Friday, November 11, 2005

Tools for democracy update

Kietsie has been working on the New Zealand Parliamentary Votes Database and has replaced it with a new site: CommoNZ. It does everything the old one did, and has added a "compare yourself" function which computes compatibility based on ten bills. Most importantly, it can now handle the fact that Parliament has changed - meaning it can track votes this term, and in previous terms.

So, sometime after Monday, I'll be working at populating the database to build a complete voting record under MMP. First target: the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (no 2) 2002, which lowered the drinking age and allowed Sunday alcohol sales (among other things). With the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill currently before Select Committee, I'm sure we're all interested in how our MPs voted last time this issue was before Parliament.

If anyone wants to help, I suggest picking a year and searching the Virtual Democratic Infrastructure Group's online Hansard for the phrase "a personal vote was called". I've been submitting votes in an Excel spreadsheet like this; templates with MP names are here. Note that Parliament's makeup changes during a term, and so you may need to check with the appropriate Wikipedia page for the 45th or 46th Parliament to track any retirements.

Finally, a big "thankyou" to Kietsie for providing this resource for us. I know I'm going to find it very useful in the future...