Should major reforms go to referendum?

Labour were slammed for campaigning on potentially major tax changes that would be determined by a ‘panel of experts’ after the election and could be implemented without a mandate.

Winston Peters wants to negotiate major economic and social reforms. If he succeeds, should these reforms be decided by the people via a binding referendum?

NZ First policy is to let people decide via referendums.

Or should any major changes wait until after the next election to see if there is a mandate for them?

It would be highly ironic if NZ First succeed in reversing ‘the neo-liberal experiment’ started in 1984 with major reforms without a mandate. One of the biggest criticisms of David Lange’s Labour government was in making major changes that most people hadn’t voted for.

Peters has already promised referendums on some relatively minor things like smacking, number of MPs and Maori seats.

To be consistent any major economic or social policies negotiated to form a new government should go to the people to decide on whether they support them.

7.2% of the vote is nowhere near sufficient to force through major changes without getting popular support.

Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  11th October 2017

    Liberals wouldn’t like that. They know what’d happen if their social engineering policies were put to the vote.

  2. David

     /  11th October 2017

    The trouble with referendums is they are like a bloodsport and bring out just about the worst in many. Look at the flag and Brexit.

  3. Zedd

     /  11th October 2017

    NZF have said this with ‘cannabis reform’ too. IF they think ‘major decisions’ need to ALL go to referendum, what does the duty of Govt. become; making the list of bills that they no longer wish to debate & put them on a referendum list instead ?

    I agree that some ‘contentious issues’, are probably best put the referendum, but not issues that the parties have campaigned on.

    We all know about the $26mil, Wasted on the ‘key-Flag’ Referendum

  4. NOEL

     /  11th October 2017

    “To be consistent any major economic or social policies negotiated to form a new government should go to the people to decide on whether they support them.”
    Why? Was that ever asked when we had FPP?

  5. Chuck Bird

     /  11th October 2017

    I do not know exactly what NZF’s policy of referenda is. However, I do not believe any that was in a party or parties’ manifesto should go to a referendum. Two things that should are matters of a constitutional issue. One example would be the Maori seats. Another would be changes to the voting system like lowering the threshold.

    Other things should that should be decided by binding referenda are moral issues which are decided on a conscience vote rather than along party lines.

    • Gezza

       /  11th October 2017

      Definitely best to just leave the Maori seats in place Chuck. It’s something that could maybe be out to those registered on the Maori Roll one day, but otherwise, just stirring things up for the sake of a few Maori-bashing rednecks isn’t very likely to happen, though pretending it would happen iwas no doubt good for suckering in a few votes from the alt right winkers.


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