Story: Referendums

The fate of referendum results

The fate of referendum results

In this 2009 cartoon, Prime Minister John Key is being a 'a tidy Kiwi' by throwing referendum results into the recycling. The specific reference is to the 'anti-smacking' referendum of that year. From 1994 to 2016 only five citizens-initiated referendums (CIRs) were held. In each case, the government of the day ignored the results. This calls into question the value of CIRs as anything other than a way to raise publicity for an issue.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: DCDL-0012161
Cartoon by Allan Charles Hawkey

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nigel Roberts, 'Referendums - Citizens-initiated referendums', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 October 2020)

Story by Nigel Roberts, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 30 Aug 2016