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Willie Jackson on democracy

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 am, February 22nd, 2017 - 38 comments
Categories: activism, democratic participation - Tags: , , ,

Willie Jackson is using his return to the political spotlight to good effect:

Willie Jackson: The health of our democracy is at risk with the Electoral Commission failing voters

The Electoral Commission needs to wake up. What is the use of a democracy if only the middle class vote? How can we make our society fairer and more equal if political parties only pander to a certain group of voters?

Is it any wonder that we can’t solve the housing crisis that grips this nation when those without homes are in such despair with their political system that they simply throw their hands up in desperation and refuse to vote altogether?

Right now we have an emergency with the health of our democracy. Too many young people, Maori and the poorest electorates in our largest cities are not voting.

Part of the problem is a total lack of civics taught in schools, and part of it is a natural cynicism towards a system they don’t see as being for their benefit, and an Electoral Commission that seems to have given up reaching out to these groups altogether.

If the Electoral Commission isn’t prepared to do its job properly, then I will. I’ll be out in my community enrolling as many voters possible.

While obviously I want them voting Labour, even more important is that they actually vote, so it is imperative the Electoral Commission listen to the criticism and stop their alienation of the young, brown and poor potential voter.

It would be interesting to hear an EC response to this criticism, but good to see Jackson highlighting the concern.


38 comments on “Willie Jackson on democracy ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    good points by Willie Jackson, particularly re the unpublished roll

    thousands of people want or need to be under the radar for various reasons including privacy, debt collectors and even fear for their safety and ultimately lives, whatever their reasons they should not be excluded from voting, indeed they should be encouraged to participate

    the Electoral Commission was less active last election than in previous ones and that is just how the born to rule politicians like it

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      good points by Willie Jackson, particularly re the unpublished roll

      You’d think in this day and age of identity theft they’d automatically go to an unpublished roll. Something tells me that it requires a law change and it’s the government that’s not moving.

      But, IMO, he’s just pointing fingers and not addressing the real problem – the fact that the political parties don’t represent those people. That the political system is the problem and to find the solution we need to look at changing the system.

      People who are comfortable in the present system don’t want to change it and so they won’t see the problems with it.

      I suspect that Willie Jackson is comfortable in the present system.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Let’s just wait and see eh before we decide on jovial Jackson’s racing handicap.

    • weka 1.2

      Pretty sure there is already a process for having your name withheld from the roll. I don’t know how easy it is though.

      • weka 1.2.1

        ok, only for safety reasons, and not that straight forward,


        • Leftie

          Cinny and I were discussing this very subject not that long ago. It is a pain for most to go through the process of trying to get on the unpublished roll, one can see why people wouldn’t even bother. There are a number of points that the EC need to get off their butts to do, and do it now, and this is one of them. Make it easy for voters, not harder.

          • weka

            Have a look at the Pundit link below. The EC are constrained by the legislation. Govt needs to make changes first

            • Leftie

              Then I won’t be holding my breath for change on that front until National is kicked out. The last thing the Gnat government want, is the possibility of more voters, voting against it.

    • Leftie 1.3

      Completely agree with you and Willie Jackson on this.

  2. roy cartland 2

    I wish Willie had gone through these road-to-Damascus moments before he was chosen, I know people who are still smarting from his past buffoonery (and worse). Just hope he can get the exposure that he’s now a more mature, learnèd person, if indeed he is.

    • saveNZ 2.1

      Personally I’m concerned at the type of exposure that Willie Jackson will give to Labour. I’m not sure he is capable of being the more mature, learnèd person… and I think he will constantly be followed by MSM for this ‘comments’ on every issue and MSM will gleefully make him the ‘mouthpiece’ of Labour.

      Now think about that for the 64% Pakeha voters out there… A soundbite from Willy each day before the election. Most migrants I know have zero understanding of Maori issues and keep asking me, ‘why does the government keep giving them money?’. So I think Willy will be used against Labour to scare voters, and we have seen these dirty tricks before.

      People don’t vote for many reasons but also because voters are sick of being lectured by government who have abundant flaws themselves again and again who tend to make poor decisions with few personal consequences – that’s what part of the turn off is…

      The other issue is that people now want everything individualised – especially younger people. They want exact fit to their beliefs. They have been groomed by neoliberalism to be passive consumers taking stuff – and not groomed to be people providing stuff or making do.

      A commercial example is that Starbucks found that sales rocketed when they individualised coffee orders. So you can make your own coffee, a mocochino latte with soy milk and cinnamon with blar on the side. etc etc

      That’s just coffee, but politics is really unable to do an exact political fit for every person and so people will not ‘consume’ it. That is why dangling a 23 year old student will not bring in votes from ‘young students’ like the identity politics seem to think. Does not work like that.

