Who should be able to vote?

In what looks like attention seeking referendum bashing Winston Peters has come out and said that only citizens should be able to vote in the flag referendum.

Winston Peters: Why should thousands of immigrants have a say on our flag?

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says only citizens should be allowed to vote in the flag referendum.

Mr Peters spoke at a meeting in Whangarei yesterday in which he said restrictions should be placed on people living in the country as residents.

However, he claimed it wasn’t discrimination.

“This is not discrimination. Why should thousands of immigrants who have come here in recent years be involved in making a decision that goes, in the words of the flag committee, “to the very heart of who we are and what we are as a nation”?

He went on to say no other country would allow “outsiders to make a decision about their national identity and it certainly should not happen here”.

Why should Peters come out immigrant bashing now? There is obviously no way eligibility for the flag referendum – nor any national or local body voting – can be changed in a day, and probably won’t be changed in the foreseeable future.

There will be many New Zealand residents who have lived in New Zealand longer than 18 year olds who become eligible to vote here.

This is just grand standing nonsense.

I didn’t notice Peters insisting that only people who owned assets vote in the asset sales referendum. Or only people with children vote in the smacking referendum.

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil claims that Winston has a very good point.

He goes further:

A better argument would be to allow only those who are net taxpayers to vote.

Ludicrous. So that would rule out a lot of pensioners – I don’t think Winston would agree with that.

‘Net taxpayer’ would be highly impractical. Would everyone have to submit detailed income and tax statements every time a referendum or election was held to prove their eligibility?

Many students would be ruled out.

How would ‘net taxpayer’ be defined? Is a public servant a net taxpayer if their income comes from the Government? Members of Parliament?

We have a fairly simple inclusive system of voter eligibility.

Peters knows it won’t change, he’s just grandstanding and continuing his immigrant bashing in what looks like a cynical play to prejudices.

Slater may really want what he suggested. I can think of a few choice phrases he uses to describe people with stupid ideas.

Some people suggest that stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.