- Date published:
1:32 pm, November 16th, 2019 - 50 comments
Categories: campaigning, death with dignity, election 2020, leadership, Politics, quality of life, referendum - Tags: cannabis, euthanasia
It is official, we’ll have to cope with two referendums at the General Election (GE) next year. One will be asking us whether cannabis for recreational use should be legalised and the other whether voluntary euthanasia should be allowed.
One argument against having these referendums at the same as the GE is that voters might be overwhelmed by the information overload. This may suck away much-needed oxygen from the larger question as to how the country should be governed and what the core political issues are.
Both referendums are for contentious issues that can and do evoke strong emotive reactions in people. Emotions can be easily manipulated. All signs are pointing to an even dirtier election campaign than before. If true, I think it is likely that the referendums will be used as wedges to drive voters into a certain direction.
Personally, I am disappointed that our current representatives in Parliament could not or would not deal with these issues at this time but decided to defer and lob it back to us in order to get a (firm or firmer?) ‘mandate’. As we know, the Devil is in the detail so what you think you ‘order’ and will like might actually ‘taste’ like a dog’s breakfast once it gets dished up in front of you.
I do worry that both the cannabis and euthanasia questions will be even more politicised for political gain and benefit. They will be used to attract media attention and hog the media limelight. They will be used to gain the favour of voters.
I don’t think this will make for good decisions all in the name of democracy. It is almost (?) inevitable that we will associate our thinking and decision about euthanasia, for example, with certain politicians and certain political parties. Euthanasia is a highly personal issue and goes to the core of one’s personal values, morals, and religious views, if any. I want to minimise the State’s power to dictate or restrict how and when I die. I say power because I don’t consent to handing them this authority. However, this is my personal opinion and I fully accept that there about four million other opinions in NZ. Thus, it is a non-partisan issue but it will be, and already is, polarising and dividing opinions.
It will be fascinating to see the election campaigns unfold and arguably National has been ‘campaigning’ since the day their right to lead the Government was ‘stolen’ from them. It will be frustrating to deal with the aftermath.