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National’s “harder-to-vote” Electoral Bill

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, January 26th, 2014 - 76 comments
Categories: same old national - Tags:

There’s another sign National is getting a bit desperate at the beginning of election year 2014, as they reach in to the Tory trick-bag of voter suppression in the revised Electoral Amendment Bill reported back to the House on 18 December 2013.

The Select Committee’s report after their review of the 2011 election accepted the advice of the independent Electoral Commission and recommended expanding the use of the easy-vote card. As the Committee report said,

it would speed up, simplify, and improve the accuracy of the currently manual processes of issuing ballot papers and recording votes on election day, and compiling the master roll during the scrutiny process. It has the potential to reduce the number of special votes needed (by up to 52,000 on 2011 statistics) by allowing voters who enrol after writ day and vote in their electorate to use an EasyVote card and cast an ordinary vote, instead of having to complete a declaration and cast a special vote. Using EasyVote cards to issue ballot papers would also help ensure that the correct ballot papers were issued to each voter.

This proposal found its way into the Electoral Amendment Bill submitted to the House in August 2013. Speaking at its introduction, Justice Minister Judith Collins said:
Another important change enabled by this bill is the greater use of EasyVote cards during the voting process. EasyVote cards are currently used to assist election day workers find voters’ page and line numbers in the electoral roll. This bill will enable EasyVote cards to be used as a record that an ordinary vote has been cast. It will also allow the cards to be used instead of a declaration form for special voters. This new use of EasyVote cards will simplify and speed up the issuing of ordinary and special votes. It will also make the scrutinising of the rolls that occurs during the election counting process more accurate and efficient.
The Bill reported back in December 2013 after Parliament had risen for the year deleted the EasyVote provisions, and added a requirement that all voters speak or affirm their name added. What we now have might be called National’s “harder-to-vote” provisions.
There was one other change in December – a return to the previous practice of allowing party canvassers to display ribbons and rosettes on the streets on election day. Speaking to the provision removing this in the original Bill, Committee Chair Scott Simpson made what can only be described as a thoroughly racist comment:
 We will be able to ensure that the good people of South Auckland are not having busloads of KFC – bearing Labour Party supporters wearing ribbons and rosettes descending upon them and escorting them to the election booth.
Embarrassment pure and simple may have changed Committee Chair Simpson’s mind between August and December; he would not want this remark being played back to him in the election year debate.
Of course there were some other political changes between August and December that may have changed  Judith Collins’ mind on easy voting.  I have no doubt  that the good people of South Auckland are still the target of the harder-to-vote provisions of the reported back Bill.
As a scrutineer in past elections before the introduction of easy-vote cards I have watched as Returning Officers were unable to find registered voters on the roll when they did give their name, usually because of a different order of surname and forename. The new provisions will make things harder for Returning Officers, and we can also expect to see a more aggressive approach from National Party scrutineers, watching to challenge voters by demanding statutory declarations.
The Select Committee report on the 2011 election also stated that:
Our electoral system is based on a high-trust model, which means we need to ensure the integrity of the system as our society grows and changes.
The problem is that the National Party does not trust the voters of South Auckland to vote the right way. Better to make it harder and discourage them from voting at all.

76 comments on “National’s “harder-to-vote” Electoral Bill”

  1. Boonman 1

    Voter suppression is classic Tory behaviour. Labour should pick up on what the UK Labour Party have done and start talking about lowering the voting age to 16. It would mean more voters and greater engagement.

    • Anne 1.1

      16 year olds voting? A bunch of maturity-challenged teenagers whose brains are still in the half-cock stage of development? Give us a break. God help us if we were to find ourselves with Justin Beiber lookalikes running around as prime ministers. It’s bad enough that the pollies fell for the argument that an 18 year old is old enough to go to war therefore old enough to vote. When was the last time 18 year old’s went to war? WW1 or (maybe) WW2?

      The proof is in the pudding Boonman. Most 18 year old voters don’t bother to cast a vote so your claim doesn’t stack up.

      • karol 1.1.1

        I think 16 year olds as as capable of a reasoned vote as adults of any age. It’s their society too. Across all ages voters have a diverse range of understandings of politics. I see teenagers as being no different. Many have a clear understanding if many things required by society.

        • vto 1.1.1.1

          “I think 16 year olds as as capable of a reasoned vote as adults of any age.”

          I think not dear Karol. What do you base this “reason of a 16 yr-old being equal to the reason of a 60 yr-old” posit on?

          • karol 1.1.1.1.1

            I have taught a large number of sixteen year olds, and assessed their work, had plenty of discussions with people that age.

