After the election
Now that our part of the election will is over, I hope that people will have some time to think about the longer-term future of democracy in New Zealand. The main fallacy of representational elections is that policies to address the issues facing the country can be packaged up in a way that renders our two ticks a meaningful choice, not to mention a way of holding politicians to account.
I have been following with interest the Austrian GILT non-party party, whose only election position is to hold “Buerger Parlamente” or people’s parliaments to choose topics and develop policy and ultimately legislation. We could do with giving such assemblies a trial here, if we could just get past the false idea that elective democracy is the only way. Elections by and large produce governments run by the same old same old political class. Assemblies chosen by a two stage random process give anybody willing to participate an equal chance of being chosen for the assembly.
A recent book or report, The People’s Verdict, by Claudia Chwalisz, draws on experience of what she calls long-form deliberation in Canada and Australia, and discusses their relevance to the UK which has a very centralised government, as do we. The report can be downloaded from www.policy-network.net.
It is time for Aotearoa New Zealand to try out some ways of giving people a real voice.