demographic profile do we adopt as the basis for balance. I see the proposal for the Labour Party is calling for “accurate reflection of genders, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, tangata whenua and age mix of society. Their only option for Something tells me that mandating a mix of that nature through the electorate offices could result in (for instance) Wellington Central voters having a 70 year old bi-sexual African man as a Labour Party general election candidate. If gender becomes a point of quota allocation, them equity suggests that at least all sexual orientations are as valid. As I asked before, where does it end? Or, what must a balance be struck between?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  11. There is off course a perfect system where ALL sections of the society and the community have equal say in the legislative process in this country.

    That is to do away with the parliament as a representative body and carry out ALL legislative decision making by binding citizen initiated referendums.

    We simply need a administrative state department that takes in citizen referendum ideas or issues and writes up unbiased referendum criteria and carries out the physical referendum function.

    Once the referendum has been held the state administration body enacts the laws and hey presto done.

    No need for political parties, no need for lists, no need for MP’s, no worries about representation bias, etc.

    Wonder if the Greens would be interested in having a truly democratic system to govern this country or are the vestiges of power, to laud over the citizens, too strong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  12. We’ve considered the Swiss system here a few times Gerrit. You are incredibly inaccurate to describe any Green attitude towards governance a tendency or desire or residual need to “laud over the citizens”. Frankly you are offensive in this.

    More than usually so.

    Democratic self-government is a difficult thing for humans.

    We have a huge tendency to erode minority rights.

    The population of ANY country is excruciatingly limited in knowledge of issues due to the limitations of the press and people’s self-limiting tendency to listen to just one side… to manage a country through direct democracy one has to ensure the education and information systems are thoroughly unbiased and that the people are in fact getting that information.

    You’d need to work out what systems you can use to guarantee the problems above are solved sufficiently to prevent a fatal descent into the slavery of ignorance. I am considering, since you bring up the question, whether the representative democracy we currently are attempting to have, isn’t actually better for its ability to somewhat sidestep some of them, despite the theoretical advantages of a direct democracy. Not apt to come to a conclusion soon, to be sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 (-3)

  13. Dave – What I said is that the question doesn’t have an answer, it has a balance. Which is going to be handled in the usual human (that is- messy) way. You seem to want some specific lines or ratio’s drawn yet, any SPECIFIC ratio will sooner or later exclude a brilliant candidate or include a witless one. Which is why there isn’t an answer of the sort you are asking for. There’s a balance. We try to strike the best one we can with every voting and sorting of our list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  14. Bj
    Sorry, I made my point a little too oblique.
    My reality is that we have a completely representational Parliament! It is elected by men and women who, collectively ARE the total representation of interested voting age citizens/residents of all demographics that any approach to segmentation can produce. There is not, and never has been, a need for candidates to be selected for an electorate based on a demographic segment, as we have geographic electorates, not demographic ones. If we really want to have demographic representation in the House, we need to have the same demographic representation in the electorates, so that (again, just as an example,) only Pakeha lesbians get to vote for which pakeha lesbian represents them: any other approach that forces demographic candidate selection on a geographic electorate must, by definition, be anathema.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  15. Hmmm… maybe the Greens are watching the demographics because we are too sparse in any given geographic region to do anything but instead rely on our list?

    I see your point Dave. I think correct… except we have this messy system and we do have list MPs. Complicated. Seems to work though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  16. I guess works ‘sort of’ would be my comment BJ. I think you might end up in a situation where you need to compile the list AFTER the electorate seats are decided, so that the balancing act can start from a position of insight rather than crystal balling.
    :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  17. BJ,

    You are incredibly inaccurate to describe any Green attitude towards governance a tendency or desire or residual need to “laud over the citizens”. Frankly you are offensive in this.

    Jeeez, you are a sensitive soul BJ, The very reason of the Green party’s existence is to be in government and sit on the treasury benches. If that is not “lauding over the citizens” you are being naive in the extreme.

    How else are the Greens going to implement policies?

    Your statement about being offended is wet, wet, wet.

    Ask Dr Norman why he wants to be minster of finance! Surely to implement Greens policy and to be able to “laud over the citizens”.

    Are you offended that Dr Norman wants to be minister of finance?

    No, off course not so why be “offended” by being called out for the power that the position entails. The power to “laud over the citizens”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 (+4)

  18. Gerrit – The purpose is not to gain superiority, but to implement the policies. I am quite sure that if we could be sure to get our policies implemented by putting someone else, even of some other party, in charge of treasury, that treasury would drop far down the list of desired positions. “Laud over” is specifically pejorative in that it implies a personal ambition of superiority and dictatorial power which is no part of the motivations of the party.

    It is however, part of the mythology about the party which is recited at every opportunity by the wingnut brigate.

    Perhaps this is one of those areas where the American English I use and the English of New Zealanders differ. Laud was an Archbishop with hugely repressive and dictatorial tendencies and from that the pejorative meaning is derived. Perhaps that is lost here. I do not think so.

    Policies matter and personal ambition is far far down the list.

    Conflating the two as you do, is wrong. Moreover, you are still not addressing the issues I called to your attention in your desire for more direct democracy. They ARE important, and whether you wish to ignore them or not, I cannot. We have a democracy that is working fairly well in a very difficult situation (given the lack of a proper Constitution and the existence and form of the treaty of Waitangi). Better than most others in any case.

    I am challenging you to work out how a more direct democracy can in fact function with as much ignorance and as extensive a media penetration and influence, in the minds of our citizens as currently exists. It is NOT as simple and as easy as you wish it to be.

    I am offended NOW because you persist in this error. I suggest you stop.

