Edwards: 8. Mobilise the voters

Political scientist and commentator Bryce Edwards believes that “New Zealand badly needs a revolt against the current political system for the good of our democracy” and has published “my 10-point manifesto for change in New Zealand”.

Each of his ten ‘pledges’ will be posted separately this week.

Pledge Eight: Mobilise the voters

In the past, one in four voters were members of political parties; now it’s about one in 50. New Zealand used to have comparatively high voter turnout, but this is declining dramatically – in general elections, not much more than two-thirds of those eligible are inspired enough to vote, meaning that over a million chose not to when John Key won his third term in 2014.

Politics should be about mass participation. A radical movement would not only give more meaning to political activity, but it would embrace the input of citizens, rather than seeing them as voting fodder to keep politicians in office. What’s more, an anti-establishment movement wouldn’t just be about getting politicians into Parliament, but also about mobilising the public in other forms of protest and activism.

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11 Comments

  1. spanish_tudor

     /  24th November 2016

    Why does this idiot want more rent-a-mob protestors? They just get in the way of the rest of us going about our lawful business.

    As for mobilising voters, Labour already cornered that market by handing out KFC vouchers in 2005.

    Reply
  2. “Politics should be about mass participation.”

    Scary idea huh?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  24th November 2016

      Quite the contrary. New good ideas always start with individuals and later spread to the mass. Starting with the mass ensures there will be no new good ideas and nothing will happen.

      Reply
      • And new bad ideas do the same …

        Mass participation isn’t “starting with the mass” – although theoretically democracy is supposed to reflect the wishes of the masses – it means the participation of a greater mass of individuals IMHO.

        Even more “new good ideas” maybe? And maybe some old good ideas as well?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  24th November 2016

          Nope, new bad ideas that start with one person never go anywhere. But when they start with a group or committee they can cause havoc and when they start with a crowd they cause riots and/or disasters.

          Reply
  3. There’s no specifics from him in any of this. Im afraid that “radical movement” won’t cut the mustard for this idealogue

    Reply
  4. It is amazing that “diversity” and/or a higher volume of voters is somehow supposed to automatically translate into better outcomes. Representation and “a voice” seems to be valued over careful selection of quality candidates by a possibly smaller group interested and industrious enough to make truly informed choices.

    Reply
    • @ – D – Good point, aside from the implication of either/or in your comment …

      Why can’t democracy be all of these things?

      There’s also the distinct possibility that careful selection of “quality candidates” by a possibly “smaller group” interested and industrious enough to make truly informed choices [on everyone’s behalf] will only be done to advantage that smaller group …

      There’s a lot of wriggle room in there …

      Reply
      • Of course you are ideally correct PartisanZ…but I contend that democracy, though fair by definition, is not necessarily wise. Some suggest the real advantage is in democracy’s ability to get rid of mistakes… which I guess is correct if one is patient enough. But it sure took long enough in Len Brown’s case.

        Reply
        • And what do you think of Phil Goff? Many people would no doubt say Len Brown has simply been replaced by an equal or worse “mistake” …?

          Reply
  5. “In the past, one in four voters were members of political parties; now it’s about one in 50”

    Back in the days when:

    We had compulsory unionism and by default a lot of people became Labour members via their Unions affiliation.

    And back in the days when everything was under the governments thumb – so you needed a party connection to get ahead…

    Bryce is living in fantasy land again.

    Reply

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