Submission to Independent Electoral Review

View of the New Zealand flags flying in front of the parliament building, the Beehive, in Wellington.

Koi Tū made a submission on the Electoral Review. It has two associated recommendations: one on the use of citizens’ assemblies as a potentially powerful new democratic tool; and one on the pressing need for more funding to combat the misinformation and disinformation now impinging on democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Our first point is democracy would be better served if decisions on changes to our electoral system were made through the process of citizens’ assemblies.

We believe that the current methods of seeking citizens’ input and decision-making on the rules governing our democracy are, themselves, not truly democratic – or at least are not best democratic practice for the 21st century.

The recommendation is instead of electoral changes being made sole on the basis of a submission process, deliberative democracy processes should also be utilised.

Our strong caveat and recommendation, however, is that a citizens’ assembly should be convened only if decision-makers have a serious intention to take the citizens’ recommendations into account. Failure to do so would discredit the process.

The second point is significant resourcing is needed to measure information disorders. We strongly recommend government funding be substantially increased to responsible organisations which are monitoring and measuring the incidence of misinformation and disinformation in this country, so that citizens can see there is reliable and credible evidence on which to justify and target interventions. Such clarity and transparency will help shore up confidence in our democracy at a time when this is needed.

Our themes