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Democrats: referendum needed on Civil Union Bill

Democrats say referendum needed on Civil Union Bill

The Democratic Party has called on the New Zealand Parliament to enable a referendum to be held on the Civil Union Bill.

“The issue is one which has the potential to considerably change the future fabric of our society and the majority of people will not have an opportunity before the 2005 Election to make their views known” said party leader Stephnie de Ruyter. “That a conscience vote is being taken indicates the legislation is a matter of considerable import, which should be widely debated by the public. Given the controversy to date it seems extremely short sighted to pass the Bill into law knowing full well the deep divisions it will continue to create”

The Democratic Party suggests the issue is far too important in terms of protecting the rights and beliefs of those who wish to see some form of legal status for people outside the current legislative framework for it to become a focal point of confrontation for decades to come.

“The public have the right to engage in an informed debate on the issues involved and the claims and counterclaims being bandied about suggests many people, including some Members of Parliament, are woefully ignorant about the nature of the new measures” continued Ms de Ruyter “A well informed debate should be an integral part of the democratic process and my party is calling on our elected representatives to give the people the opportunity to properly consider the Civil Union question and then vote on it in a binding referendum”

“Simply pushing divisive legislation through Parliament on the back of a conscience vote, nearly a year out from a general election can hardly be construed as the most effective form of representative democracy and is not part of the vision we have for a more inclusive society for all New Zealanders” concluded the Democrat Leader.

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