    BJ

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  19. I think you might end up in a situation where you need to compile the list AFTER the electorate seats are decided

    We could win an actual electorate seat? Yes… after Mother Nature pummels the electorate and the media become convinced that there is reason to believe us instead of the professional liars who currently entrance their reporters so easily. At that point we might have to do some additional consideration about the list formulations, but I doubt that it would be a serious problem. The list voting ranks people according to how much the Green’s membership likes them for the job.

    Gender and Ethnicity aren’t in it at that level, and predictions about what seats we might win are apt to be far more accurate than predictions about how the list voting is apt to come out. I suspect that we would not find it difficult to manage things appropriately ahead of the formal results.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  20. BJ,

    if the term “Laud Over” is so offensive, build a bridge.

    it might antagonise your American sensibilites, it does not mine.

    Perfectly acceptable expression in popular terms.

    You confusing the true meaning of the word “Laud”

    http://thesaurus.com/browse/laud or http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laud

    with William Laud

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Laud

    Or more likely you are taking false offensive to suit you purpose.

    —————————————————————

    The point I’m making about CIBR is that it encompasses ALL demographics and as such means the parliament does not need to try and fit 4 million demographically diverse citizens into a 120 person parliament.

    You cannot possible achieve a balanced parliament by jigging the members as there is just not enough off them,to cater for all the demographic variations in the populace.

    To do so on gender but not on race (to pick but one alternative criteria) is patently wrong.

    ——————————

    There will never be a constitution whilst the Treaty of Waitangi is in existence.

    Your premise of a Maori only upper house to “laud over” the parliament is a no goer for 85% of the population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  21. bjchip “The population of ANY country is excruciatingly limited in knowledge of issues due to the limitations of the press and people’s self-limiting tendency to listen to just one side… to manage a country through direct democracy one has to ensure the education and information systems are thoroughly unbiased and that the people are in fact getting that information.”

    Quite agree.
    For example, remind me which political parties supported a maintenance, (let alone a return) of the respected TVNZ7 when it was drawing it’s dying breath and who, from the political arena is out there now championing a return to the television media, particularly, journalism & programming of a mature, respectful and genuinely investigative focus; digging deep into both /all sides of a point of view instead of the superficial, salacious PC driven soundbites that are multiply regurgitated on our screens each night? That’s if one can be bothered watching. Generally speaking, our society has been educatively and morally dumbed down by successive governments and compliant media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  22. As I understand and recall, the Green Party List is compiled in the order indicated by the number of votes given to each candidate by the party membership, after seeing the profile, abilities and qualifications and experience, of each of the candidates. After that, I’m not entirely clear as to how the party leaders finalise the list order, and choose the two co-leaders, but I think it’s by the party vote. Presumably with the addition of the leaders’ experience of, and vote, also, for the candidates; and then, the highest-voted male and female on the list as co-leaders??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  23. The meaning of “laud over” or “laud it over” to an American is specifically pejorative in the way that I explained, and it is vastly different to the meaning of “laud” which, in the context you used it, is actually completely insensible.

    It is I think, specifically related to the Archbishop’s attitude AND the homophonic “Lord it over”. In any case, for ANY American you should avoid using it as you did for they WILL take offense (assuming my often illiterate countrymen understand it at all).

    Again, this may be a NZ specific difference in meaning, as it is the first time I have encountered it here. Not commonly used at my work or on the street so the lack of seeing it is not surprising, but it IS surprising that the ‘mericuns still work with the pejorative sense and that would be lost here. After all, Laud and Lord are both ENGLISH and Kiwis were never as revolting as Americans :-)

    —————

    It is all well and good to “encompass all demographics” but you are still paying no attention to the problems with it. The media barons would run the country instead of the bankers? I don’t suppose it would be a lot WORSE, but overall it would not be what you want because most people aren’t informed well enough to make rational choices about all the issues that need to be decided. Who writes the proposed bills anyway? You’ve got a huge potential problem with minority rights as well.

    As for a Constitutionally formed upper house of Maori, they’d get some specific areas of responsibility where they have powers, not the broad based privilege you envision. The Treaty would live on in a sense but the laws would be for everyone and divisions created by the Treaty would be moved from the communities to the Beehive.

    I think you’re being overly pessimistic about the tolerance of the 85%.

    There is at least a possibility that 42% of us non-maori would reckon it a reasonable solution to the problem that the Treaty poses to the future.

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  24. BJ,

    Your are a bit of a dagg (another word with a double meaning, and no it does not refer to the disgusting bits hanging from a sheep’s behind) asking people not to use certain words because a preciously sensitive American might take offensive.

    Grow a pair (or pear).

    Explaining is loosing, but in your case to explain cultural nuances, to “laud over” is to seek praise for appearing to do good, whilst stabbing the person in the back. Sort of being nice but following a different agenda then appearances suggest. Usually used a a sarcastic term for our so called “leader”.

    Now if Americans find that offensive, tough, for I’m not shaking in my red bands for the fear of a knuckle sandwich. (get your head around that lot).

    When will you let go of your Americaness and take on more of a Kiwi persona?

    ———————————————-

    So because us plebs (as in the those who are required to laud our leaders) are not “educated” or (educated incorrectly) enough to make decisions the Greens will not enable the right to have CIBR?

    What level of “re-education” is acceptable before we can do away with 120 parliamentarians and have democracy?

    —————————————–

    Can you confirm that there is jigging of the parliamentary list ranking to fall in line with Catherine Delahunty statement that gender balance is a priority?

    If not is it done undemocratically by the Greens leadership and behind the backs of the members?

    And it it is does that lead to factional control as we are witnessing in the Labour party?

    Must be hard for any Greens party member (male or female) to be ranked on the party list by the membership and then be relegated up and down on the whim of the leaders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  25. What level of “re-education” is acceptable before we can do away with 120 parliamentarians

    **Utterly missing the point.**

    WHO controls that education and information flow? – Rupert Murdoch? The Prime Minister? Someone else?

