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Local body election debate on constitutional change

Media Release: Cashmere Residents’ Association

Date: 15 July 2013

Subject: Local body election debate on constitutional change

The big issues around democratic process for Canterbury and Christchurch are being aired this weekend. The Cashmere Residents’ Association will host a local body election debate on the New Zealand constitutional review, on Sunday afternoon in the St Augustine's Church hall on the hill.

“It is an open meeting and we invite all candidates running for council and community board seats in Spreydon-Heathcote ward to share their views,” association chair Rik Tindall says. “Mayoral candidates are also invited to take part.”

The Mid-Winter Gathering is a tradition for Cashmere, and this year coincides with consultation on the Constitution Conversation, for which submissions close on July 31st .

A government-appointed panel has asked for feedback on current constitutional law and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Bill of Rights Act, the electoral cycle and the number of representatives, local Māori representation and every related concern that New Zealanders may have.

“This is a prime opportunity to improve the quality of our democracy,” Tindall says. “Draft points for a Cashmere Residents’ submission will focus the debate, to hear where each candidate stands, to test for support of the ideas and to refine the submissions.”

Three main points of reform are identified by the association, for testing in this debate:

1. That the Aotearoa New Zealand head of state (the Governor-General's role) shall be elected by and accountable to the citizens of the country rather than the Prime Minister; an authoritative 'Tumuaki' (maintainer of the pole of principle) is thus tasked with upholding the legal Constitution, in place of a Parliament upper house.

2. Māori elected representation proportional to population, shall be compulsory for all city and regional councils, as a Treaty of Waitangi co-governance right.

3. The Aotearoa New Zealand Tumuaki shall be empowered to safeguard local democracy, under the Bill of Rights Act 1990, from centralising executive Government caprice.

Tindall says Cashmere “encourages people to read more on the capacity for improving New Zealand culture, society, fairness and coherence at www.ourconstitution.org.nz and urges that others write submissions too.”

The election and constitution debate starts at 2pm on July 21st and will be followed by one-on-one conversation time with the candidates. Refreshments served. All are welcome to attend.

[Ends]


More information: http://www.cashmere.org.nz + http://www.ourconstitution.org.nz

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