          • Shane Gallagher 1.1.1.1.2

            I would have thought that any cursory glance at the comments section of Kiwiblog would have confirmed in full Karol’s assertion. :-)

          • The Pink Postman 1.1.1.1.3

            Well when I hear the views of some of those older folk I vto.

            cringe in shame. Amazing just how many of the over sixties have racist views and views that can only be described as on the far Right.
            However I am amazed at the interesting comments made by by young teenagers . Of course lower the voting age ,they can’t make a bigger balls up than we oldies have left them. Bye the way I’m 83 ,a republican , a flag changer , ,English born NZ citizen and on the far left .A very unusual Guy..

        • weka 1.1.1.2

          I disgree. I wouldn’t quite characterise 16 yr olds in the way that Anne does, but she is right about them still developing, and brain function. Think about risk assessment for instance. I also think peer pressure and socialisation are big factors in thinking at that age. It’s not just about reason.

          “Across all ages voters have a diverse range of understandings of politics.”

          Yeah, but that’s not exactly an endorsement.

          I would support lowering the voting age if we integrated civics classes into schools and taught critical thinking skills (including how to critique the media). I don’t know how much that is being done already, but I’m guessing not much.

          • karol 1.1.1.2.1

            I agree with civics classes. There are some secondary school courses in critiquing the media – but I’m not sure how widespread they are, or how successful.

            Should we also stop the elderly voting as some are prone to dementia.

            Sure 1 year old brains are still developing, but I don’t think that makes them incapable of making a reasoned decision re-voting. Many do follow their peers’ views. But that happens with other post 16 year olds too.

            16 year olds can pay taxes, etc. They are considered responsible enough to do a wide range of things. Their views should be attended to by the government.

            • vto 1.1.1.2.1.1

              “Sure 1 year old brains are still developing, but I don’t think that makes them incapable of making a reasoned decision re-voting.”

              What is your reason for this and the other things you say? The statements are fine but without the reasons for the statements they are difficult to understand.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2.1.2

              16 year olds can pay taxes, etc. They are considered responsible enough to do a wide range of things. Their views should be attended to by the government.

              Which is still not the same thing as giving them the vote, and by the way, the Left still has no idea how to get the 800,000 non-voters to the booths so the idea now is to enfranchise more (though younger) non-voters?

            • weka 1.1.1.2.1.3

              “Should we also stop the elderly voting as some are prone to dementia.”

              Depends on how many you are talking about.

              “Many do follow their peers’ views. But that happens with other post 16 year olds too.”

              Not to nearly the same extent though.

              Paying taxes is a passive exercise for most teens and doesn’t require the degree of responsibity that voting does. Poor comparison IMO.

              “Their views should be attended to by the government”

              Yes. Perhaps they should have their own parliament that then has a relationship with the main government in terms of getting youth needs addressed.

          • Anne 1.1.1.2.2

            I wouldn’t quite characterise 16 yr olds in the way that Anne does,

            Yes, weka it was a bit over the top granted. I sometimes find it useful to exaggerate the case when trying to make a point.

        • vto 1.1.1.3

          Karol, with that sort of think going on you must surely be entirely enamoured of law by referendum too. Yes?

        • Anne 1.1.1.4

          @ karol
          Evidence abounds that at 16 years their brains are not fully formed – a reason why so many get into strife on the roads. Most of them are still in the process of acquiring a reasoned approach to society and how to handle themselves.

          It’s their society too.

          Indeed it is. And they are going to have a lifetime of voting ahead of them from the age of 18. Two more years to wait? Is that a travesty? My generation had to wait until we were 21. It did us no harm. I accept there are now young people who are more politically aware than we were, but the vast majority of 16 year olds don’t have a clue and are even less interested. The right to vote is something we earn when we have reached an age of maturity.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.4.1

            Well, reducing the voting age to 16 is one way to get KDC into parliament.

            • miravox 1.1.1.4.1.1

              “reducing the voting age to 16 is one way to get KDC into parliament.”

              Possible, but it might be hard to predict the youth vote.

              I found it quite interesting that in the general election in Austria last year the 16 to 18 age group didn’t vote in big numbers for the Pirate party or the Greens. I had some vague expectation that they would vote on concerns that these parties expressed. The young teen vote was instrumental in the rise of the Freedom Party vote.

              … The Green Party and the SPÖ hoped to win these new voters and wooed them with a roll back of university tuition fees. The morning after the election, it clearly hadn’t worked: The FPÖ has attracted most of the youth vote. With the party’s extreme views on illegal immigrants, they touched a chord among a youth that appears to be somewhat conservative, insular and uncertain about the future.

              It might be that the young are feeling uncomfortable for their economic and social futures and the like, but it could also be that the FPO leader was the coolest dude on the tele. A fair bit of analysis needs to be done to work out the reasons for voting patterns.