    HOW do you persuade people who simply don’t give a rat’s rear end, to learn anything about the larger problems of society in depth?

    I have pointed this out as a reason to NOT do what you seem intent on doing in terms of “direct democracy”. The Swiss seem to do it better… but the problem of who controls the information and education looms large for the population of an isolated island as opposed to a country that borders directly on 5 others and speaks 3 major languages.

    It affects us here in NZ even with the representative system we’ve adopted.

    It would affect any more “direct” democracy more potently.

    You feel very free to snipe at the democratic processes of the most open party there is… yet you are not paying attention to the problems with your preferred solution.

    I do doubt that anyone is shifted very far on the list based on gender and ethnic points. The last list looked a lot like my ballot. At a guess there may be some internalized “balancing” being done by many of us when we are actually voting – I don’t know what goes on in the minds of my fellow Greens.

    The list is there because the party has some faith in the performance and make up of its caucus. Our system does get good people into parliament. We, as a PARTY, agreed to work towards a balance in caucus and unless you join the party you haven’t got a grizzle coming.

    ______________________________________

    to “laud over” is to seek praise for appearing to do good, whilst stabbing the person in the back.

    As suspected, it IS pejorative… but it is also quite different from the meaning I have absorbed over the past 58 years. I will be careful of using that phrase here, and I don’t really care much whether you insult my fellows… they’ll provide you with any argument required if that occurs.

    On my part I regard the rest as somewhat amusing. I only know the part of the sheep meaning. What you said was something I perceived as being extraordinarily offensive to the leadership of the Green party.

    Personally I am quite happy to call you names if that’s the game you wish to play Gerrit, but this is NOT about me.

    It is about your misperception of the party and its leaders, and your advocacy of a form of democracy that is inherently unstable unless there is significantly more interest taken by the people of the country.

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  26. BJ you have it the wrong way around. We need more direct democracy, first so that ordinary people begin to control the dialogue and the information that is presented.

    And. It is messy and difficult, as we know from the Greens policy process, but the many voices and inputs, and checks and balances mean much better thought out, robust and effective policy.

    It has been attributed to Churchill, but he was correct. “Democracy is the worse form of Government, except for all the others”.

    So long as a small minority has control we continue with the present problems.

    We have seen first hand what damage a small lunatic fringe, in parliament, like 1984 Labour, and present day National/ACT can do to us.

    Sadly, even many from the left would rather have their chance at a three year term in dictatorship, than allow the only moral and ethical government. Which is real democracy!

    As someone else said, “if voting made any difference, it would be banned”.

    The fact that a democratic majority may not agree with you, or me, on some things is not a valid objection to direct democracy. The same objections apply to allowing voting, at all!

    It is no accident that Switzerland, along with a few other countries which allow effective citizens voices in decision making have been the most stable and effective of the worlds societies.

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  27. Churchill was indeed correct. One of those forms of government that is worse than (representative) democracy is the so-called direct democracy.

    Do you really want Seven Sharp, or heaven forbid, Garth McVicar controlling public policy? Because that is what will happen. They aren’t called sheeple without reason…

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  28. Bullshit. Certainly not the experience of the Swiss. Do you really think that the majority, directly, are as stupid as our politicians?

    I certainly do not want Key, Brownlee and co making policy. And I am not sure that Shearer and Mallard are any better.

    The thing is, if, we found that following McVicar’s ideas didn’t work, under direct democracy, we would soon reverse them.
    Just because McVicar makes a lot of noise it doesn’t mean the majority agree with him, by the way.
    And a judges more sensible observations on sentencing, were buried by the Government.

    Whereas some idiot politicians daft ideas never get reversed. People who have to make real decisions, as the Swiss experience shows, take more care than they do answering 7 sharp, polls.

    “Representative democracy” is an oxymoron, by the way. If we are ruled by 7 or 8 people in caucus, as we are now, or, more realistically, by their financial backers, IT IS NOT DEMOCRACY.

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  29. Those who think, that the majority of ordinary people cannot make good decisions, are showing their own arrogance and contempt for the rest of us.

    You are also bucking the evidence, which shows that, on the whole, the more people involved in decision making, the better the overall quality of the decisions.

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  30. The Green party attempts to get as close as they can to direct democracy, and consensus in their decision making as they can.
    It can be as correct and effective nationally as it is for one party.

    AND, Lastly. What moral right has a few people in parliament, to override the wishes, and best interests of the majority. As we have seen recently with the totally stupidity of power company sell-offs.

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  31. Not to mention the Hamilton city council listening to the loony fringe, instead of the 70% who voted to follow the science.

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  32. . What moral right has a few people in parliament, to override the wishes, and best interests of the majority. As we have seen recently with the totally stupidity of power company sell-offs.

    Hmmm
    As I rember it not even enough voters to require a referendum proved themselves wishing to not wish to sell off the power company minority equity positions. Though I suppose youean that you know what is in our best interests and we should just do what we’re told.

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  33. Kerry – The difference between NZ and Switzerland is that one is surrounded by other countries and the other is surrounded by water. The multinational poly-lingual Swiss are not going to suffer the dominance of monopoly news providers. Their borders are porous, and their citizens activists compared with our own.

    You may be right. It may be that if the decisions were more direct we’d get more citizen involvement and better citizen self-informing behaviours. I don’t know if that is true though and given the effective monopolies held by Sky and Murdoch, I perceive significant risks.

    Moreover, I would be EXTREMELY loathe to allow such a system without formal constitutional protections for minority rights.

    I actually LIKE the Swiss system. I just don’t see it as certain to be successful here, and the risk if it fails is I think, still worse than what we have now, as bad as that is.

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  34. BJ. I don’t think any new system will succeed right off the bat. The Swiss took over a hundred years.

