International perspectives on democracy 2005
The proportional representation system, MMP, has helped make Parliament more diverse and representative of New Zealand society.
Commonwealth Heads of Government leaders said in their 1999 Fancourt Declaration on Globalisation and People Centred Development:
“If the poor and vulnerable are to be at the centre of development, the process must be participatory, in which they have a voice… good governance and economic progress are directly linked…Good governance requires inclusive and participatory processes at both national and international levels.”
The Commonwealth Foundation “targets priority needs including poverty eradication, health, gender, disability, sustainable development, non-formal education, community enterprise, inclusion of indigenous and other culturally diverse groups…”
Leaders in the Citizens and Governance programme of the Commonwealth Foundation call for “A new compact between the citizen and a democratic state.”
Commonwealth Education Ministers at their Halifax meeting identified the need for citizenship education. Commonwealth Secretariat officials say schools do not deliver citizen education alone. Society has an essential role, including the use of democratic patterns in schools and with parents. They say values and principles are not sustainable till youth are involved.
The Citizens and Governance programme calls for:
The common message distilled from wide consultation leading to the Citizens and Governance programme was that: “The new consensus for the next millennium is thus about responsible citizenship, and responsive, participatory democracy. The two are mutually reinforcing and supportive.
Strong, aware, responsible, active and engaged citizens along with strong, caring inclusive, listening, open and responsive democratic governments…
Don McKinnon, Secretary-General of the London based Commonwealth Secretariat, is a former NZ National Party MP, deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.