      We have many people on TS, saying they will only vote for more renter rights, others are saying more Maori rights etc etc. So then you get this unnatural alliances over a piecemeal policy aka between The Maori Party and National because as long as one piece of legislation is used as a bribe they will fall for it. Even if they don’t get want they want aka Seabed and Foreshore, and make Maori worse off they are still happy about it.

      To win voters you have to inspire and I think that will be the clincher. Lecturing people does not work. That’s why Natz use Sports people to help them.

      I’m not blaming younger people, because it is unfortunately the older members of society that has bought this individualistic disease on. And due to Rogernomics many older and gen x people are scared of being penniless in society and super will be abolished before they receive it.

      It’s a pretty well founded fear the way things are going.

      Saying that, I do think voting should be compulsory and that your details should be private.

    • Morrissey 2.2

      Willie Jackson is just not a serious person.

      “Ya see, the problem with you Wallace is, it’s all academic, it’s all P.C. with you. You can’t solve relationships with an academic approach and it’s SHOCKING really.”

      Willie Jackson, on Good Morning, TV1, 9:10 a.m., Tuesday 4 June 2013

      Open mike 08/06/2013

      • saveNZ 2.2.1

        Yep, lets just hope Labour are not going to each end of the extreme to alienate everyone out there.

        3/4 of Labour caucus are PC and 25% are tough talking non PC red necks. Might alienate everyone in the middle and at each extreme and undo all their hard work of late to actually try the centre road.

  3. Siobhan 4

    Maybe calling $500,000 houses ‘affordable’, and defining “the Kiwi Dream’ as being all about making it onto the property ladder isn’t the best way to inspire the non voting working poor. Its pretty much policy designed by people who think they know about flatting because its something they did for 8 years before they bought that run down little bungalow in Mount Eden.

    Sure, Labour has some policies aimed at those who have completely fallen off the plate…but maybe bring in policies aimed at providing hope and dignity and security to those who are managing to get by, but will never be home owners.

    Thats a big group, and its getting bigger by the day.

    Ignore it at your peril.

    • Morrissey 4.1

      “…those who are managing to get by, but will never be home owners.”

      Yes, yes, Siobhan—but do these low-lifes ever get asked to speak on radio, or get interviewed by the caring Hillary Barry on television? ANSWER: No they don’t, so why should we worry about them?


      • saveNZ 4.1.1

        Yes they do, right before the election to turn off the rest of the voters – aka the big push of Granny last election to ‘help’ those that can’t afford a house and then look like there is a big mandate for capital gains and raise Super age, and then voila, back to renters and P stories again when Key wins by a landslide.

        Poverty is relative! Everyone thinks they work too hard and are deserving and should get more from government!

        My guess is there will be loads of people talking in MSM about homelessness and renting right before the election. But I think it will benefit the Natz more – like last time.

        That’s because everyone believes they had it rough.
        The oldies had the wars.
        The Gen x had massive interest rates and massive interest on their student loans and less jobs.
        The millennials have even less jobs with worse conditions and high house prices but they do have low interest rates and no interest on student loans.

        I’m not saying any of this is fair. But pointing out that it can be manipulated by the Natz or MSM to seem like whinging.

        There is a growing fatigue about need.

        • coffeeconnoiseur

          Needs to be framed better.
          The need to be able to meet essential basic needs to live by everyone.

    • Nope 4.2

      I don’t think you’ve read Labour’s actual policies.


      Phil Twyford said recently at a public meeting they’re going to make an announcement on renters too.

    • Leftie 4.3

      I thought Labour’s housing policy that will affect renting etc had already been explained to you by some on here. Labour are doing a lot work on this issue and I know via email surveys by Twyford, renting is being looked at too.

      • Siobhan 4.3.1

        As a life time renter my concerns would be constant rent increases and a lack of surety of being able to stay in one place while raising my children, let alone during my retirement.

        No one is talking about rent caps, no one is talking about life time rentals.

        “renting is being looked at too”..a strange little add on. As I repeatedly say….Its as though Labours housing policy has been written by people for whom renting was just an 8 year ‘adventure’ while they waited to buy their first Mount Eden Bungalow. They understand the needs for those at the very bottom, because no one wants to see homeless people under bridges, but they REFUSE to see the needs of those who manage to avoid the street and will never come within cooee of a State House waiting list, but will spend a life time at the mercy of Ma and Pa landlords, and the Rental companies.

        As long as housing is treated as a sacred tradable Commodity, where the goal of the average Kiwi is to win lotto and be a landlord…there will be trouble.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Labour has a housing package, Siobhan which you could find in detail on their website – but one part of it is to stop the state house sell off, build at least 1000 new state houses each year until the need is met, and stop Housing NZ to have to return a profit to the govt each year, instead putting it into their housing, etc etc.
          So – that’s the state house aspect – which if implemented – along with requiring every rental (private or state) to be warm and dry – will also have a positive effect on landlords in the private sector. As will a crackdown on property speculators.