    We have a tradition of leaving politics to the politicians, at least in part because, unlike Switzerland, individual voters have almost no say whatsoever. There is much more incentive to learn about what is really going on if you actually have some say in the results.

    In our system you vote in the politicians, and then they do whatever they want. Some means of slowing down their decision making so they at least try and make good ones is essential, as we have seen recently.

    As for minorities. Our Governments have, on the whole, tended to lag well behind the general population on minority rights.

    The only minority that has entrenched protection, is the 1%!
    Which is one of the main reasons democracy is so poo poohed whenever it is mentioned. Can’t have the citizenry voting against the gravy train, for those who steal the most from us.

    Any way the first step would be BCIR, with a low enough threshold so we actually have them, and binding recall election petitions. Stops politicians from forgetting who they work for..

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  35. Dave Stringer. The bar of signatures for a referendum was deliberately set almost impossibly high, so that politicians would not be inconvenienced by too much obvious public disagreement with their idiocies.

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  36. Kerry,
    If ‘wishes of the majority” was to stop “the stupidity of power company sell offs” there would be no problem whetting enough signatures for a plebiscite. Or is it again your point that what is “in the best interests of the majority” is best decided by you, and to he’ll with what the rest of us think?

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  37. Tend to agree with Kerry on direct demopcracy, I’d rather trust the sheep than the wolves.

    But going back to Goodhhew’s daft remark about women who have gained positions of prominence in NZ society: “I think it demeans them for any suggestion that women should be there because the time is right for a women. They were there because of their merit.”

    Does that mean that for the very long time in which prominent positions were almost exclusively held by men, it was because women weren’t up to the required standard? Goodhew needs to think about what she says, I think.

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  38. The people chose John Key to lead the country. Because he is a good, honest, smiling, trustworthy man.

    Yes, the people chose well. All hail the power of the people to choose wisely.

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  39. dbuckley,

    Yes, the people chose well. All hail (laud — my emphasis, proving my point to BJ that leaders want to laud over us!!) the power of the people to choose wisely.

    Am presuming that you left the sarcasm tag out of your comment!!

    The mistrust you place in the people is as bad as BJ’s.

    Do you really think we are too immature (as BJ is suggesting – who quotes that we dont talk three languages and are bound by the oceans as reasons for our immaturity compared to the Swiss) to make sounds collective decisions?

    You rather leave all the decisions to a select few in political parties to make the decisions for us?

    If you want to control the excess off the Key’s, Shearer’s, Peter’s, Norman’s, Harawira’s, and their likes, you certainly would endorse the concept of Binding Citizen Initiated Referendums.

    How else can we control the power in the parliament that is now so overreaching, that it alienates the people.

    Recent referendums are clear examples of the will of the people being ignored by the parliamentarians. Greens included.

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  40. Dave – The only limitation I discovered in collecting signatures was my own time. Fully 80% of people I door-knocked signed. Some snatched the thing out of my hands they were that eager. Some had to have it explained to them. The limitation is simply that there are only so many hours I can donate, and they are very EXPENSIVE hours for me. The sheer numbers are daunting for a small cadre of people to collect, even when most people agree with the premise behind it. That’s the problem with the petitions as they stand now. That and the fact that Parties in Power still ignore them.

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  41. Gerrit:

    Am presuming that you left the sarcasm tag out of your comment!!

    If you are making such an assumption, then you are incorrect; there is no sarcasm intended.

    If we think that the people can be relied upon to make good issue-by-issue decisions, requiring a significant degree of understanding and investment of time, then surely when they only have one decision to make they would make a good job of that decision?

    You personally may not approve of what the smiling John Key is doing, but you cannot argue he is there because (collectively) we made that decision. There is little he does that comes as a surprise to anyone, this is what we (collectively) knew what he would do.

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  42. Having seen what “the people” decide where their information flow is controlled and their education is limited, I have no real faith in ANY system. However, the model of representative democracy is better than any of plutocracy, aristocracy or dictatorship.

    Whether a “direct” democracy can be had here or whether it would degenerate into a dictatorship by media, is a real question for me. You don’t credence it. You aren’t familiar then, with the way the American electorate makes decisions. Believe me we are doing FAR better here.

    Moreover, I’d want to see at least another 5-6 elections with the current arrangement, modified per the recommendations of the electoral commission, before I campaign for some further revolution. We’ve only JUST graduated from FPP ballots.

    This is perhaps the first generation in which a true representative democracy may be reasonably attempted. The perils of the attempt are many. You have a requirement for immediacy that demands that it be largely automated, but that leaves you open to manipulation of the automation, so there has to be an audit trail for each ballot but that leaves you open to losing anonymity. You have a to decide just what gets voted ON and a further need to make certain that when the balloting is done, at least 60-70% of the voters have been introduced to the problem the bill is trying to solve and had some time to think on it. You have a necessity to protect minority rights that demands some serious changes to the way laws are written and implemented, and some sort of Constitution that guarantees those rights along with the legal structure to back them up ESPECIALLY when the “will of the majority” is that those rights be violated.

    In short Gerrit, you are being naive. I do LIKE the idea of changing to something like what the Swiss do. Kerry pointed out something I do agree with, which is (to paraphrase) that people who know their votes make a difference are more apt to pay attention to what they are voting for or against. I think that is true, and it may overwhelm the problems with it. What I do NOT accept is your assertion that my mistrust of voters has something to do with arrogance. It is simply an observed reality. The media “pwns” them so thoroughly in the USA that it isn’t even possible to get a third party into the debates.

    To what extent does/would that affect us here?

