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October 30, 2005

New Zealand’s next potential innovation, if Helen Clark has the vision to say yes 

Since I have done a lot of moaning about ’s nation brand, I decided that I needed to address it. Hence, this email to the Prime Minister, , on October 19. There has been no reply other than an acknowledgement from her office.

Dear Prime Minister:

I said four months ago, ‘Congratulations on your third term.’ I must be psychic.
   I was inspired by your comment earlier this week that this third term will be about forging a true New Zealand identity. As someone who is rather well versed on this topic—known overseas, seemingly ignored locally—I agree with you. But I believe this needs to be vastly different, and begin reflecting the ideals which I feel you champion. In about two paragraphs’ time, I want to put an idea to you.
   I feel there is a greater reason you have been re-elected other than to see to the day-to-day operations of this nation. That may be to leave a legacy that is very much of the twenty-first century. One that is felt not just locally, but globally.
   We would both agree that the United States is not heading in a direction that most New Zealanders would feel comfortable with. As its institutions become more cumbersome, I believe we need to do the opposite: making our institutions more efficient, and our government more representative.
   I am talking about the genesis of truly representative democracy through online voting. Given New Zealanders’ natures, it may well strengthen your party. And it would certainly be visionary, with very few down sides. It would separate Labour from a National Party scared of looking progressive. It would find favour with an increasingly influential 20-something demographic—one which may be the most influential group come 2008. It will also give the proposing party a great deal of ammunition against smaller parties, even coalition partners.
   If we can vote online, instantly, on the measures that affect us, then MPs’ duties will shift. They will still be there, but they are there to propose new ideas on which citizens can vote on. No more cries about there being too many.
   Lobby groups will have less effect: they won’t be able to influence parties, and certainly not the Opposition.
   MPs become less obsessed by party divisions, and as you know, there is a strong tendency here toward centrist policies anyway. There seems little point for divisions when fundamentally, with some extremists aside, we all agree on the things that matter.
   It could unite communities, bringing New Zealanders together.
   All the mystery about what New Zealanders actually want will be removed. Everyone will feel a part of the system, and no one will complain about their wishes not being heard.
   I realize this is just a basic idea with many things to work out. It is something that my colleague, Mr Nigel Dunn, and I, have discussed. And we believe it is possible.
   Our nation’s foundations are ready for it: major parties that agree on the fundamentals, just not their execution; a population that is EFT-POS and cellphone-savvy; a society with little class division, comparatively speaking.
   Prime Minister, we are already the third-least corrupt nation on earth. This will remove any doubt that we can be first.
   It will show the world that New Zealanders can lead in , and be the biggest shift since we gave women the vote.

I remain, Madam,

Yours respectfully,

Jack Yan, LL B, BCA (Hons.), MCA
CEO, Jack Yan & Associates
CEO and Publisher, Lucire LLC
Co-author, Beyond Branding
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