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Put MPs on contracts

By Grant Fleming

AFTER the political partner swapping of the last three years, many of us are left asking the question: is our current system truly democratic? M-Pact a non-partisan group advocating greater accountability and transparency in politics believes not.

The South Island-based group believes MPs should be made more directly accountable to their constituents through an employment-style contract. If MPs broke this contract their constituents would then have the ability to dismiss them.

Spokesperson Joe Rificci says the public is fed up with politicians who campaign on a particular platform then once in power go back on their promises.

“People are disgusted by politics to the point where they are actually turned off to vote,” he says.

“MPs must help to inform people. They must constantly find out what the majority of constituents want and take that back to parliament.”

Under the contract advocated by M-Pact, MPs would distribute regular newsletters to their electorate informing them of the current issues before parliament. They would then hold public meetings so that these issues could be discussed.

Polling booths would be permanently set up in a few public places as well as via the internet and on important issues an electorate wide referendum would be held in order to truly ascertain the wishes of constituents. In this way, M-Pact believes, more accurate representation could be ensured.

Rificci says that at present “party politics are a big part of the problem”. He is critical of MPs who toe the ideological line of their parties rather than truly representing the views of the majority of their constituents.

The system M-Pact advocates, he says, is a citizen initiated model that would truly give people “grass roots control” over what happens in NZ. At the moment M-Pact is based in the South Island but it’s looking to establish citizen groups in as many electorates around NZ as possible. •M-Pact: www.m-pact.org.nz

ends

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