    Considering the lies that come from the media about the Greens on a regular basis here I would not accept any answer that dismisses it… and your own attitude confirms that many of those lies have found homes in Kiwi minds. What you propose are, so far, measures which would enhance that power of the media and so far (in this thread) you have offered no countervailing mechanism to offset it. You set yourself on a slippery slope, and you take no precautions at all.

    Which is perhaps, one of the reasons I am so dismissive of the average voter. You’re someone I regard with some respect and yet you are not chasing the issues logically, preferring instead to ascribe the problems described to the “arrogance” of the Green Party.

    Which is unlikely to be an idea that just popped into your head based on what you actually know of the party and its policies.

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  43. Bullshit. Certainly not the experience of the Swiss. Do you really think that the majority, directly, are as stupid as our politicians?

    I’ve worked amongst the Swiss in a British outpost of a Swiss bank. I can accept completely that the Swiss can make anything they want work. They have a different mindset. It works for them. You better not hope for too much flexibility or free thought though, as you will soon find that you are not seen to be toeing the line.

    I would say: be careful what you wish for.

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  44. ” There is little he does that comes as a surprise to anyone, this is what we (collectively) knew what he would do.”

    Really!

    Did ‘we’ know he was going to champion a surveillance state for New Zealand and New Zealanders?

    That’s fairly significant, don’t you think?

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  45. I think the only surprise there was that it all got a bit messy when it was realised that the law doesnt support what was going on. If you believe that states dont do (what few, some or all consider to be) bad things every day, then that is a bit naieve.

    Can I remind you of what I said in this very blog on the 28th March, 2011:

    Despite the fact the the next Key led government will fuck us over more than any government in our history, and I reckon pretty much everybody agrees this to be the case, the question is “is there any power on earth that could be summoned to prevent this happening”, and I believe the answer is no.

    Thus the best advice seems to be to find a comfortable place to bend over and wait for it, as you know its coming, and its coming hard.

    Does that not sum up pretty accurately what has happened? It was as clear as the day is long to anyone with a working brain what was happening, we (collectively) could have stopped it (albeit with significant risk of heading into an abyss) and yet still, it happened. And it happened because the same people who you want to make decisions couldn’t or wouldn’t see past the smile. They couldn’t understand the implications of just one decision every few years. How would they fare with a few important and significant decisions a week?

    And that is why citizen democracy is dangerous. Again: Churchill was right, representative democracy is a fucking awful way to determine how to run a country, but still it remains the least bad. And as the idea that we could have issue-voting-by-iPhone becomes a realistic possibility, the risks of even worse government looms larger by the day.

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  46. “when it was realised that the law doesnt support what was going on”

    You mean ‘when it was revealed that the law was being knowingly and systematically broken’, yes?

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  47. ” It was as clear as the day is long to anyone with a working brain what was happening, we (collectively) could have stopped it”
    Hmmm… how many do you number ‘those with a working brain’ and does that number equal ‘we’ (who could collectively have stopped it)?
    If not, bj’s assertion seems to be the correct one. If it’s not a matter of numbers, then perhaps there is another approach to ‘stopping it’.
    Strategies welcomed at this point in the discussion.

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  48. The A significant number of people chose John Key to lead the country. Because they believed he is a good, honest, smiling, trustworthy man.

    Yes, the people chose well. All hail the power of the people to choose wisely.”

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  49. BJ. Even with the media propaganda in the States, what the majority want is still pretty sensible.
    http://www.alternet.org/story/148738/voters_want_jobs%2C_economic_recovery%2C_and_a_government_that_will_work_to_achieve_it

    You will be pleased to know that, given policies to choose from, without a party name on them, in some recent Uni research, unfortunately not published yet anywhere I have access, the group overwhelmingly chose Green and/or left wing type policy answers.
    As we well know. “Reality has a left wing bias”.

    Which is why wannabee authoritarians are so scared of it.

    Stringer. Churchill said “Democracy”, not “representative democracy”.

    If you really believe you cannot trust voters to make good decisions, why let them vote for representatives, either!

    In NZ, Hard to vote for good options when you really only have two. A National party which wants to fuck you, but look, from the view of those who get their news from TVNZ, at least marginally competent, or a Labour party which looks like an incoherent bunch of clowns, that keep shooting them selves in the foot.

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  50. dbuckley,

    Churchill never (not in the online quotes I can find anyway) ever denoted or qualified what type of democracy he was refering to.

    He simply said Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    http://www.notable-quotes.com/d/democracy_quotes.html

    Note no qualification on representative or direct democracy.

    You are embellishing the truth to suit your purpose and thus defeats ALL your arguments against direct democracy, AKA the Swiss system.

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  51. Labour even managed to stuff up the publicity, and sound incoherent, incompetent and off message, about equal representation for women. A policy which has hardly raised eyebrows in the Green party, and even conservative parties elsewhere.

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  52. Jan has tripped herself up here with this simple quote –

    “Both male and female scientists rated the female applicants lower.”

    So tell me Jan, if women (in a democratic vote) turn out to have their own gender bias, who are you to tell them they are wrong?

    Is it so inconceivable that women may actually be comfortable with men representing them politically?

    I imagine that in the insular, blinkered world of left wing politics the notion is inconceivable, but out in the real world, women would appear to slightly prefer a gender imbalance toward males.

    Why do the political left believe that the human female is their exclusive political property?

    How patronizing.

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  53. Kerry – 46% of the US thinks the theory of evolution is a crock.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

    20% can’t even read the poll questions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy_in_the_United_States

    Trusting a misinformation pipeline that powerful… is not a good idea. 40% still think the scientists are divided on climate change… those would be the ones who get all their news from Faux.

    Overall the question of what people want is different from what they then vote for based on what they know. People did not I think, want what Key & Co. have been doing. They wanted something else but they thought in some media mediated delusional way, that the leopard changed his spots.

    I do not TRUST the media for the purpose it would wind up serving in that instance.

