Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Democracy Gone Awry

I haven't done a political post for quite a while. This is mainly because I'm out of touch with it again.

Before the Manaiakalani project I had been unemployed. Of course, me being me, this just meant I was busy with stuff... helping put together Tangleball for example. But everything I was doing had some sort of political statement associated with it. With Tangleball, I would say it has to do with using government as an excuse for inaction and how we're all quite capable of working with those around us to yield much better results.

Nowadays I don't watch TV (the ads! THE ADS!), read the newspaper and only occasionally look up on the Internet to see what's going on. If I had the time for parliament TV, I would watch it, but as it is, I'm almost always doing something.

I still get the emails from Clare Curren though. The one this morning was incredibly interesting. If only because it's added a book to my reading list.

While we've been calling for a more open government, it seems that all sorts of information is being kept out of any form of scrutiny. And of course, there's the laws put through under urgency.

To National's credit, this door was actually opened by Labour. Is it's use malicious? I have no idea. When I tell people to only disturb me for something urgent, invariably something "urgent" comes up. And usually it's not urgent to me. So who defines what's urgent or not?

Is this an example of laws being passed with intent being the check? i.e. this law's dumb in that it doesn't define it's scope clearly and could be misused but (at the time) no one's going to misuse it. We've got a lot of these laws being passed and even if they're not misused now, chances are, they'll be misused in the future.

What this means to me is that we need some controls around what can be passed under urgency and what must go through the usual scrutiny. Those rules around bill readings and select committees etc. are there for a reason.

But worse than this - if information is retracted so that not even our elected officials (although MMP puts a whole lot of people not really elected in and those elected are loyal to a party line so even a great, people representing, MP is corrupted to a party's politics) can scrutinize it and make decisions around our laws, then how can anything even near a meaningful law be decided upon?

Should our MP's thus decide to vote against any such laws given the obvious lack of information? They need not cite any other reason than "we can not make anything near a meaningful decision if the information/evidence for such a law is not available for scrutiny". It'd be like convicting someone for a crime without actually hearing or seeing the evidence - just being told that there is evidence there thus, the person must be hanged.

I implore all of those reading this (at least, those in NZ) to go and read Clare's post. I think our actions (or inaction as the case may be) now are going to have an effect on our democracy tomorrow...

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