Internet Party presents #UpdateNZ live

Internet party 2017 banner

In a first for a New Zealand, if not world, political party the Internet Party presented #UpdateNZ live last night. An 8:01pm broadcast on Youtube where they promised to reveal their campaign plan.

There were a few glitches at the start with plenty of good natured humour in the chat panel and chants of #ipcatforpm!

Time 00:12

At around 8:10pm things got underway with an introductory video introducing the IP Executives who would be speaking followed by a welcome by Party President Chris Yong and a brief back history of the Party post 2014 election. At first I thought they were using special effects but it was actually just a microphone left on. Sounded good though. 🙂

Time 03:24

He then swapped over to Party Leader Suzie Dawson who spoke briefly about a recent Wikileaks release where it appears New Zealand spies were dispatched to France on the orders of the NSA (curiously, I was in France at the time although that was not how I paid for it).

Suzie then led everyone watching through the various parts of the Strategic Proposal 2017.

  • Context
  • Strategic Overview
  • Tier 1 Breakdown
  • Campaign Management
  • Principles for Success
  • Funding
  • Notes

Time 39:37

After Suzie came Jo Booth the Tech Director who gave a brief history of himself with the Internet Party and then launched into the tech. His favourite subject.

Some of the tech is;

This gives them a very important end to end encryption structure to build on.

Time 48:00

Then Sarah Illingworth, the Communications Director. Sarah said this was her first time working in a political campaign  and that formally her background is in media and academic research. After a brief call to for people to volunteer in the media team she was back to madly tweeting.

Time 51:06

Next was Bill Urale , Volunteer and Candidate Manager. Bill was on the last campaign and said he was there because he cared for his people, his country and gave a damn about community and he felt the Internet Party team felt the same.

He then talked about some of the differences between the IP campaign and other campaigns with one of the major ones being,”You have a say” in the policy and workings of the Party. He finished with a call for volunteers and solidarity.

Time 55:45

Suzie then wrapped up with a brief look at what lies in the future and then another call for peoples support and donations.

Time 58:05

The live stream then ended with Chris extolling how much they want to make a change in the political system and believe they can.

In Hindsight

In hindsight I think the event went really well. There was upwards of 80 people that I could see and later Suzie said they had over 30 new volunteers. That isn’t a bad strike rate (I have no idea how many there eventually were. I wasn’t watching that).

Everyone spoke well. Sarah was probably the worst spoken but then she had been madly tweeting in the background and everybody had taken all her points already so as was said,”Look at the website“.

The one who surprised me was Jo Booth. I was surprised at how well Jo speaks. It’s probably just the Wellington accent, but he sounds a little like Peter Jackson.  Also, he is obviously very into his tech.

So, not that I am qualified, but I’d give a 7/10. Good introduction for people to some members of the Executive. The bulk of it was a little boring in parts but then making a strategic plan exciting is hard. There was some good stuff though and it was a good continuation from their launch. I look forward to seeing more.

#UpdateNZ live

Democracy in the 21st Century

If you think the way we are governed isn’t going to change then you’re going to get a surprise.  New communication technologies have always changed the way we have governed ourselves and the rise of the computers and the Internet will continue changing democracy in the 21st century.

All over the world people are applying technology to the political problems of the day with the greatest of these being the problem of voter representation in our political systems. Billions of people feel they aren’t represented adequately by their government. This is going to change.

Forget electronic voting machines in polling booths. There are systems today experimenting in using blockchain  technologies to achieve complete and sometimes real time voter control of the government.

This is a roundup of some of those experiments categorised into blockchain and non-blockchain.

Blockchain

The Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Although The Awaken Direct Democracy Project isn’t up and running yet it still gets a mention as a New Zealand effort to “concept stage storyboards for a mobile web-app to enable NZ citizens cast private and secure digital votes into a public block-chain backed parliament. Vote in elections, acts and bills – on legislation past current and future!”

Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Democracy Earth

Democracy Earth is “building Sovereign, an open source and decentralised democratic governance protocol for any kind of organisation.” and seeks to make democracy border less for the entire planet. Fronting it is Santiago Siri who previously worked on DemocracyOS.