              • greywarbler

                I think that the findings that young people don’t vote often because they missed doing so once and nothing happened, so don’t bother next time is an important issue. The age of 18 for national elections is a bottom level for what are complex issues. I think that a small fine of say $20 for all who don’t vote, would remind non-voters that it is a duty of a democratic society, that all shell out for this important event, and it is not satisfactory to not turn up and contribute. The money would not be pursued to the utmost but would act as a reminder that their vote counts, numbers count, and it is like a census of what group the people are putting in power.

                But I would like to start off the democratic experience with all schools having some things available to a school council of pupils to make choices about and vote on. This would give them ‘ownership’ of many of the things that go on there. This experience would start in primary, and go onto secondary. Tertiary it is already happening but I understand that good ol’ democratic NACTs ar thinking of doing away with student reps on at least some councils.

                Also about the youth vote, I think 15 is too low an age for national elections and we should stick with 18 as the base rate. The youth think they know everything but we know now that male brains don’t mature till 25 and females perhaps a little earlier. But I think that all youngsters should be able to vote in local council elections from the age of 15.

                We would see some strong representations made on say alcohol, and closing hours, and areas for skateparks, use of libraries for study, quiet places, computer sharing time, noise at night and dances, and use of halls, and car racing in the streets. These things would interest them. Also perhaps the cost of using swimming pools and parks and beaches. And who cleans them and monitors use and safety.

                It would be a way for 15-year olds to learn what was involved in running things, and why other peoples’ needs are perhaps more important than theirs, such as the need for quiet sleep, as well as places where people can be noisy. This would be good training for both easy-living youth and responsibility-carrying adults so they could come together and agree on policies etc.

                • greywarbler

                  I wanted to add something to the above but no – I’m in time but it won’t let me edit so to add to the things that would interest the young on local councils –

                  Also they would be interested in bike lanes, and would have opinions on mixed use pedestrian/cycle lanes and how they should operate. Older pedestrians feel vulnerable and can be frightened by young fast moving cyclists silently flashing past them. Some alternative approach might emerge from a discussion, such as cyclists on one side only. and pedestrians on the other.

          • Tracey 1.1.1.4.2

            agree.

            Exactly why would we be looking to lower it? To what end? Is there evidence 16 year olds are much more mature today than…. when?

            Some 16 year olds can show signs of maturity beyond their years but RARELY in most aspects of their lives.

        • Jenny 1.1.1.5

          This is an issue that I feel strongly about.

          One high school teacher at a low decile school recently told me, the students all have a built in “bullshit detector”.

          We should embrace our young people’s “bullshit detector”.

          Personally I would put the voting age down to 15, that way our young people will get the chance to experience at least one, or even two general elections before they leave High School, and before they have to go out into the world, and be weighed down by the weight of work and relationships and all the other myriad other things that take young people’s attention.

          Studies show that those that don’t vote the first time never do vote.

          And why would first time voters vote, just on leaving school, or turning 18, when for most of their conscious life their opinions have never been sought and their concerns have been ignored?

          And this is what really grinds my gears at election time, – The patronising way young are treated. At some high schools, they are encouraged to take part in meaningless class room cringe worthy faux elections. Made to take sides in fake meaningless parties to discuss pointless topics that they have no chance of influencing in the real world, in an to effort to “teach them about democracy”.

          No doubt though well intentioned, patronising young people in this way actually turns them away from taking part in the democratic process.

          The only way to learn about democracy is by doing it.

          Young people’s views need to be respected and their opinions sought. Politicians should have to go out and into the High Schools and win the support of our Rangatahi. After all it is the young people in High School right now, who will suffer the consequences of decisions being made by our politicians today about the sort of world they will inhabit in the future. Another point that should be remembered is that young people today are more aware and connected than any other previous generation. Even IQ tests are showing this. Average IQ levels have been steadily rising amongst teenagers, compared to previous generations.

        • Foreign Waka 1.1.1.6

          This must be the vote for a very low drinking age, legalizing drugs and getting a hand out until one is “ready” to contribute. Too much of that around right now and we don’t need to encourage more of it. Sorry, but some true and real approach is needed. 16 is an age where the brain is not fully developed – ref Harvard article – “it is only about 80 percent developed in adolescents”.
          http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/09/the-teen-brain.html

          • Lloyd 1.1.1.6.1

            If you go back to the days before female emancipation the arguments against giving women the vote were very similar to those of several of the comments above.

            Our forefathers “knew” that women’s brains were not as developed a men’s and that they were unstable at certain times of the month because of hormones flooding their bodies and that the good ladies should stay at home and take care of less complex matters, such as raising children, leaving important matters such as voting to the more developed men. Hah!