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  54. Gerrit, I am not “embellishing the truth to suit”; I am being absolutely specific in what I mean. At no time am have I stated literally that is what Churchill said, I have merely referred to the quote. Kerry did actually quoter the words in their original form.

    The quote comes from a time before direct democracy could possibly have existed, a time when the only available form of democracy was representative democracy. BJ attests to that. Therefore Churchill could never have experienced the possibility of direct democracy, and thus would never have clarified what he meant was a specific type of democracy. But… if Churchill had meant that “the least bad system of government is the people having direct rule but we can’t have that so we’ll have representative rule”, then you would have though thats what he would have said.

    Now if me being absolutely clear, which is what I always try to do, is cause for you to discard all I say, then so be it. I’m not going to be sloppy just to please the audience, thats not the way David rolls.

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  55. Shunda – when you say, ‘out in the real world’, do you mean the world that is real to a woman living with the Mogrel Mob, a woman living in a country that enjoys Sharia law, a woman living in a repressive fundamentalist Christian community, a woman living in.. well, what world are you claiming to be real?

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  56. Heres an example then: We the people have to decide on monetary policy, and what we would like the exchange rate target for 2015 to be. Using your touch tone phone, enter youur voter number and then:

    Key 4 for 40 US cents to the NZ Dollar, 5 for 50 US cents to the NZ Dollar, 6 for 60 etc, up to 9 for 90 US cents to the NZD.

    On the telly tonight there will be an information programme, that basically says the higher the rate the less employed people we have and the cheaper petrol and flat screen tellys will be. Or we can have a lower rate, which will probably boost employment, but have expensive tellys and petrol and milk.

    Now this isn’t an opinion poll for fun; this is our lives we’re dealing with.

    Just how do you think this will play out?

    Since its my game, I’ll start: When I was much younger, a buck was worth exactly ten bob, and its there or there abouts again now, so the exchange rate must be about right, so I’m keying 8.

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  57. dbuckley,

    So surely if you add to a quote (for clarification and explanation purposes) you would acknowledge that you had?

    Cant just take a quote and add what you like without explanation.

    However Churchill, being an avid historian (and history writer) would have klnow that the first direct democracy was the Athenian Democracy.

    The earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian Democracy in the 5th century BCE

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

    From the same source

    Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the “statute referendum” to their national constitution. They soon discovered that merely having the power to veto Parliament’s laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the “constitutional amendment initiative”. The Swiss political battles since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative (Kobach, 1993). In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendum

    You saying that Churchill would not have been aware of direct democracy is but your opinion. He was certainly aware of it in my opinion.

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  58. Ok, lets assume you’re right, and Churchill was aware of direct democracy, then as he didn’t differentiate the various forms of democracy then it would appear that he considered the merits of direct and representational democracy equivalent. So I’ll accept that Churchill didn’t consider direct democracy to be worse than represntational democracy. But by the same token, he also didn’t consider it any better.

    And had I quoted something it would have been either in inverted commas or a blockquote cite thang.

    Will read that Wikipedia article. Once I’ve beaten my fscking computer into submission. Its nice having some time to blog whilst its industriously working away, but when it all ends in tears….. .

    So what should the exchange rate be, citizen?

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  59. BJ.

    The problem there is the poor quality of the US education system.

    (Otherwise Faux news would be an object of derision).

    As designed and run by the politicians picked by “representative democracy”.

    The problem here, as in the USA, is whoever you vote for, “you get a politician” with no real publicly available checks and balances on whatever loony ideas they have.

    We have NACT trying to dumb down our public system right now, even though it is obvious the majority do not want it.
    To stifle dissent, make compliant industry cannon fodder and to make private, sorry, “partnership”, LOL, schools look like a good option.

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  60. Direct democracy has existed at least since Athenian times.

    And Churchill was well aware of direct democracy. He wrote about it.

    As did several of the US founding fathers.

    Understandably, being a member of the English upper classes, he was uncomfortable about giving the “masses” economic power. However he did accept that democracy was the only ethical form of Government. After his post war electoral defeat. “The people have spoken, as is their right”.

    One of the notable failures of “representative democracy” was Rome. The representatives, who wanted the status, wealth and power of elected positions, offered all sorts of bread and circuses to get elected.
    Bit like the NACT’s borrowing for tax cuts, really!

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  61. dBuckly.

    Get rid of the stupidity of the, long past its use by date, reserve bank act. The dollar will find a realistic level, and our interest rates will drop to similar levels as our trade partners..

    The ACT which kicks exporters, workers and local producers in the teeth whenever the Auckland property market rises. A rise caused by the influx of loan money due to the reserve bank raising interest rates.

    To pinch a bit from another Churchill quote. “Trying to lift a bucket while standing in it”. Though he was talking about taxes. The next Government proved him wrong on that one.

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  62. Gerrit – That “Direct Democracy” was nothing like what you’re talking about. Did the slaves get to vote? The women? The pig farmers outside the city? Sorry… the definitions being used don’t match up and CANNOT match up with the relevant realities of the times then and now. Direct democracy existed for the privileged few who could exercise it. Being privileged their education was assured. A bit like the founding father’s in the US having limited the franchise.

    You do need to pay attention to the details, as the historians are apt to trip you up.

    If you have that little faith in the general population, Why even let them vote for representatives?

    In the USA there really IS no point in the voting. Not really. It’s done because there’s a mechanism whereby theoretically a revolution can happen at the ballot box and that is supposed to forestall the real thing.

    Franklin said, A Republic, if we can keep it. Neither he nor Jefferson were expecting it to last long… and in truth it didn’t survive to its 200th birthday. The COUNTRY did, but the government was co-opted by the wealthy long since now. The proles vote for whoever the talking heads like and the talking heads like the folks who pay them.

