Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Is the quality of our democracy an election issue?

Is the quality of our democracy an election issue?


A well-attended conference in Wellington at the weekend heard and discussed a number of presentations which raised questions about the current quality of our democracy. The conference was hosted by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good and the aspirations of many organisations and the approaches they are taking to achieve a richer kind of democracy were also on the agenda.

Professor Jane Kelsey outlined a number of specific and differing ways in which the secretive negotiation of trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) - and their negotiation outside of a rules-based international framework such as the World Trade Organisation - impinge on our democratic rights.

Other keynote presentations included Bronwyn Hayward presenting the work she has been doing on citizenship education for children, and Michael Macaulay on progress towards our participation in the Open Government Partnership.

Presentations from organisations such as Loomio, OntheFence, JustSpeak and Askaway demonstrated the work younger people are doing to support and encourage democratic engagement and the inclusion of a broader range of voices.

Victoria Senior Lecturers Sandra Grey and Charles Sedgwick presented their latest research on the situation of non-governmental organisations many of which are also dependent on government funding. The number who felt they were highly successful in having their key concerns heard by government stood at 3.2%, and 76% felt that their role in providing dissenting voices was not valued by the government.

There were presentations about the need for quality information to be available through an unbiased, publicly funded television channel, about the extent to which our elections have become vulnerable to capture by big money, about participatory models of democracy and about ways in which democracy is being undercut.

Arising out of discussions seeded by the presentations, some key concerns emerged: conference participants regarded the lack of adequate information and/or opportunity to take a full part in democracy to be one of these. This was through poor quality of coverage in press and broadcast media, the lack of coverage of opportunities to make submissions and the excessive use of urgency in passing legislation, and real or effective disempowerment of marginalised groups. Another concern of conference participants was the need for our children’s positive experience of citizenship and democracy to be nurtured. There is also a need to raise awareness of the ways our ability to participate have been eroded. On a more hopeful note participants were keen to have opportunities to try out more active participatory models such as participatory budgeting at local government level.

Between the presentations identifying incremental encroachments to our democracy and the hopes for something better it seems clear that the quality of our democracy deserves to be something that people consider.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

No Charges: Outcome
Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area.

Following a lengthy and complex investigation, charges are not being laid by Police at this time regarding 8 incidents involving 7 victims and 5 suspects. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news