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Talk of electoral reform hits a nerve

Tuesday March 20, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Wilkie Rasmussen’s column (CI News Monday March 19). shows above all else that my comments last week, and previously, about electoral reform have struck a nerve, or several nerves.


A personal attack from a politician is always a sure sign they don’t like criticism and have decided to go after the person, not the ideas put forward.

Wilkie has it plain wrong in several areas;

 I proposed establishing an independent Electoral Commission, not the opposite, as Wilkie says.

 Wilkie says I didn’t, but I clearly proposed an alternative, that is, changing and reducing electorates so that one vote in Penrhyn or Rakahanga is worth the same as one vote in one of the Rarotonga electorates.

I made it clear that at the end of the day, the recommendations of an Electoral Commission would have to be put to parliament, and that a vote to change things would need a 75 per cent or better approval. There’s room for an awful lot of wheeling and dealing between now and then. That’s why an independent Electoral Commission is needed, headed by someone outside the party system, and the chains of family, village, or island, loyalties to one or other party.

 I made it clear that my views were about fairness and democratic values, not a party agenda, as Wilkie falsely claims.

Given that his first premise was wrong, (point one above), his other comments are really a collection of unseemly innuendos aimed at my credibility.

The issue of electoral reform is too important in my view to be dragged down into the political ditch where personal insults rule the day.

If Wilkie and his Democratic Party friends have the courage Wilkie claims they do, why don’t they agree with the CIP that neither party have candidates stand in the tiny electorates.

This would swiftly and surely reduce the number of members of parliament and fast track “traction” as he calls it, in political reform in parliament.

Of course, this act of courage would cut him out of parliament, and self-sacrifice for the greater good is not something politicians are known for.