Why referendums are absolutely meaningless. by underground

In a well written and intelligent editorial, the Herald on Sunday outlined why referendums are not worth the ballot paper the poorly written questions are written on. Entitled “Ask an obvious question and you get a meaningless answer“, today’s editorial outlines how the questions used in referendums are loaded as to ensure tht only one result can possibly be found. In next years citizen initiated referendum on the repealing of section 59 of the Crimes Act, the question will be “should a smack as a part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?” When many experts in child psychology and childcare have said that smacking is not actually a part of good parental correction, the question ceases to make any sense. So do you vote if you disagree with the premise of the question? Vote yes and oppose “good parental correction” (which does not include smacking), or abstain in protest? Continue reading


One man poll finds one too many idiots by underground

Although I initially though the Herald’s “One Man Poll” sounded like a massive vox pop (which I can’t stand) in the capable hands of Simon Collins the series was likely to be a success. And he does find some interesting people with interesting views on interesting issues. Collins finds people who do sum up what others are thinking and finds out the thought behind their opinions. Fascinating stuff at times. However, either Collins is drawn to some absolute morons, or New Zealand is a country with a disproportionate number of idiot residents.

Here’s a couple from the last few days. There are many more! Continue reading

Votin is lyk soooo kool! lol! by underground

Austria became the first EU country to drop the voting age to 16, in a move to counteract the influence of the country’s aging population. The new voters will be given their first taste of democracy this weekend, granted the right to vote in the country’s general election, which is forecast to be a close race. The move to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote has been controversial and provoked criticism from many who believe the young people do not know enough to vote. Even many young voters do not believe they are ready to participate in democracy.

“I don’t agree with the idea of teenagers of my age being given the right to vote,” said Julia Tauschek, a 16-year-old high school pupil from the Austrian town of Linz yesterday. “We simply don’t know enough about politics and we are not taught much about them at school either.” (From the Independent)

But doesn’t involving young people in the democratic process encourage them to become politically aware? And since when are older people so politically knowledgeable? Are some voters not already suffering from political amnesia when they refer to the ’90s? Continue reading

Is that a dictaphone in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? by underground

Like the last election, apart from releasing fresh policy (bribes) that would appeal to the electorate, the only way Labour could win this election is by depicting National as dangerous and possessing a secret agenda. Their attempts to cast Key as “slippery” and question the party’s lack of transparency, have failed up to this point. However, Labour can perhaps relax, as National has helped them no end by confirming that there is a difference between the public message and the private reality, which the public were treated to discovering in this week’s leaked recordings. Continue reading

Democracy: Is there promise in the polls? by underground

Death of a nation – Part Two: Democracy: Is there promise in the polls?

Following the first vote in March there was an air of excitement, as interested parties and onlookers envisaged the coming end of an era. Zimbabwe and the world waited in suspense for the results to come, expecting the worst, hoping for the best. Indications showed the MDC had fared well, and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF was looking at electoral defeat. As time dragged on, punters speculated the outcome and the likely consequences: Will Mugabe attempt to stuff the ballots in his favour, or will he negotiate a dignified exit? The MDC even engaged in dialogue with the military and some Zanu-PF members of parliament. The Zimbabwean electoral commission took an age to release results, first confirming MDC success in the parliamentary polls, before declaring that no candidate had reached the necessary majority of votes in the presidential election. In keeping with Zimbabwean Electoral Law, a run off vote would have to be taken, between Tsvangirai, who received 49 per cent of the votes, and Mugabe, who received only 41 per cent. Continue reading

Forget Electoral Financing, make these changes! by underground

All too easily election year is consumed by petty political point scoring. Labour is struggling in the polls, and engaging in a pathetic attempt at undermining National’s leader John Key. Meanwhile Key is not completely transparent, hiding secretive backers and the party’s policy. The smaller parties appear to be almost completely sidelined and are struggling to get their profiles up. It is all looking quite desperate really. So here is my five point plan, to a better New Zealand political scene. There may be flaws in my ideas, if so, feel free to tell me. Continue reading

The roads are trucked! by underground

Whilst I support the right to protest and agree with why they were protesting, I can’t help but think that the truckers’ protest yesterday was overly disruptive and irresponsible. Yes, it did put a lot of pressure on the government to recognise their concerns, a government that has ignored public opinion on various issues, but did everyone else have to be disrupted? Even emergency vehicles were affected. I’m glad I wasn’t working, as I would have had to get up much earlier to catch a bus that would only take me half way! However my main concern is the environmental cost of such a protest. How much diesel was consumed and how much pollution was produced? I’m all for protest and disruption, but surely a simple strike would have had the same affect? If no trucks were on the road, government would have to pay attention. Long live the humble strike! Continue reading