Winston has a very good point

Winston Peters makes?a good point.

Currently, to be eligible to enrol with the Electoral Commission, a person must be a permanent resident or a citizen.

But New Zealand First MP Winston Peters said only citizens should have the right to vote on the future of the flag.

“If you want to have a say in a flag, surely your belief is that you want to be, seriously, part of the country and make a commitment to it.

“It’s that lack of entitlement that we’re talking about that should not entitle them to have a vote.”

No other country allowed non-citizens to make a decision about their national identity and it should not happen here, he said.

Winston has a point, but what he is really suggesting is a change to our electoral laws, not just for the referendum.

Our electoral laws allow everyone who is a citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18 to vote. What Winston is suggesting is a wholesale change to our electoral laws.

It is a change that I’d consider. I realise that permanent residents are…well…permanent. That final step of becoming a citizen, however, has yet to be crossed and many people won’t make that final step. Should they be able to vote?

It is an argument that has some merit.

A better argument would be to allow only those who are net taxpayers to vote.


– RadioNZ