          • Red

            Yep just declare it and it will be so, forget the realities of how and who pays This what the intelligent voting public will weigh up at the end of the year against the progress that is been made by national on a complex problem, not to mention their outstanding stewardship of economy over the last 9 years

        • Red

          Rent caps just encourage slums, rent costs reflect supply and demand, we have a supply issue that has nothing to do with market but all to do with numerous government intervention and regulation in this area over many years

          • Jenny Kirk

            Nonsense Red – the market has been allowed to run riot, state housing has been run down , tenants turfed out for non-happening “redevelopment” by the private market, immigrants have been allowed to pour in with nothing added to the infrastructure to support them – the housing market has become a total shambles in the last 8 years under your National govt.

            • Red

              Markets are very little in perfect equilibrium, housing is no different, I give you the sudden upshot in net migration on housing demand but as half of these are kiwis coming home, Aussies with rights to be here, plus the remainder students here on temporary study vis plus new immigrants to help with our skills shortage I am not sure who you are proposing to cull, a bit of trump like immigration policy maybe. Nor does such a blip in housing supply and demand equilibrium mean we should run head first into socialist housing policy that have failed all over the world, better to free up the obsticals that prevent the market responding long term . This is nationals policy, not labours fairy god mother strategy just declare housing a right and it will so, backed up by bs statements on provision of 10000 new houses by the state on top an already a stretched sector by ignoring all reality and practicality on the ground

  4. tc 5

    Jackson is performing as one would expect a talkback host to behave.

    Ranting about a problem, not offering a solution delivered from a soapbox that resides in an old world styled and run organisation.

    • Olwyn 5.1

      Well he says that he’ll be out in his community enrolling as many voters as possible, which is at least a step toward a solution. I think he framed what he said very well. Rather than hand-wringing about the ‘missing millions’ he pointed to a ‘risk to democracy’. This framing encourages the people he is addressing to think of themselves as a constituency that has been neglected rather than a begrudged non-constituency, without giving leverage to his opponents.

      • Leftie 5.1.1

        Spot on Olwyn!!

      • adam 5.1.2

        Spot on Olwyn.

        I’d add, it is also quite hard once you are a MP to be critical of the Electoral Commission. It’s virtually impossible to raise these points with out looking trying to score points.

        We as a society, need at the very least, to ask some serious questions about the whole voting process in New Zealand. And why people don’t want to be involved.

        I’d also like to see a independent inquiry into the Electoral Commission. In reality to late this short before an election, but after the next election, I think one should happen.

        • Leftie

          “like to see a independent inquiry into the Electoral Commission. ”

          You are not the only one, I so agree, and there should have been an inquiry after the last election.

  5. Ad 6

    Willie is gong to need to do a whole lot more of this – and a lot more than this – if he is to make it worth the Delegates’ while getting up that slippery list pole.

    • adam 6.1

      I thought his commitment to working with Poto Williams, was a good first step. This is not a bad second. I full endorse you sentiment, that may give you sleepless nights.

      I think the commission itself need looking into. There are some real issues with the amount of staff it is churning through, especially at management level.

      So if he keeps on top of this topic, will show some real positives.

  6. Red Hand 7

    “a system they don’t see as being for their benefit”. It isn’t for their benefit.

    The non-voter demographic he writes about is an increasing part of the population.

    A real threat to the high living standards enjoyed by WJ and his family.

    I’d be shitting my pants if WJ’s nice little promo was truly threatening politically.

    Not hearing a genuine voice from the oppressed. Certainly not from Sellout Harawira and the nodding dog “Maori” Party.

  7. Andrea 8

    “I’ll be out in my community enrolling as many voters possible.”

    Oh, well done Willie. Now, if you can get that message across to the rest of the baggagery in Labour – be seen, get known, move ahead – you may make progress in persuading people who’ve NEVER SEEN a live politician in their lives to vote for real people.

    Winston circles the country, meeting after meeting, mostly affable, sometimes droll, often ascerbic – and he’s known to many.

    A lot of National’s offerings are like that – ex-mayors, business owners, contractors and others of that ilk. Known to those whose votes they are courting.

    Labour? Who?

    Our local lad, a shadow spokesperson in fact, used to be in the local rag a lot in his first term. Now? Seldom seen. Rarely heard.

    Get ’em out, Willie. Make them visible and accountable and accessible. Right now they’re a pontificating, patronising clot of unevolved Victorian do-gooders, unrecognisable in any thin crowd.

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