            Why shouldn’t someone who is entitled to get a licence drive a two ton car at 100km/hr be allowed to vote? If they are not wise enough to select a representative in government, they shouldn’t be allowed to control a potential weapon capable of killing several persons with a moment’s inattention. The thought processes involved may be different but the right to drive and voting are both measures of trust and responsibility. IMO both rights could be given at the same time.

            • Foreign Waka 1.1.1.6.1.1

              Facts are facts no matter what, to compare a juvenile to an adult women (in those days) is insulting as many women at the time could teach the younger ones a lesson or two in a lot of skills – none of these involve binge drinking or McDonald’s. It was and is the patriarchal and tribal attitude that has moved over hundreds/thousends of years to the situation as it is today. Still a way to go but it will take people with the historical knowledge, perseverance, skill and audacity to get moving into the right direction.
              Yes, people with an age of 16 have a point of view, hopefully more than the weekends rugby scores, and no one will deny the validity of an unbiased comment. Everybody who is “older” has been there and has memories of it. However, opinions are prone to changes on every turn and trend. I would not say that a 16 year old is fit to take the responsibility to be a parent and I take this as a very good guide as it points in precisely the direction that has no place for an ego – responsibility. It is biological fact that the brain still develops at this age, especially the cognitive functions. As for the driver license, this is actually not a world wide standard age to get one. The normal age is 18 and in most countries there is no such thing as a learner license. And one can gauge the sense of responsibility with the uptake of the full license at this junction, isn’t it so?. NZ has adopted this method of licensing due to the distances and rural environments for many.
              As for military – there is since 1972 no conscription and the service is voluntary. To join a person has to pass some vigorous test, physical medical and educational. It is certainly not a place for potheads and fly by nighters. Young people who join are quite exceptional and will embark on a educational path in the first instance. This brings me to the next hallmark: discipline. I am not seeing much of that either.

      • Like we don’t have a ton more in the older demographics who vote for ridiculous parties. New Zealand First comes to mind, for one.

        I’d support any 16 yearold who bothers to register being enrolled. They can’t do worse than the older generation. :P

        • vto 1.1.2.1

          Well that is a very compelling thought and well worth throwing into the pot with the pouha

          • Arfamo 1.1.2.1.1

            My gut feeling at the moment is that lowering the voting age to 16 would be premature and for the purposes of cost-efficiency should be done at the same time as the drinking age is lowered to 16.

        • Anne 1.1.2.2

          Well, my riposte to that is: haven’t we got enough oldies voting for ridiculous parties without adding to the list. :razz:

          • Foreign Waka 1.1.2.2.1

            Right, its the oldies! This is a juvenile response that makes me vote for the ridiculous party that offers more money for education. Seems that this is what we need most.

      • Boonman 1.1.3

        Wow… just wow. We’re quite willing to say they’re onto it enough to pay tax but, “no… you’re too stupid or apathetic to be given this type of responsibility. Go back to your Beiber tweets.”

    • DS 1.2

      The major reason I’m uncomfortable with 16 year olds voting is that it leaves them potentially vulnerable to the influence of parents/teachers/others. By 18, you’ve got a greater degree of independence.

      • Anne 1.2.1

        Now why didn’t I think of putting it as succinctly as DS. :)

      • alwyn 1.2.2

        That may be right, but if the opinion attributed to Mark Twain is correct perhaps we should let 16 year-olds vote and take the right away from those between 20 and 24.

        “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years”.

        Obviously, if Twain was correct, vulnerability to undue influence increases with age.

      • Tracey 1.2.3

        Not with the school leaving age at 18.

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      I agree, Boonman. If people don’t think they’re mature enough to vote, then they shouldn’t be required to pay taxes either. Or obey laws. Things couldn’t be any worse than the mess fuckwitted Tory voting adults with their simple minded xenophobia and ashprishilizm have got us into, and they might just get a lot better. It was adults who gave us Rogernomics, and adults who gave us John Key. 16 year olds could hardly do worse.

      • Foreign Waka 1.3.1

        How old are you? Still a bit of an immature attitude here. Just saying that adults “gave” the nation Rogernomics and John Key is ridicules. If you were an adult at the time Rogernomics was introduced you would also know that it was a coup d’éta after Lange was reelected. Similar with the “mother of all budgets” Mrs Richardson profile seeking piece – another after the fact implementation. A 16 year old would not even know that. Good politics are based on knowledge, political and historical. Neither have been displayed.