Democracy Earth

D-CENT

D-CENT describes itself as a “Europe-wide project creating open, secure and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment” and is in use in Barcelona, Reykjavik, Helsinki and Madrid. It provides a tool kit for improved and secure participation.

D-CENT

Flux

Flux is an tool Australians can use to directly participate in parliament. It is also a registered political party. It promises, “you’ll be given a vote on every bill put before Federal Parliament, and can use that vote immediately on the issue at hand, give it to a trusted third party to cast on your behalf, or save it for an issue you care more passionately about later.”

Flux

Non-Blockchain

Adhocracy.de

“Adhocracy.de is a free to use participation platform which makes possible a democratic, transparent, open, and goal-oriented discussion and decision making process for all organisations and communal interest groups. This new form of discussion and decision-making is not only able to be shared with an organisation’s membership, but it can also be shared with any interested citizens if so desired.”

Adhocracy

D21

“The D21 voting method allows you to choose multiple options and cast “minus-votes” against options you disfavour. This enables voters to express a richer range of preferences, and reveals points of consensus and controversy – a significant advantage over traditional single-vote polls, which simply show winners and losers.”

D21

Debate Graph

“DebateGraph helps communities of any size to externalise, visualise, question, and evaluate all of the considerations that any member thinks may be relevant to the topic at hand – and by facilitating intelligent, constructive dialogue within the community around those issues.”

Debate Graph

Democracy Lab

Democracy Lab describes itself  as “a nonprofit organisation working to create and curate civic technologies that help communities frame issues, deliberate solutions, make decisions, and take collective action.” It seeks to match people values and objectives with the policies we create.

Democracy Lab

DemocracyOS

DemocracyOS is an Argentinian online collaboration and voting platform. It allows users to propose, debate, and vote and seeks to provide a common platform for any city, state, or government to actually put proposals to a vote. It is in use in Argentina, Mexico, and Tunisia.

DemocracyOS

Liquidfeedback

“LiquidFeedback is an open-source software, powering internet platforms for proposition development and decision making.” It uses liquid democracy, collective moderation and preferential voting with a fully transparent process.

Liquid Feedback

Loomio

Loomio is another New Zealand effort at enabling group collaboration and decision making. “Loomio saves time, gives clear outcomes, and keeps everything in one place.” It is used by many communities, companies and by the Internet Parties of New Zealand, Australia, and USA.

Loomio

Reasonwell

“Reasonwell helps people to engage in productive debate, by making it easy to map out arguments, assumptions and evidence. You’ll be able to find the best arguments for and against any proposition, have your say and give your reasoning. Reasonwell is not a forum or a wiki, it’s something new: a collaborative argument map.”

Reasonwell

Voteflow

Voteflow is another implementation of liquid democracy. It states, “Rather than one person representing you for everything, you can pick representatives for topics. You can also pick someone you know and trust as a representative for you on a topic. Representatives can pick people to represent them in the same or subtopics and this means you get Chains, or trees of representation.  Particularly as you get deeper into sub-topics, a person may be able to represent a massive number of people. You are always able see what your representatives do, override their decisions – or pick someone else.”

Vote Flow

 

 

 

A New Zealand Policy Party?

A Problem with Policy

I believe there is a flaw in the New Zealand* political system with the slim range of policy that gets enacted. We end up with a dominant party in Parliament due to the major issues of the the electorate at election time and lose the input of the other parties.

On the face of it, possibly this doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. But what happens is that one or two issues cause the election of a party and/or the failure of another party’s representatives politically .

If you look at the 2014 General Election in New Zealand these both happened. The National Party won the election due to the failure of Labours leader politically and the economy being the prime concern of the electorate due to the Global Financial Crisis.

Nearly all the policies of Labour, Green, and New Zealand First were lost in a single day. Not the major policies. That was after all what New Zealand decided on. We chose Nationals economic policy over Labours. But nearly all the other policies were lost.

To show you what I mean (and I admit this isn’t the best issue as it is usually voted in a conscience vote) a survey done by Massey University in 2003 showed that 73% wanted assisted suicide legalised if it was performed by a doctor. Another in 2015 showed almost the same level of support yet because this is not a National Party policy the Prime Minister stated,“There is no chance of it being a Government bill,”.