    Not a good system. As Churchill said, the others are worse.

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  63. bjchip; (8.49 a.m.) ‘The only limitation I discovered in collecting signatures was my own time…..there are only so many hours I can donate, and they are very EXPENSIVE hours for me…..the sheer numbers are daunting for the small cadre of people to collect…….that’s the problem with petitions as they stand now…’ (AS THEY STAND NOW….)

    Exactly. Which is why I fail to understand the lack of interest in using E-MAIL PETITIONS in this country! I sign literally dozens, (and they sign ours) concerning issues in the U.S., Canada, India, France, Romania, Mining/the Arctic, Ross Sea/Maui dolphins. G.E., factory farming, party pills, etc. etc. etc. And about TWICE A WEEK, following the tens of thousands of signatures on a petition, there are victories, as a politician, government, department, company, group abusing people or animals, or other group, agrees to modify or stop their action. 85,000 signatures persuaded the U.S. military to stop using certain animals VERY cruelly in training; Zoos have stopped exploiting certain animals; senators have changed policies, and so on and on..
    So…does anyone know what percentage of New Zealanders use e-mails/internet/Facebook etc??
    There must be thousands, for a start, who can’t get out to collect paper signatures… and what a ‘burden’ that is, anyway.
    I think we need to catch up on other countries and use e-petitions to actually impress our needs and wishes STRONGLY on those in power in the various sectors. It certainly forces them to take notice! Can anyone present a counter-argument?! We are rather lax in really making ourselves heard! Around the world, millions are marching and petitioning their big concerns and needs.

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  64. Good idea Noelene and…. this would be an excellent first step towards the more “direct” democracy we might wish to have. A practice/training step where we get to nut out the difficulties involved in the electronic verification and duplication-prevention and the rest.

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  65. BJ,

    You do need to pay attention to the details, as the historians are apt to trip you up.

    You are backwards projecting 22nd century human rights values to a 5th century society. The Athenian Democracy was not held up s an example of how a democracy would work today, it was held up as a rebuttal to David Buckley claims that Churchill could not have been aware off direct democracy principles (though I note that you don’t comment on the current Swiss model).

    Nothing tripping me up, sunshine.

    For one so stoutly defending representative democracy it sure seems strange that you would call for the charging of the current political party, in charge of the representative democracy, with treason.

    Surely seeing so a large failing in representative democracy you would be ALL in favour of direct democracy?

    Problem you have is that political parties and their ability to laud over the populace, would be gone. Political parties would be no more then lobby groups forwarding their “take” on how people should vote in a citizen initiated binding referendum.

    Not sure politicians are ready to let go of the ego and power trips that they have in gaining the peoples praise (vote) as leaders.

    As the Egyptians are finding out right now, representative democracy is not the best avenue towards self fulfillment and actualisation.

    The “new” representatives were as bad as the “old” ones.

    this would be an excellent first step towards the more “direct” democracy we might wish to have.

    Though do I see a slight thawing of your frozen attitude?

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  66. OK Gerrit… it was offered as a rebuttal to a specific point made by DB. I can accept that, and if it sounded like a claim that it has been working successfully in the far more general form I’ll just put it down to my tin ear.

    As for the Swiss arrangement I DID comment on it, several times here. More in passing as I am familiar with it from a previous thread in which Kerry suggested it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_Switzerland

    Not completely “direct democracy” in the sense that seemed to be promoted by your previous efforts here.

    The points one takes away quickly are that for a CONSTITUTIONAL change to be proposed and voted on only 100,000 signatures is required and the population is similar in number to our own. Here we have to have 300,000 to just get a non-binding referendum. The other of course is that it is not quite direct.

    I would be able to be happy with that if I had any faith whatsoever that the people of NZ were getting their news and education from the same sort of milieu as the Swiss.

    We get Sky and Murdoch, and the alternative takes are given short shrift. Choices get artificially limited by the limits on information. We get channel blocked across the net because we aren’t in the right geo-zone. How many of us check the news from Al-Jazeerah or RT? This is a minimum requirement and even so it does not address single-sourced local news reports and commentary.

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  67. Bj. You are being a little inconsistent here.
    The fact you were collecting signatures for a citizens referendum suggests that you ARE supporting direct democracy. With your feet!

    By the way. If, what was it, 46%? of the US population do not believe in evolution, what proportion of Southern politicians do not believe in evolution? I am sure it is more than 50%.
    Seems to me that a majority of the US population are more likely to vote for the correct answer, than a majority of their “representatives”.
    The “representatives’ level of information and cognition appears a lot less sensible than the general population.
    If the majority of the US population were in favour of special rendition, installing fascist dictators to enable cheap oil and other evils of their Government, for example, why would they need propaganda like NCIS.

    Similarly, according to polls, 80% of New Zealanders realise the fact that past asset sales were a disaster, which we should not repeat. Including many who voted National.

    I find it a bit strange that some Green party members oppose direct democracy. It is how we make decisions on Green party policy, after all!

    Dbuckly
    No one expects that Democracy involves a vote on every minute detail of running the country. Politicians however have no right to dictate general direction and aims against the democratic wishes of the rest of us.
    The Swiss system works well because it allows the administration to function while it still acts as a check on political stupidity, groupthink, and greed.

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  68. Do understand Kerry. I LIKE the idea, but I don’t trust the arrangements we have for education and information, which have to be a darned sight better and which nobody is talking much about that except to comment that Key and National are working to make the situation worse. Much as the Republicans did for decades in the USA.

    Also, anything I can do that helps stick it to Key and his mates is what I will do and I am actually quite good at talking to people cold and explaining issues.