        • Murray Olsen 1.3.1.1

          Old enough to know Roger Douglas wrote a book setting out exactly what he planned to do once elected. It was a pretty well advertised coup d’état, and one that Lange was aware of before he appointed Douglas to cabinet. With all the political and historical knowledge weighing down your waka, it’s strange that you didn’t know that. As for my age, it’s none of your business.

          • greywarbler 1.3.1.1.1

            Murray Olsen
            I decided to see what I remembered about the codger Roger. And here are a few salient points from wikipedia on Roger Douglas and his Rogernomics, an imported control for a pest with negative economic effects, which spread becoming an invasive pest diminishing the nation’s health and wellbeing, socially and financially, everywhere it manifests.

            I guess this first book is the one you refer to. The others look interesting.
            *Douglas, Roger; Louise Callan (1987). Toward Prosperity. Auckland: David Bateman
            and
            *Russell, Marcia (1996). Revolution: New Zealand From Fortress To Free Market. Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett. ISBN 1-86958-428-7.
            *Sheppard, Simon (1999). Broken Circle: The Decline and Fall of the Fourth Labour Government. Wellington: PSL Press
            Douglas, Roger (1996). Completing the Circle. Auckland: Seascape Press.

            Also Douglas published some policy papers –
            In 1980, he published a series of proposals for future economic development under the title an “Alternative Budget”.
            In late 1983, Labour’s Caucus Economic Committee adopted a paper that Douglas named the economic policy package. The committee’s support was not unanimous. The Douglas paper polarised opinion in the caucus.[33] Several members of the caucus presented an alternative draft economic policy to the Labour Party’s Policy Council.

            Douglas doggedly pursued his own vision of what Labour was, against opposition or attempts at reaching consensus. Treasury’s view of economic policy was neo-classical and monetarist, and used commercial criteria as the basis for decision-making.[52] Douglas did not concede that his advocacy of these views placed him on the right of politics. He maintained that the government’s social goals were the same as those of the First Labour Government and that changed circumstances required Labour to use different economic means to achieve its ends

            Promoting himself, denying Labour funding. Douglas’s appeal to commercial interests was reflected in the large amounts of money (including $250,000 given by Auckland businessman Alan Hawkins[67]) he collected for the campaign from the business community.[68] He did not convey the money he raised to the Labour Party organization, but chose to manage it himself, allocating funds for purposes like television advertising.[69]

            Flat tax rate and GMFI (what was that – a sort of UBI?) Douglas shocked Lange in April 1987 by telling him that his preferred option for the 1987 budget included a rise in GST from a rate of 10% to 15%, the extension of user charges in public health and education and the sale of most government assets, and the eventual achievement of a flat rate of income tax at 15 per cent.
            …a flat rate of income tax and a new form of income assistance called guaranteed minimum family income (GMFI).[76] GMFI was a Douglas initiative[77] and for reasons of urgency he did not inform cabinet colleagues of Treasury advice that the proposals were a fiscal risk.[78]

            On the split between him and Lange; Douglas did not accept that there were any philosophical differences at issue, and attributed other motives to Lange: ‘In my mind he created the division that in my mind was never there. We had separate roles. I understood what my role was. I felt he should have understood what his role was.’[89]

            Compare Jim Anderton’s vision for Labour’s direction.
            Although many ordinary members of the Labour Party (who were unhappy at the way the party’s parliamentary wing was behaving) backed Anderton, he became increasingly isolated in parliament. When Anderton disobeyed party instructions to vote in favour of selling the Bank of New Zealand (which Labour had explicitly promised not to do), he was suspended from caucus. In April 1989, believing that Labour was beyond change, Anderton resigned from the party. He later said, “I did not leave the Labour Party; the Labour Party left me.”….
            By the late 1990s, Labour under Helen Clark had largely purged itself of the influence of Roger Douglas. Realising that the cost of a split in the left-wing vote was a continued National government, the two parties agreed to form a coalition for the 1999 elections. Anderton became Deputy Prime Minister after National lost the election. He was also given the newly created post of Minister of Economic Development, which had an emphasis on job creation and regional development initiatives.

            And some comment on Anderton by John Pagani on stuff.
            http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/blogs/john-pagani-left-leaning/5731400/Jim-Anderton-and-his-iron-laws-of-politics
            Here are some hints on how to win in politics, (or at least not lose by much) –
            Here are a few:
            Never let policy crush people.
            Individuals can make a difference.
            Compromise on everything except principle, but never give in when people want you to do something stupid.
            Organise, organise, organise.
            Assume everything you say is going to end up on the front page.
            And never put out enough chairs at meetings, so the room always looks full.

