• Q.Who governs New Zealand? Do we have a government Of The People, By The People, For The People or Do we have a corporation masquerading as a government? I'm interested in what you believe is the situation here in New Zealand. Regards, Gavin

    A.Hello Gavin

    Thanks for your question.

    We have a form of democracy in NZ but as successive governments have simply ignored referendum results I do not believe we can say it is a “healthy” or “fully functional” democracy.  The Conservative Party intends to change this so that referendum are binding where a substantial majority of votes cast are in favour of a proposal. This begins a shift back toward “for the people by the people”.

    With regard to commercial interests, my personal view is that they have substantial influence on Government. We have seen a number of deals that have favoured certain large corporates, and I can’t see how “closed processes” or “corporate welfare” can deliver the best result for the public. (Sky City, Rio Tinto, and Chorus, to name a few). The TPPA agreement which is an international commercial deal being negotiated at the moment, is being kept entirely secret. This lack of transparency is of major concern.

    Democracy is a form of government that requires on-going vigilance by the public to maintain its integrity. There’s a lot that we can improve on and we will certainly be aiming to do so.

    CPNZ

  • Q.Hi CPNZ, Would you consider legislating to prioritise the main fundamental democratic ["negative"] rights (free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, privacy) at the expense of the newer ["positive" or state enforced] right to never suffer any discrimination of any sort? How about legislation that enforces judicial restraint, or restricts interpretations that are too far from the plain English language of the law, when considering the Human Rights Act?

    A.This is a deep question.

    We do get some great question on this forum.

    Our Party Principles make it very clear that we support freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, and privacy.

    We consider these fundamental human rights that needs protection by legislation.  It is not a fundamental human right that others will always agree with your views, that you will be free from criticism, that you will avoid being challenged on the views you have, or the lifestyle you might live.  I think it is these challenges and debates that we should cherish as part of an interactive and intelligent community.

    It is appropriate to have some sensible restraints enforced by the state (an example being  defamation in relation to free speech). It is a dangerous road to curb these freedoms (for example I do not support “hate speech legislation” which can be easily used to suppress an unpopular view).

    Yes we are seeing a much more active judiciary (and commissions) that often look beyond the plain meaning. I agree this is very concerning and needs to be pushed back into the sensible box. Legislative restraint may not be the best or only approach. I suggest that the human rights conventions could be substantially simplified to close down the open ended provisions which allow liberal and expansive interpretations. You just have to read some of these conventions – They are not plain/simple English and allow challenges in many different and often silly directions.

    This is a worldwide problem particularly with international (UN) conventions that seek to be many thing to many people. I was speaking with one UN legal specialist and his opinion was that the conventions are more problematic in advanced democracies where they tend to be an addition to existing legal and constitutional rights. Sometimes it is the crossover of laws and precedents already established under existing constitutional  law that push these conventions way beyond their intended effect. He had some good examples of this.