    However that may be, I rather like the notion of taking whatever plans we come up with to move in that direction and putting it in place first with the referendum process. I suspect that it will improve voter interest in these things and feedback to the government, even if nothing more is accomplished in the short run. I expect that with some practical experience we’d be able to move the ball further and get people involved in the process of self-government better.

    However, it is necessary to remember that government, including self-government, is work. Becoming and staying informed about the full range of issues that show up in the in-basket, and indeed gathering and organizing the issues IN that basket, is work as well. We can now do it all ourselves or hire professionals. These days. The “do it all ourselves” option wasn’t really very practical before we all had IP addresses.

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  69. Point well made BJ.

    I think BCIR, with a reasonable trigger threshold, closer to the Swiss one, should be the first step.

    We also have to accept, that like any changes to political systems, there will be a learning period. Voters have taken a while to figure out how to use MMP.

    Maybe the first step to better Government is to disqualify from seeking office, anyone silly enough to want it!

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  70. bjchip ‘..this would be an excellent first step towards the more “direct” democracy we might wish to have..’

    Good point; and yes, the more “direct” democracy we DO wish to have!!
    It’s becoming ludicrous and impossibly frustrating seeing a bunch of maybe only 1-2 dozen M.P’s sitting in parliament entering their and their absent mates votes on issues.
    And important issues arise continually, on which one ITCHES to somehow contribute one’s vote – other than e-mails to poli’s; not a very productive pastime! The people of New Zealand SHOULD decide these things..

    Occasionally the very busy Green M.P’s, S.A.F.E., Greenpeace etc. send people an e-mail petition – and I whoop with joy, knowing the potential pressure it can exert!

    As for just one of the many issues which should be decided by the people’s vote:- asset-sales… There was a great letter in the “Press” some time ago, describing a video the writer had seen at the time of a much earlier asset-sales situation. A fresh-faced young money-trader was commenting that he had done “quite well” from the asset-sales…”well enough to be comfortable…put it that way!..”! Can you guess who that young man was?!

    I’d prepared a petition re Judith Collins’ behaviour over the Bain compensation case – and the fact that of her two alternatives, one choice risked a far greater miscarriage of justice than the other…But then Bain’s team put the matter to the High Court, so my plan not relevant! Anyway, my first attempt, and am not at all familiar yet with the steps in creating, sending, collating etc. an e-petition – or any petition. If anyone is, please get to work?! And let us all know? I really feel we NEED them!

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  71. Everybody who uses the word ‘gender’ in place of ‘sex’ is confused. Gender is a social construct, whereby it has changing meaning over time. What was considered gender appropriate behaviour in the 1950′s is definitely not so today.

    Sex on the other hand represents the biological fact of your reproductive ability, or presumed ability. What you have between your legs literally, that is sex.

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  72. You have to remember that the male brain is bigger than the female brain, even when you normalise for body weight. This is why there is no such thing as a woman genius – it takes the masculine edge to pull of “brilliance”. It is also why we have a deep natural bias for men for when we need the best of the best for positions of complexity, innovation or serious responsibility.

    Let’s not forget that the last woman Prime Minister NZ had destroyed the economy and housing affordability.

    (and yes, although there is actually truth in what I’m saying…I’m just trying to piss you off).

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  73. I think there’s definitely the need for women to join men, working co-operatively within those situations which have powerful effects in society. But it’s important that they contribute qualities such as understanding, empathy, consideration of the needs of e.g. the poorest, the ‘underdog’, the protection of people, the environment, animals, livelihoods and so on. Trouble is, politics is not geared to such things, so the true woman’s role is difficult to achieve – and its merits may not ‘fit’ the scene..
    Considering the growth of high-tech -nuclear, weapons, G.E etc etc.,- Esme Wynne-Tyson (“Philosophy of Compassion”) wrote that the (true) female view is vital, to balance what she termed the male ‘will-to-power’ in today’s world, the risk of those in command using high-technology thoughtlessly and unwisely, with dangerous and destructive results.
    All the more reason for democratic systems involving the people in decisions! (Listening to talkback, e.g., there is great knowledge and insight among many so-called ordinary citizens!)
    In the current debate, I think there is a bit of feminist play going on? ‘Get women IN there; if we can’t get enough in on merit, let’s do it by quotas’.. Undermining, IMHO, David Shearer’s reasonable approach of caution re the value or popularity of quotas. And HE gets the blame – for disruption!!

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  74. This is why there is no such thing as a woman genius

    An uniformed misogynist as well as an idiot, Andrew.
    Well done!

    The Edinburgh Study (Prof. Bates) which I assume you refer to found no such thing.

    The 2007 longitudinal study found that men are twice as likely to be represented in the top 2% than women but on average, are much smarter and more competent than men as generalists, which is why they make better ‘managers’ and ‘doers’.

    Further research published in the Scientific American (Nov 2012) states “more serendipitous still are the conditions needed for a person to devote decades to an idea or calling, deaf and blind to the distractions bound up in being human.”

    To whit, raising a family and all the distractions that brings, is not conducive to unleashing genius. Importantly, you would be hard pressed to find an example of male genius who did not have a supportive wife to allow him that distance from real life.

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  75. You’ll find it hard Andrew, we already know what you’re trying for :-)

    … and Mensa has a substantial female membership.

    Not sorry that the fact rather demolishes your premise.

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  76. bjchip,

    The IQ test was rigged to allow females to test out approximately the same as males. I’m talking about brute neurological processing power – not IQ tests.

    Gregor W,

    Management doesn’t require much intelligence – it’s usually very straight-forward logical stuff.

    I don’t know how it was tested for people’s ability to think as “generalists”, but woman, from my experience, as not as good “big picture” thinkers as men. Though they spend lots of time running about through the trees – they can’t assemble it all into the forest…at least not as well, on average.

    Remember that mainstream science is *not allowed* to reach politically incorrect conclusions. Be careful what you read.

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