Iceland: crowd-sourcing the constitution

by Toby Manhire / 26 November, 2012
New Zealand could take a leaf out of the Nordic book, and pursue a reform based on citizenry, and the internet.


If the constitutional review under way in New Zealand – and covered in a major Listener feature last week – does decide a revamp is in order, what next?

How might citizens be properly involved in, engaged by the drafting of a constitution?

The first place to look is Iceland – another small, isolated, island nation. Last month Icelanders voted in a non-binding referendum for change. In Reuters’ summary: “Residents of Iceland have voted for their constitution to be rewritten in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis, electing to take greater control of natural resources such as fish and geothermal energy.”

The process has gained a lot of attention outside Iceland, however, for its genuine inclusiveness. The constitution, it’s said, has been “crowd-sourced”, with a special panel of 25 citizens drawing on conversations convened online.

From Reuters again:

The draft constitution was drawn up after deliberations by the 25 members of the council and after about 3,600 comments and 370 suggestions were made to the council's website. The council also used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the public.


This was no sham consultation, either. Mashable explains:

The constitution council posted the first draft in April on its website and then let citizens comment via a Facebook Page. The council members are also active on Twitter, post videos of themselves on YouTube and put pictures on Flickr.


Thorvaldur Gylfason, a member of the constitutional council, told the Guardian:

“I believe this is the first time a constitution is being drafted basically on the internet. The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes … This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch ...


“There's been a lot of goodwill for what we are trying to do. The public have added much to our debate. Their comments have been quite helpful and they have had a positive effect on the outcome."


Read more on NZ’s constitutional review, and join the debate, here.


New Zealand could take a leaf out of the Nordic book, and pursue an internet-based approach to reform.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bulldogs
86110 2018-01-20 10:49:32Z Business

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bul…

by Sally Blundell

As a result of growing concern over the welfare of pugs, British and French bulldogs, Trade Me has announced they're banning the sale of these breeds.

Read more
Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding shame
86056 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Currently

Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding s…

by Sally Blundell

NZ has an unregulated puppy-breeding industry where unscrupulous operators can flourish, so why aren’t we following the lead of overseas governments?

Read more
The Crown has lost its way in season two
85715 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Television

The Crown has lost its way in season two

by Greg Dixon

To read the gushing media reports, you’d have thought The Crown was a winning combination of the Second Coming, unicorns and sliced bread.

Read more
How your name influences who you become
85737 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Psychology

How your name influences who you become

by Marc Wilson

Researchers say that 'Daisy' is more likely to dress and act in a feminine manner because the name has a stereotype of femininity.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more