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Direct Democracy and Participatory Budgeting

Wellington Branch
Green Party of Aotearoa-New Zealand
C/o Box 11 652 Wellington
Email: Paul.Bruce@paradise.net.nz
2nd May 2001

Activists are launching a discussion to bring participatory democracy to Wellington on 6th May, 2pm at the Latinos Club corner Vivian and Tory Streets.

Paul Bruce, a Green Party spokesperson, said that New Zealand was way behind other countries such as Brazil, where over 100 cities had adopted participatory budgeting techniques. Here in Wellington, many people believed that democracy was a farce after the way a number of developments had preceded at local body level during recent years, and people were crying out for change. A participatory budgeting process adopted by Council would lead to transparency in decision making and avoid new schemes and proposals being adopted after a cursory round of "consultation".

The forum will begin with an overview of Participatory Democracy practice with a focus on the recent salutary experience Brazil, followed by an open discussion of recent experience in the Wellington region and will conclude with proposals to further the process in Wellington. The group aims to get local body candidates to commit to implementing real participatory democracy and budgeting if they are elected in the upcoming elections.

"What is so exciting about the Participatory Budget in Brazil's Gaucho country is the interaction between active citizens, elected politicians and career officials. Instead of playing an advisory role, as do many citizens bodies in our political system, the regional and sectoral assemblies actually discuss and and decide on budget priorities" - 'Porto Alegre', Judy Rebick, online ZNet Commentary.

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