Archive for the ‘MMP’ Category

At the beginning of the NLP (NewLabour Party); vice-president Sue Bradford; president Matt McCarten; party MP and leader, Jim Anderton

by Philip Ferguson

Jim Anderton passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 7, just two weeks away from his 80th  birthday.  I have two sets of views about Anderton: a political assessment and also a personal view, as my parents were friends and strong political supporters and co-workers of Anderton’s for several decades.

First, the personal side.  This Anderton, I’ll call Jim.  I only met him once and this was when my mother was dying.  She had collapsed at home and been subsequently diagonised as riddled with cancer.  She went home for a fortnight before being transferred into a rest home with hospice facilities.  Jim showed up at my parents’ house with a load of food when my mother came out of hospital.  During the visit he gave me his personal cell-phone number and told me to call him at any time; also, that if he was in a meeting and couldn’t answer, he would get back to me straight afterwards.  He was particularly concerfned if we had any trouble with the public health bureaucracy – he told me to just let him know and he’d get onto them straight away.

Ferocious in dealing with petty bureaucrats

I knew from my mother that he was  ferocious in dealing with state bureaucrats who put any obstacles at all in the way of people receiving their just rights.  She had volunteered in Jim’s constituency office for years, both when he was a Labour MP and later, when he (and my parents) departed from Labour and founded the left social-democratic NewLabour Party and, subsequently, the Alliance.  I had heard stories from her of being in the office when Jim, outraged at one or other a tale of officious state mistreatment of one of his constituents (or anyone from across Christchurch who visited his office) would literally rip the jumped-up bureaucrat a new one.

My mother had also told me of his personal generosity.  The office was in a small block of shops in Selwyn Street in Spreydon and Jim and Carole Anderton’s home was up a driveway at the end of the row of shops.  This made it easy for him to dash back to the house and grab (more…)

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Democracy, voting and the MMP referendum

Posted: July 11, 2011 by Nick Scullin in MMP

by Colin Clarke

I first had the opportunity to participate in the democratic process in May 1980, a year after Margaret Thatcher had won the British General Election. I reluctantly cast my vote for a long forgotten (British) Labour Party council candidate. I didn’t feel particularly enamoured by the business of voting then and nor do I now 31 years later.

It’s not that I don’t think democracy is important but instead that I don’t think that the democracy we have is enough. The current system of ‘representational democracy’ that we have in New Zealand, and exists in most of the world, is very limited in the amount of control it gives to working class people. In effect, every 3 years, we vote to elect a government who govern on our behalf and in between, we get to vote in local body elections. The government makes the laws and the state, in various ways, implements them.

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