            And some on the last Labour election strategy by Pagani.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10764650

            Chris Trotter, commening on Thatcher – the bulldozer (or cow for short).
            Powerful ideas, coherently organised and ruthlessly implemented, are extraordinarily difficult to resist. Only when the Left evinces the confidence in its principles that Mrs Thatcher had in hers, will the Right be decisively defeated.
            http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/facing-fearful-odds-reply-to-john.html
            Enjoy! I thought it was interesting reading and relevant.

            • Foreign Waka 1.3.1.1.1.1

              One also needs to remember that the economic situation at the time was just a few years after “mother England” cut its ties of guarantied export market (1970’s). Geoffrey Palmer was involved with the writing of the policy paper for the election and as far as I can recall no one even hinted at the upheaval that was about to be unleashed. A “gradual” approach was mentioned for changes to be implemented. But the big ego of Douglas did not want to do anything slow – intentionally as a later book revealed- so the currency was devalued and whohaa… the first big crisis hit with the currency dealers selling the dollar at record speed. The argument was that it will improve the live of all NZlanders, yeah right. Look were it got us, 1 in 4 kids in poverty, that is 25% of all children and of cause their families. How can that be justifiable – Douglas should do the honorable thing and return his knighthood.

          • Foreign Waka 1.3.1.1.2

            The question of age was rhetorical, I am not interested…

  2. karol 2

    So, what exactly is the current sate of the Bill – is it law, or is it still going through the House? And what is the actual current provision within the Bill a s it stands?

  3. vto 3

    Mike Smith.. “We will be able to ensure that the good people of South Auckland are not having busloads of KFC – bearing Labour Party supporters wearing ribbons and rosettes descending upon them and escorting them”.
    You describe this as “a thoroughly racist comment:”

    I don’t understand this sort of racism cry. What is the difference between that and derogatory comments about Epsom-type voters, or rich dairy farmer Southland voters, or other such stiff toff voters, that get thrown around here all of the time (usually by moi)?

    Appreciate this is probably off-tangent from what you want to discuss but, really, what is the difference?

    • karol 3.1

      The difference is to do with relative status, power and inequality.

      • vto 3.1.1

        So that means it is not possible for someone of lower status, power and equality to be racist.

        Is that right?

        • Racism is a systemic race-based discrimination built on society-wide inequality. A Maori person can’t be “racist” against a white person, despite common usage.

          They can, of course, discriminate. But there’s no context of institutional discrimination against white people in New Zealand that would make it racist. Get it?

          Also, your later comments make it clear you’re bristling more about classism than racism. Rest assured, the rich are still winning the class war, which means that likewise, it’s not classism to discriminate against the rich. In fact, they could do with a little more adversity in their lives, outside of the usual family drama and in most (but not all) high-income families.

          • vto 3.1.1.1.1

            That is not the meaning of racism, and neither is Karol’s attempt. Try looking it up in a dictionary.

            I appreciate many people around here redefine racism to a very narrow frame but that is not the accepted meaning. If you and others want to redefine racism in the frame you describe then I suggest you get another name for it too.

            The original point seems to still stand, namely to mike smith, “What is the difference between that and derogatory comments about Epsom-type voters, or rich dairy farmer Southland voters, or other such stiff toff voters, that get thrown around here all of the time?”

            • karol 3.1.1.1.1.1

              My definition comes from study of sociology. Racism is more than just prejudice, it is discrimination based on one ethnic group/”race” being positioned as superior to and having more power than another ethnic group/”race”. It’s about which group has the social, political and economic power.

              Dictionaries aren’t necessarily that great on understanding of social sciences. But let’s try a dictionary definition:

              Free online dictionary – first one up on my google search on “racism”:

              1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
              2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

              Oxford Dictionary:

              the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

              And what Matthew said about the difference between classism and racism, and about the context of institutional power.

              And here’s a collection of sociological definitions. Extracts:

              In Portraits of White Racism David Wellman (1993) has defined racism as “culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities,”(Wellman 1993: x). Sociologists Noel Cazenave and Darlene Alvarez Maddern define racism as “…a highly organized system of ‘race’-based group privilege that operates at every level of society and is held together by a sophisticated ideology of color/’race’ supremacy.

              I go with the scholars of society.

              • vto

                Thanks for the response. This “definition” of racism issue goes to the heart of some of the problems with racism imo, especially when being discussed in particular circumstances.

                If the accepted definition is what you describe (and imo it is miles from that in the public eye) then it needs another description. One other than racism. The description you outline, the academic one, is too narrow and has way too many other factors at play to be described as “race”. The race factor in your academic choice is in fact relatively minor – it is merely circumstantial as to which race has the power at any point in history, an accident of history. It is not to do with race at all in fact – it is to do with one group of people retaining their advantage over another group. It is entirely equally applicable to class too (as already intimated). From your definition, whites are racist against other whites, and that makes your definition a nonsense. As such it needs a new moniker.

