Our electoral system is to be subjected to a sweeping review – but the Maori seats are in no danger of being brushed away

The Parliamentary seats put aside especially for Maori – they provided Labour with five MPs at the 2020 general election – are among the issues that are off limits during something described by RNZ as “a sweeping review of the country’s electoral laws”.

It will include voting age, the three-year term, party funding and the “coat-tailing” rule.

But the government has been careful to ensure the seven Maori electorates (although it  lost two of them to the Maori Party at the last general election) aren’t swept away during this clean-up of our electoral system.

As Faafoi explained without the hint of a blush, the review will not consider changes to Māori seats, local elections, changing from the MMP system, or fundamental constitutional changes such as becoming a republic or having an upper house.

Moreover, he said some rule changes – he described these as “targeted” ones, such as changes to the Maori roll and the transparency of political donations – would be introduced ahead of the 2023 election.

So what’s he up to? Continue reading “Our electoral system is to be subjected to a sweeping review – but the Maori seats are in no danger of being brushed away”

Creative NZ gives support to the art of pressing MPs to change “racist” law and facilitate race-based voting systems

Creative New Zealand – a generous supporter of  artistic projects it considers worthy – is supporting writing which promotes the contentious notion that the Treaty of Waitangi calls for race-based voting arrangements in local government.

Yes, this is the outfit that administers the Arts Continuity Grant, a Covid-19 response fund which came to the attention of the Taxpayers Union when it had paid out $16 million in grants to a variety of questionable short-term arts projects.

Since March, Creative NZ has offered grants of up to $50,000 for ‘a short-term arts project, or the stage of a project, that can be delivered within a changed and evolving environment as a result of COVID-19.’

Many of the descriptions of these projects are, frankly, incomprehensible. It’s hard to see how bureaucrats in Creative NZ can make an objective judgment on which projects are worthy of funding, and which aren’t.

Among the 637 beneficiaries of taxpayer funding under the grant at that time were:

  • Eamonn Marra – To research and write the first draft of a novel about male affection in hypermasculine spaces. Awarded $13,000
  • Duncan Sarkies – Towards writing a novel about the collapse of democracy in an association of alpaca breeders. Awarded $26,000.
  • Rosemarie Kirkup – Towards the development of a first draft of a play that explores the menstrual cycle. Awarded $16,766.
  • Imogen Taylor – Towards development of a new body of work exploring modernism, feminism & queerness, with specific reference to the Otago region. Awarded $30,089.

Creative New Zealand also sponsors contributions to The Spinoff which deal not so much with the arts as with politics and governance issues. Continue reading “Creative NZ gives support to the art of pressing MPs to change “racist” law and facilitate race-based voting systems”

Becroft reckons we are too young and impulsive at age 17 to be treated as adults in court – but we are fit to vote at age 16

The recently launched ‘Make It 16’ campaign – aimed at lowering the voting age in New Zealand to 16 – has support from Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft.

Becroft said lowering the voting age would enhance turnout, ingrain the habit of voting and uphold young people’s rights.

If this be so, why stop at 16?

Becroft says

“Children and young people have the right to have their voices heard and taken into account.”

This suggests there should be no age limit. Continue reading “Becroft reckons we are too young and impulsive at age 17 to be treated as adults in court – but we are fit to vote at age 16”

A smaller Parliament was a big vote winner in 1999 – but ACT was more popular then, too

ACT Party leader David Seymour asked some electorally attractive questions when he told his party’s annual conference he plans to introduce legislation to reduce the size of Parliament from 120 MPs to 100 and cut the number of ministers from 31 to 20.

It’s an idea with popular appeal, like inviting voters to decide if we should have more public holidays.

Seymour said two decades of growth in the size of government had not delivered better outcomes for New Zealand and the country needed smaller, smarter government.

Whether economic or welfare outcomes are geared to the size of our Parliament needs deeper examination. Continue reading “A smaller Parliament was a big vote winner in 1999 – but ACT was more popular then, too”