Archive for 7 February 2013

John Key: four years and a fixed date for Parliament?

7 February 2013 24 comments


Key pushes for four-year termsFull Story


Four Year Term?

Periodically, our politicians try it on, and try to persuade us to give them more power.

Two previous referenda in 1967 and 1990 asked the question  whether or not the Parliamentary term should be extended from three to four years.

The public, bless their cotton socks, obligingly responded with resounding ‘No’ votes to any extension of the Parliamentary terms. Unsurprisingly, the public wanted to keep a firm grip on the tenure of our politicians.

Let’s not forget that we have no Upper House, no written Constitution, and few binding referenda to speak of. Once we elect MPs, they are practically free to do as they wish.

Which they do with unpleasant predictability.

National’s latest intention to sell 49% of several state assets – despite being a minority government and despite over-whelming public opposition is another clear case of politicians doing what they want and screw the will of the people.

Key’s agenda to sell 49% of Mighty River Power despite a referendum in the offing is another indicator of politician’s arrogance.

And Key wants us to give him (or Labour) an extension to the three year Parliamentary term?!?!

No thank you.

If politicians want an extension to their employment contract (which is what elections effectively are), then they have to earn our trust. To date  I have seen very little trust earned.

Let’s be clear here. A four year term may well be more “efficient” to the process of government.

But “efficient government” is not necessarily synonymous with democracy and public participation. In fact, some very “efficient” governments have turned out to be very undemocratic and very, very nasty.

A three year term may be “inefficient” – but by the gods, it’s the one single leash on executive power that the public currently holds over our elected representatives.

If politicians want our trust to be given a four year term – they first have to earn it.

And anyway, if a government is doing a good job – the people will vote accordingly, won’t they?

In the meantime, I, for one, will be keeping a firm grip on that three-year leash.

Fixed Election Date?

Key also made passing reference to having a fixed election date, as do our American cuzzies.

The benefit of this, he maintains, is that a fixed date takes away the ability of politicians to manipulate the date of elections to suit their own agenda.

Media reports barely refered to this suggestion. I suspect that Key has mentioned this, only in passing, because for him it’s a side issue.

It’s actually a good idea.

But he’s not interested in this good idea. He wants a four year elecoral cycle.

Wrapping his four-year agenda in the Fixed Date “gift-paper” is a way for him to present a rather questionable “gift” dressed up in something nice.

Public Referenda or Parliamentary Decision?

These two issues can be decided either by binding public referenda, or by 75% of Parliament voting to enact the reforms.

It’s a shame that the same criteria are not used to determine the fate of our state own assets.

What about it, Mr Key?


Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2013 at 10:46
From: Frank Macskasy <>
Subject: Four Year Terms, Fixed Election Date, and other matters
To: John Key <>
Cc: David Shearer <>,
Winston Peters <>,
Metiria Turei <>,
Russel Norman <>,
“” <>,
“” <>

Kia ora Mr Prime Minister,

It has been reported in the Media that you have raised twin issues of extending the Parliamentary Term from 3 to 4 years, and having a fixed Election Date.

To enact these reforms, either a binding referenda or 75% of Parliament will have to vote in favour.

Binding Referenda or 75% of Parliament seems a democratic way to enact such important changes.

In which case will you also be using the same process to allow the People or Parliament to decide whether or not to proceed with the 49% sell-down of certain State assets?

After all, if you want the people to give you something – shouldn’t we expect the same courtesy in return?

You want a four year term – we want the chance to vote on our State assets. Let’s do it.

Go to the people.

See what they say.

I can live with the results. Can you?


– Frank Macskasy



Final Thought

At a time when National implemented a 90 Day Trial period for new employees, John Key wants to extend his Parliamentary employment by a year?

I don’t think so, chum.




Other Blogs

The Standard: Against a four year term

Imperator Fish: Why we must have a four-year parliamentary term

Public Address: A four-year parliamentary term?

Tumeke: Why a 4 year term would be madness



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