                I would suggest that your definition is a sub-definition, or sub-group, of racism. It is merely one smaller form of racism within the wider everyday racism which is the accepted dictionary definition. i.e. “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:” (and note especially there Karol in the Oxford definition (does Oxford employ scholars in writing dictionaries? I imagine they do Karol), that it is both inferior and superior)

                This difference in meaning of “racism” is unhelpful in attending to these issues.

                (had to bang all that down quickly – hope it makes sense)

              • vto

                Kaol “I go with the scholars of society”

                Just to repeat …. does the Oxford Dictionary employ scholars / academics / experts to come up with their definitions?

            • marty mars 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Actually vto you are reframing the concept narrowly to fit your own preconceived ideas – this not uncommon occurrence for you and is often the prelude to long tracks of misunderstanding from you. Here’s a hint – try to get your head around why your definition is different to the others linked to here.

              edit; i see above that everyone is wrong, including the dictionaries, except for you – tells the story that one…

          • Foreign Waka 3.1.1.1.2

            I can throw in some adult “bullshit detector”. Racism is racism, that is the point! Oh yes we get it – you want some apartheid and if possible under the disguise of “affirmative action”. You are not an iota better than any of the Tories, the only difference is that you represent a different group.

      • vto 3.1.2

        does race come into it at all?

      • Beryl Streep 3.1.3

        Karol: “The difference is to do with relative status, power and inequality.”

        Um no, you’re redefining racism to suit your own world view.

        Racism is the belief that members of a particular race share the same traits, qualities and cultural behaviour and that one race is superior over another. Barack Obama, the most powerful man in the world experiences racism.

        I don’t think you have any authority to redefine what racism is considering you’ve defended and excused the use of the term Uncle Tom in previous posts.

  4. JasonJ 4

    Personally I feel more comfortable knowing that the potential for illegitimate votes being cast (such as was done by Labour member Daljit Singh) is being minimised. Response?

    • adam 4.1

      One extra vote cast and its a crime. Indeed it’s a crime of such levity the whole power of the state should weigh in and fix it. Because one person was caught voting twice, they were caught under the current system, so the system is flawed.

      WHAT A CHRONIC WASTE!

      What a stupid distraction at best.

      How about JasonJ we introduce reading requirements to vote, a DNA test, or my favourite, electronic voting. Do they appeal? Does worrying about one extra vote stop you from sleeping at night? What about the kids who are starving this night – Shit I bet they keep themselves awake worrying about that one person and there voter fraud.

  5. As a scrutineer in past elections before the introduction of easy-vote cards I have watched as Returning Officers were unable to find registered voters on the roll when they did give their name, usually because of a different order of surname and forename. The new provisions will make things harder for Returning Officers, and we can also expect to see a more aggressive approach from National Party scrutineers, watching to challenge voters by demanding statutory declarations.

    I think you are over-egging things here.

    EasyVote cards can still be used to help Returning Officers find registered voters on the roll. That isn’t changing one iota . What has happened is that the Electoral Commission’s recommendation – for Returning Officers to be able to use the EasyVote card as an official record that a person is entitled to and has cast a vote, rather than have to go through the hassle of finding their name on the printed roll and marking it off with a red pen – has been rejected. So it doesn’t make it any harder for the voter to get a voting paper, rather it doesn’t make it any easier for the Returning Officer to do her or his job. That may or may not be a bad thing, but it doesn’t have anything to do with voter suppression.

    Another reason for thinking that this change to the original bill may not be as devious as you suggest is that the Justice and Electoral Committee’s recommended changes were unanimous. So either Raymond Huo, Maryan Street and David Clendon have been asleep at the wheel, or you’ve misunderstood what has happened.

    • That puts things a bit more in context. I was having trouble grasping why this might be a bad change, and knew I wasn’t understanding something until I got to your comment. :)

      To be fair though, it’s a reasonable suggestion to make EasyVote cards official. It would speed up the process a lot, which could have a good impact on turnout, (beecause frankly, even a couple minutes shaved off say a quarter-hour voting time at some of the busier polling places can make a difference where turnout is concerned) and it’s worth trying out for at least one election, just to see if the promised spectres of compromising the integrity of our electoral system actually appear, or if it’s just tories being squeemish about the idea of the wider population actually voting. ;)

    • Mike Smith 5.2

      Andrew

      It’s not just about the Easy-Vote card. The Bill as reported back adds a new provision that a person who applies for a voting paper must verbally give or verbally confirm his or her name. This will not be a particularly easy provision to administer in practice and will add complication to the process of voting. The original Bill sought to make the process easier; this will make it harder. In my opinion, anything that makes voting harder is to be discouraged.

