Friday, April 29, 2005

Encouraging participation

The Constitutional Arrangements Committee has established its own website to encourage public participation in the process of investigating our constitutional structure and recommending a pathway for change. It can be found at

So far there's a couple of discussion documents up, as well as a list of suggested reading. While this stuff is useful, it's not essential; constitutional change is about what we want, and you don't need to digest a massive pile of reading in order to have an opinion on that.

The committee also looks like it will recommend that any major change be preceeded by a referendum, which is a good move. Any significant change, such as the move to a republic or written constitution, must be ultimately founded on popular consent. Without that, we're not deciding our own constitution; other people are deciding it for us.


Erm, surely informed opinions would be preferable?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/29/2005 10:03:00 PM

Agree with your sentiment on a referendum preceding constitutional change. What I *hope* though, but frankly doubt, is that such a referendum when it comes, will be accompanied by real efforts to provide accurate information to enable to electorate to make *informed* choices. Too often have we seen referenda decided based on little or no information about the benefits or disadvantages and the implications of the two possible results. Regardless of whether one is pro or anti the EU constitution, this is exactly what we are currently seeing happen all over Europe. The various electorates have, for the most part, very little idea of what they are actually voting on. That, I'm afraid is the fault of the governments concerned and the EU itself, who have completely failed to inform the electorate in an adequate manner. I hope we don't see the same thing happen in NZ when the time comes.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/29/2005 10:42:00 PM

Richard: All things considered, yes. At the same time, our constitution belongs to all of us - not just the elite. And I think its perfectly possible to have an opinion on the direction you'd like things to be headed in without necessarily knowing where they are now.

Generally, I regard people as being sufficiently "informed" of their own wants and desires...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/30/2005 01:25:00 AM