National has picked up on the sentiment of the people. I have to agree that a referendum is at the very least the voters deserve. It was, in my view, promised by previous Governments and is now long overdue. However, the cynical side of me wonders whether there will be any point in participating.
Any debate on electoral reform in New Zealand centres around the basic assumption of the continuation of political parties. You have read my views, (if not, then read some of my back issues) on political parties. I cannot state it strongly enough - they are basically undemocratic.
Political reform that delivers platonic representation and accountability can only be achieved through the abolition of political parties.
For this debate to result in something that is going to result in democracy becoming a reality in New Zealand, it must not fall into the hands of the parties. Party people will only want to advocate a system that delivers them power, control and prestige. This debate must be had by those who are truly vested in the interests of New Zealand - individual New Zealanders.
No doubt there will be debate, maybe even Select Committees, on political reform in the years to come. Whatever happens a higher weighting must be given to the views of individual New Zealanders than to the collective views of political interest groups. (In fact the views of interest groups should be totally disregarded.)
Part of this debate should be on the merits of the Westminster Parliamentary system. In my view there are few to be seen. We need to devise and adopt a Parliamentary system that is more collaborative and less combative than this relic from our colonial heritage.
Don't let the Politicians and Political Parties hijack this opportunity to introduce true democracy.