      As for the political dilemma you perceive, most of the work on the election review leading up to the original Bill was done by Lianne Dalziel. She was well aware of the tenor of the submissions there which I outlined here http://thestandard.org.nz/turn-off-turnout-nationals-2014-strategy/

      • It’s not just about the Easy-Vote card. The Bill as reported back adds a new provision that a person who applies for a voting paper must verbally give or verbally confirm his or her name. This will not be a particularly easy provision to administer in practice and will add complication to the process of voting.

        Sure. So people can get a voting paper two ways:

        You can walk up to the polling place and say “I’m Mike Smith”, whereupon the polling official will look through the voting roll, find “Mike Smith’s” name, check which Mike Smith you are (if there is more than one on the roll), then give you a ballot paper.

        Or, you can hand over your EasyVote card, which the polling official will read to see the person’s name and address, which they then will use to locate and mark you off on the roll before asking “can you confirm you are Mike Smith?”, then give you a ballot paper.

        I agree that this last step (the verbal confirmation one) is a bit silly … but if it is the basis for crying “voter suppression! voter suppression!”, then I think a deep breath is needed.

        • Papa Tuanuku 5.2.1.1

          it’s Ok for the Mike Smith’s, what about the white electoral worker that has no idea of non-Euro names? When you have an awesome Maori / Pasifika name you understand what it’s like to have your name mangled/to get talked down to when they see/hear your name, or they make an instant decision to be less friendly/helpful, even when the cashier/govt worker is paid to serve you equally. It happens daily on a mass scale

          • Andrew Geddis 5.2.1.1.1

            Sure. I accept that is some people’s reality. But, again, I don’t see how the change that is proposed alters this reality one little bit. Here’s what the proposed amendment says:

            (2) An elector who applies to vote must—
            (a) verbally give or verbally confirm his or her name; and
            (b) give or confirm any other particulars that may be necessary to find the elector’s name on the rolls.
            (2A) If an elector is unable to comply with the requirement in subsection (2)(a) because of an inability to understand English or because of a physical disability, the elector may comply with that requirement by—
            (a)gesture; or
            (b)any other means with the assistance of a person nominated by the elector who is present with the elector.”

            So all that is changing is that rather than hand over an EasyVote card without having to say anything, a voter now will have to hand it over and say “I am Viliami Fukofuka”, or will have to say “yes, that is me” if the official asks them.

            Note that the electoral official always has known that the voter has “an awesome Maori / Pasifika name”, so any second-class treatment will occur irrespective of this change.

            As for Mike’s “death of a thousand cuts” … there’s another metaphor one should be wary of: The Boy Who Cried Wolf. If you really think this is a trojan horse (to add another one to the mix), then I suggest you send a rocket to the Labour and Green MPs who agreed to it.

        • Mike Smith 5.2.1.2

          Andrew

          The provision isn’t aimed at you but Papa Tuanuku is onto it. It’s the death of a thousand cuts we’re dealing, and when it comes to backward steps I prefer constant vigilance to deep breathing.

  6. tricledrown 6

    If labour greens mana get their canvassers to help south Aucklanders to register which you Now can do in privacy because another voter surpression technique is that debt collectors use the electoral roll to find people.
    So the left could make this work for the left if they put in the ground work.

  7. captain hook 7

    Why dont RadioNewZealand report this instead of richard preebles slimy poormouthing which they call news.
    This is far more important but totally ignored.
    Why is this?

    • Will@Welly 7.1

      Look at who’s running RNZ these day’s – the right of the National Party.
      The brown/black shirts are getting ready for the propaganda war that will dominate this election.

      As for the changes themselves, typical shonkey Tory tactics, Judith Collins – Minister of Non-Justice.

  8. The number of times that Right wingers make unfavorable
    comments is a worry . Every time Labour makes a statement on RNZ its is rubbished by some Tory sleazebag. The latest was the traitorous two faced creep The has been Prebble . It’s becoming a farce .

  9. The number of times that Right =

  10. Tracey 10

    I am already sick of the msm meme that lab and green have to be identical.

    Nat sold assets and winston wants to buy them back
    Nat says no to smacking colin craig wants it

    But no howls of cracks in proposed national coalition.

  11. Craig Y 11

    Standard, perhaps a fuller article on Republican and UK Thatcher era (and subsequent) Tory anti-voting initiatives and their history might be in order? I seem to recall that august leftist US publication Mother Jones did an article on Republican attempts to block the franchise in its captive states during its anti-Obama rant-and-rave session back in 2012, for instance? And there’s Thatcher’s poll tax fiasco to consider.

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