The March for Democracy is a campaign by ordinary New Zealanders seeking to ensure that our democratically elected government act democratically.
While Citizens Initiated Referenda appeared to give us a greater say in the democratic process, in reality, referendum results have been ignored. Citizens are having little or no impact on government legislation.
Our objective is to see law changes that reflect the results of three referendums deliberately overlooked by the government.
The clear majority of voters (87.4%) voted “NO” when asked whether a smack as part of parental correction should be a criminal offence in New Zealand. Yet the government has not signalled that this will have any impact on the existing amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act.
The clear majority of voters (91.8%) voted “YES” when asked if there should be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims and imposing minimum sentences for violent sentences. This has been largely ignored.
The clear majority of voters (81.5%) signalled that the number of MP’s should be reduced from 120 to 99. This has also been ignored. In fact, in 2009 there are 122 Members of Parliament, two more than when the referendum was taken.
The emerging pattern is this: the government has pursued policies that are counter to what mainstream New Zealand wants, yet they have gone ahead regardless. Our government has presumed their views are more significant than the citizens they are supposed to represent. The government has failed to act as directed by these referenda and make appropriate changes.
The March for Democracy is an ongoing peaceful campaign, setting out to correct this situation. The government should no longer ignore the wishes of the people who voted them in. We would like the government to take our voting and our voice much more seriously. We challenge the government to return to their roots of representative governance.
Individual events will be run by ‘March’ organisers as part of this ongoing campaign until the government recognises the legitimacy of New Zealand citizens’ wishes, expressed through referenda. The first event, which included a March, was held in Auckland on 21 November, 2009 (see here for detail). It was a family friendly event for all New Zealanders. It was a day where, regardless of race, creed or political affiliation, ordinary New Zealander’s came together to March for a better, more democratic New Zealand.
The March is not organised by a political party or a religious group. It does not support any political party or religious view. It is organised by citizens for citizens with the aim of making the voice of ordinary New Zealander’s count.