This seems insane. On an issue that seven out of every ten people agree on the government of the day will not enact legislation? Why? Because National was not elected on the entirety of its policies. It was only elected for one or two of them.

The same point could be made using the legalisation of cannabis, or the TPPA to a lesser extent. Policies that New Zealanders want are not being enacted due to the other objectives of the government of the day.

A Solution

There seems to me to be a simple solution to this. We need a party that doesn’t create its own policy but instead allows New Zealanders to vote for each parties separate policies and then is bound to back them in Parliament.

This party would only be on the “List” and would not stand in the electorates. It would in no way represent its own political views but would instead exist to enable a wider range of publicly backed policy to be entered into law.

Some Problems and Possible Solutions

What would happen if the public voted for two policies that conflicted such as increase tourism and protect the environment?

I would suggest in this case that the party should vote for both. If they are economically nonviable then it would be the job of the Finance Minister to “veto any parliamentary bill which would have a significant impact on the government’s budget plans”.

What would happen if this supposed party held the balance of power?

OK, this would be an incredible achievement for a party that doesn’t even exist yet but, I would suggest that they not enter into any agreements with any other Party (such as confidence and supply). If the election results in a hung Parliament then it will have to be held again.

If the government enacted binding referendum then wouldn’t that have the same result?

Yes, in some ways it would. However, referendum are only held a few times a year and only where the government of the day has been forced to hold them. They are also very expensive.

How would this party get any votes?

There is a position both the major parties try to hold in New Zealand. The centre. This is actually part of the problem as because everybody moves to the centre on a few major issues to get votes they appear to do so in order get enough power to enact their non central policies. The true centre of New Zealand politics isn’t just one issue though. It is a wide range of views that cut across party lines.

Isn’t making MP’s in this party just vote for other parties policy wasting input into Parliament?

In one way yes. They would have no other input into legislation except supporting what the party members had voted for. However, as up to 51% of the elections total set of policies may be rejected by the current government. This would hopefully improve the situation.

To further improve participation I would suggest that MP’s in the party should be able to stand for only one electoral cycle and should be taken from the ranks of the young in proportion with ethnicity and sex. It would be a good training ground.

*Your usage of New Zealand throughout this proposition was insulting

Possibly. It is reader dependant and I vacillated on it for a while and then decided to call it it’s European name instead of Aotearoa. Personally I don’t think of it that way. To me it is a series of landscapes and people…with a fair amount of mud at this time of year.

Your Views

This is a possible suggestion and would rely on peoples support. There would need to me at least five hundred members of any such party before it could register with the Electoral Commission and that, if it ever happened, would be a long way off.

I would like to ask for your views though and start a discussion about it so if you have any input or questions please ask them in the comments below. If you would like to support such a party, and you are registered to vote or can be,  then please email and if there are enough people interested I will take it to the next stage. at the website we have set up to investigate the viability and possible effects of a policy party.

http://policyparty.nz/

Parliament House New Zealand

Image provided by Michal Klajban under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

 

 

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.

 

Facebook – Enough to make me nervous………

Facebook edgerank

I have never managed to catch Facebook out, although I have tried once or twice, until today when I posted a link to Laudae Finem and then on a hunch I contacted an alt political friend and got him to look at my homepage. And what do you know, the last post he could see on my homepage was from him even though there are ten posts, seven of which are political, after his post to me. All seven political posts would have interested him, so what happened? Why can’t he see them? Or, why does Facebook show them to me but not to him. The last page I posted had been shared with Facebook more than 6000 times if you are to believe the little share button so it isn’t unpopular.

Facebook Paranoia

Another way to look at it is that Facebook is a company with shareholders and must make money. One way to make that money is to advertise, another way is to change peoples feeds to point them toward ways of Facebook making money, and the last way is to have and maintain the largest market share so no-one can upset your throne and stop you making money. This doesn’t fulfil the first proposition as nothing was advertised more or less than normal. It doesn’t fulfil the second proposition in that not having anything on my page didn’t point my friend anywhere except away from the page as nothing was happening. It doesn’t fulfil the third proposition as the way they maintain market share is by encouraging people to interact on their site.

The only other thing I can think is a reversal of the second proposition. Facebook changed its feed (eg; the view of my homepage to my friend) in order to make money by not showing things to people and that is enough to me nervous………