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Book Launch: People Power by Jon Eisen

How to make the government listen to YOU, for a change

With original articles by David Lange, Winston Peters, Christine Fletcher,
Dr Robert Anderson, Roger Kerr, Sir James Goldsmith and others

Edited by Jonathan Eisen and Steve Baron

More than 900,000 people have signed petitions and referendums in New Zealand in the last ten years. Unfortunately, all of them were totally ignored by every government of the day. On issues ranging from stricter sentencing for violent criminals, to fewer MPs; from the commercial release of GE to a fairer deal for our firefighters... the will of the people has been systematically thwarted.

The answer is really quite simple. Moreover, it's peaceful, inclusive and empowering: New Zealand must adopt DIRECT DEMOCRACY, using Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referendums as the means. This is the system (in constant use in Switzerland for 131 years and many other countries as well) wherein the government is legally obligated to obey the will of the people, rather than the other way around.

The word "binding" means that the result of the referendum is BINDING ON THE GOVERNMENT. After all, as they say, we pay their salaries. BCIR doesn't replace representative government. Rather, it augments it, and puts a check on the government.

Great idea, but how can we get it? Governments like to rule, not to listen, and are not very likely to give back the sovereignty that they have taken from the people.The answer, then, is that we must create a critical mass of popular support whereby if a candidate or party wishes to secure our vote, they MUST endorse Direct Democracy.

Recent developments:

Late in 2003 NZ First became the first party to endorse Direct Democracy, doing so wholeheartedly with major public announcements and full page ads in the Sunday papers. The story of the endorsement featured on the news networks, and then on talkback, dialogue pages and letters columns.

Then, predictably, the Empire struck back. The NZ Herald and some status quo politicians railed against it with arguments such as "the people aren't smart or sophisticated enough." Or "the people can be bought off by corporate interests", or that "Switzerland is different" or that "it just can't work". However, the arguments for BCIR were so logically (and historically) persuasive that BCIR quickly began to gain popular (and political) traction. Other parties like ACT and The Greens started debates and discussions. Early this year even Don Brash said that National is not “opposed” to it.

Now, with the growing awareness that MMP has not in fact delivered real Democracy to New Zealand, prominent people from the political left to the political right have come together in one book (perhaps for the first time) in total agreement about the need for this basic and necessary change to our constitution, one that really can deliver the promise of Democracy. Christine Fletcher, Roger Kerr, David Lange, Dr Robert Anderson of the GE-free NZ movement, Brian Beedham, editor of The Economist, Sir James Goldsmith, and many others, explore and develop the idea of Direct Democracy and argue that New Zealand can and MUST adopt REAL DEMOCRACY in order to reform the system to be more accountable to the people, and less accountable to global corporate interests and other powerful lobby groups.

Finally PEOPLE POWER reveals how we can get Direct Democracy much sooner than we think. In fact, we may be able to get it after the coming election in 2005.

PEOPLE POWER will be launched on July 30 (at the Springs Conference Centre, Gt North Road, 11am). And you're invited.

It promises to be one of the more lively and interesting events of the year. Steve Baron of Voters Voice (Voters Voice is the national organisation pushing Direct Democracy), already has 20,000 supporters, making it one of the potentially largest political forces in the country. His petition will be presented at the launch.

See http://www.votersvoice.org.nz for more information.

BIOS: Jonathan Eisen is an investigative journalist and editor. His recent books include The GE Sellout, Suppressed Inventions & Other Discoveries, The NZ Book of Records, and Solar Made Easy. Steve Baron is the founder of Voters’ Voice, the organisation promoting Direct Democracy in New Zealand. This is his first book.

Please send me ( ) copies of PEOPLE POWER at only $14.95 each (includes p/h). I enclose full payment with my order (cheques only, sorry no credit cards).

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