Democracy Reset

How do we restore the balance of power, to ensure our democracy truly is a government of the people by the people?


Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud history of enacting change. Suffragettes, nuclear free, gay marriage… we love to tell the world that we are a country that listens to its people.

But do we really? Our youngest voters are the largest declining group in voter turn-out, and our democracy is just not working. ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ I hear you say. But who can blame people for their apathy towards democracy when election after election political parties “promise” to deliver solutions that never arrive?

We have the world’s most unaffordable housing, environmental and economic decline, poverty and extreme hardship and unsustainable superannuation, and it is our young people who these issues will affect the most. 

It's time to empower our people and balance the power.

TOP's approach

  • TOP will implement all the recommendations of the Electoral Commission’s 2012 Review of MMP.
  • TOP will establish a Royal Commission into Electoral Funding and require that the Commission’s recommendations are implemented.
  • Media plays a crucial role in an informed democracy. The cringey red vs. blue leader debates on TV do not count as true public interest journalism. TOP would sell TVNZ and institute a Digital Services Tax in order to set up a Public Journalism Fund as part of NZ on Air.
  • There’s a strong case to suggest that the re-empowerment of citizens is required if we are to restore the performance of our democracy. This requires devolution of power. We need to shift power from the beehive to local governments and to the people
  • TOP will protect the political independence and transparency of our Public Service advice. Our Public Service should serve the public - not just the Government of the day
  • TOP advocates the strong use of deliberative democracy such as collaborative software, participatory budgeting and Citizens’ Assemblies for making important decisions that affect us all.
  • We believe there is a more urgent need for evolving the public’s understanding of our history, including Te Tiriti O Waitangi and He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tīreni, and this is challenging ground, particularly for some Pākehā and recent immigrants.
  • TOP supports the development of a codified written constitution. TOP believes that a formalised constitution can be a powerful tool in holding the government to account for our country's development. We are encouraged by the large numbers of people who, having become informed about the need for a constitution, agree that positive action is not only necessary but urgent. 

The TOP Democracy Reset Policy is all about making sure the people representing us are compelled to serve our interests, and that we are all able to hold those people and government institutions to account.

See more policy