Draft bill to establish a Civil Assembly

Thoughts on how we might institutionalise a form of representative deliberative process by law. This is a document currently shared on Google docs. If you go back to the main page and use the contact form at the bottom I can invite you to join in the drafting of the Bill. 

It would be assumed that, by joining in, you think the idea at least worth discussing. The first two questions to be asked are:

  1. what should such a bill be called?
  2. is the idea of a three-part assembly worth considering, or what other composition should be considered?

Response from MPs

Perhaps I should not have been surprised that of 120 MPs just six have acknowledged receiving my letter of 26 August, and of these six only one could be considered to be a response which actually addresses the issue and shows awareness of what is at stake. Conclusion: most MPs are too busy or not interested in promoting deliberative participation by the public at large in the making policy. Maybe future contacts will help me change my mind.

Public participation in the Auckland Climate Action Framework

These comments are mainly from the angle of public engagement, both in the drafting of the Climate Action Framework, and what the framework proposes as the plan rolls on. My thoughts are that, without meaningful public engagement in both decision making and in the roll-out of any actions, failure of political will and of public support are highly likely.

  1. The draft CAF makes several mentions of the symposium which was held and the subsequent meeting or rangatahi during the drafting of the framework. There is no indication of how the participants in these two events were chosen, nor of what was said/decided at them. This total lack of transparency is unfortunately typical. The Council simply cherry picks, and gives no indication of what or why it has chosen.

  1. Key Move 1: any mention of the Council’s proposals for public engagement in the future comes under this Key Move. There are generalisations such as “working together” and “all Aucklanders have a voice” but no real proposals for upping the standard of the usual methods for soliciting “feedback”. Effective public input would need to demonstrate:

  • inclusiveness

  • a real degree of popular control to incentivise participation

  • facilitation of considered judgement instead of off the cuff isolated opinion

  • transparency of the process, both internal and external

  • reasonable efficiency (cost)

  1. On p.52, under Progress and Indicators, there is nothing measuring public engagement or participation. And on p.63 there seems to be no serious engagement with the public at large.

  2. It is notable that the Climate Independent Advisory Group contained nobody with expertise in public engagement.

  3. Full Action List: this list, on a series of un-numbered pages following p.70, make it clear that the Council only wants to engage with:

  • the Climate Leaders Coalition

  • rangatahi

  • mana whenua

  • community leaders

  • advisory panels

  1. In view of the fact that the Council clearly signals that it has no intention of meaningful engagement with the public at large, XR’s third demand, taking it that this is still the implementation of a Citizens’ Assembly with participants chosen by lot, remains important and deserves the kind of long term advocacy and lobbying which will be necessary. Now is a good time for this, with local elections coming up and the list of candidates coming out on 21 August.

Auckland’s Climate Action Framework

This document is now out, with submissions able to be made up to 8 pm on Friday 6 September.

The document can be looked at online, or downloaded as a pfd from https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/topics-you-can-have-your-say-on/auckland-climate-action-framework/Pages/default.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2k9EUY-K1RQPTm3Q17WfwmAGzzcjLFLHwOXi7SsK7MkclBQe8-LghTMks

Copies should also be available at libraries and local board offices.

Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies

The UK Extinction Rebellion has just published The Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies https://rebellion.earth/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Extinction-Rebellion-Guide-to-Citizens-Assemblies-Version-1.1-25-June-2019.pdf which was drafted by their Citizens’ Assemblies Working Group. It’s a great read. XR here could build on it. It’s a pdf document and available to be downloaded. I will bring along a copy to the Working Group meeting on June 29, and also the flyer which XR UK have produced.

Joining this site

It does not seem to be all that difficult to join this site, so I hope that others will do so and contribute to discussion and decisions. There is now a Group within this site for the XR Working Group on participatory democracy, it is an open group so any members can join.

Auckland Climate Action Plan

Have posted on the website www.climateakl.nz the idea of including a rolling citizens’ assembly in Auckland’s toolset for responding to the challenges of meeting the imperative to reduce our carbon emissions and of coping with the shit that is already inevitable. Will be interesting to see if there is any response.