In 2014 only NZ First and The NZ Conservative Party indicated that they supported a policy of Binding Citizens Initiated Referendums. (see here)
 The BCIR is people power in action. If the people feel strongly enough about an issue and it appears the Government won’t enact it then the majority of people should decide.(see here)
 The only Citizens Initiated Referenda so far have been non-binding and with 80%+ support have still been ignored by Govt (see here)
 The Flag Referendum has been the only GOVT (not Citizens) binding referendum so far and that did not have the peoples support. A message here! (see here)
 We say this current situation is not a Representative Democracy. The Government should listen to the people who elected them! (see here)
 The idea is that if the government knew that the population could overturn their decision, then they wouldn’t pass laws people didn’t want.(see here)


View these Centre Right NZ Political Party Policies and voting position on BINDING CITIZENS INITIATED REFERENDUM.

Note: Policies subject to change. Please check the Policy Links for the latest Policy if available. These are the voting positions of party leaders for the 2014 General Election as reported to Family First who asked the questions below. Please refer to the linked website ‘Value Your Vote 2014‘ for more information and updates.


Questions asked for the 2014 election

Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referenda

Will you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a bill that makes Citizens’ Initiated Referenda binding on Parliament?

GREEN answers support the Conservative position.

actlogo Jamie Whyte OPPOSES
unitedfuturelogo Peter Dunne OPPOSES
nzfirstlogo Winston Peters SUPPORTS
nationalpartylogo John Key OPPOSES
cropped-cp-logo11.jpg Colin Craig SUPPORTS
Policy link


Source: NZ Conservative Party

Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referenda Policy

What is a Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referendum?

It’s when an individual or group feel so strongly about an issue, that they get enough signatures from New Zealanders to force the government to put the issue to a General vote. The result of which must be implemented by the government.

What sort of Issues?

Usually, it would be when parliament passes a law that the general population disagree with e.g. Sale of state assets, Anti-smacking law. Ideally Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referenda would take the place of the so called “Conscience votes” in parliament.

How often would they take place and how much would they cost?

The idea is that if the government knew that the population could overturn their decision, then they wouldn’t pass laws people didn’t want. If however a referendum was required, it would ideally take place with a general or local body election so costs would be a minimum.

Referendum are binding now, aren’t they?

No, the only binding referenda was the flag referendum which the Prime Minister called without getting public support. All Citizens Initiated Referenda so far have been non-binding and successive governments have ignored them all, even with over 80% support!!

Is it really that big a deal?

We think so. New Zealand is meant to be a democracy, however it is more like an elected dictatorship as once a government is elected it can (and does) do anything it wants. It is definitely not a representative democracy and since we only get to vote on one day in every three years, is 1 in 1095 really a democracy?


Two thirds of voters believe citizens-initiated referenda should be binding – survey

File photo / APN
File photo / APN

A key policy plank for NZ First and the Conservative Party has been given a boost after two thirds of voters said they believed citizens-initiated referenda should be binding on a Government.

The Herald DigiPoll survey showed 66 per cent of respondents agreed such referenda should be binding while 22 per cent said they should not.

The results were taken as vindication by NZ First leader Winston Peters, who said it was clear most voters backed the longstanding policy of his party. However, he stopped short of saying it would be a bottom line in post-election talks, despite having a critical role in have citizens’ referendum introduced in the 1990s.

The Conservative Party has adopted the policy that a referendum should be binding if more than two thirds of voters support it.

“It is clearly farcical to have a system whereby you can have a referendum and then the Government just ignores it if it doesn’t suit. Five out of five have been ignored.”

Mr Craig did not believe there should be provision for a Government veto on fiscal grounds, but if there were significant fiscal implications the question should address that and how it would be paid for. Mr Peters said any referendum result could only be overruled by a significant majority in Parliament.

There have been five such referenda since the Citizens’ Initiated Referenda Act was passed in 1993 and all have had a result of more than two thirds voting one way. If the two-thirds majority threshold applied, the Government would have had to halt its partial asset sales programme, a referenda aimed at halting the anti-smacking bill would have been binding and Parliament would only have 99 MPs. Mr Peters said that in recognition of that second referenda, which was voted on in the 1999 election, his party policy was to reduce the size of Parliament from 120 to 100 MPs.

Others that got more than two thirds support included giving greater rights to victims and requiring serious offenders to do hard labour, and a referenda to boost the number of professional firefighters.

Herald DigiPoll survey

Q: Should the result of a citizens’ initiated referendum be binding and therefore require the Government to change the law if the outcome of the referendum decrees it?

Yes: 66 per cent
No: 22 per cent
Don’t know: 12.3 per cent

Poll of 750 eligible voters has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 per cent

NZ Herald


New Zealand citizens-initiated referendum, 2009

New Zealand corporal punishment referendum, 2009
“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”
Votes  %
Yes 201,541 12.05%
No 1,470,755 87.95%
Valid votes 1,672,296 99.28%
Invalid or blank votes 12,106 0.72%
Total votes 1,684,402 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 56.09%
Results by electorate
New Zealand smacking referendum 2009 results.svg
  Yes —   No
Source: The Chief Electoral Officer[1]

The New Zealand corporal punishment referendum, 2009 was held from 31 July to 21 August, and was a citizens-initiated referendum on parental corporal punishment. It asked:[2]

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Voter turnout was 56.1%. 87.4% of votes answered ‘no’. The result of the referendum was non-binding and the New Zealand government did not change the law in response to the outcome.


The petition for the referendum was launched in February 2007 in response to the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill, which would remove parental correction as a defence for assault against children. The petition was organised by Sheryl Savill with support from Kiwi Party’s Larry Baldock.[3][4] The wording of the petition was approved by Clerk of the House David McGee on 21 February 2007.[5]

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