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Making government more accountable to the people

Sat Nov 6 1999

The Alliance released its constitution policy today saying that it would help restore confidence in the democratic system and protect basic rights of New Zealanders from the abuses of autocratic governments.

'On the same day that Australians go to the polls to vote for or against a republic New Zealanders should also be thinking about their constitutional arrangements,' Alliance Leader Jim Anderton said.

'In New Zealand the issues are not only about republicanism. Here the pressing issues are the relationship between Maori and the Crown, restoring faith in the democratic process and defining basic rights of all New Zealanders.

'Over recent years our parliament and politicians have fallen to a low point in the public eye because of wave after wave of broken promises, brought about by autocratic decision making.

'Labour, National and then New Zealand First all did major u turns on core policies and then rammed these changes through parliament while the public watched in dismay.

'The Alliance wants to impose limits on the way governments exercise their authority over New Zealanders.

'The Alliance will support anti-defector legislation which would require MPs to resign from parliament if they leave their party. This will make MPs more accountable to those who voted for them.

'No MP should hold more than one elected office at one time and MPs assets and financial positions should also be disclosed.

'Select committees need to be representative of parliament as a whole rather then being controlled by government.

'The Office of the Auditor General will be strengthened and the Official Information Act will be reviewed to enhance the public watchdog roles they play.

'We will convene a Royal Commission to study and make recommendations on extending the Bill of Rights and whether a more formal written constitution is needed.

'As the new millennium approaches Australians are questioning their system of governance, New Zealanders should be doing the same,' Jim Anderton said.

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