Survey — People's view of participatory democracy
The purpose of this survey was to engage with a sample of the New Zealand public and collect thoughts and opinions in regards to a participatory democracy.
Essentially, would the public like to participate more in government and if so: What methods would they like to use?
What we asked
Do you feel that you have a say in what government does?
Would you like to have more of a say in what government does?
“...so yes, I have had a say, but I remain unconvinced about the effect of that say.”
What way would you like to have your say on issues that matter to you?
- 41% would like to see existing channels improved or look at new channels. These included online referenda and polling, social media, apps and email.
- 38% preferred ‘traditional’ means, for example elections, referenda, community meetings, submissions and polling.
- There was also a call for a dedicated and official online forum.
“...I’m not going to walk into a public meeting or a politician’s office - it’s just not how I interact - but live chat (like Reddit or Facebook) would be a great platform.”
“Have an app or web page where you can vote on issues being debated in parliament or on things that should be brought before parliament.”
“A digital web portal where people can raise their issues and concerns. A user friendly and well-moderated web portal.”
“Through text boxes since it allows me to make a point rather than a binary yes or no answer which doesn’t reflect one’s true feelings as accurately.”
“I think it would great if the government would approach policy-making from a design thinking perspective and make civic input a requirement.”
What might prevent you from having your say?
“The fact I believe it wouldn’t make a difference, my voice would get lost as government has an agenda as is merely looking to validate that rather than actually deliver what NZers want.”
“...I like to be fully informed before making a decision... But I also find it very hard to become informed enough to understand a concept fully- especially when talking about politics.”
“Being required to fill in a paper form and mail or deliver it. Ugh.”
“If it is in a public forum (for example social media) I can be reluctant to have my say as it can often cause conflict.”
What are different digital ways you’d like to have your say in the future?
- 38% online voting or polls.
- 25% website or online platform.
- 13% email.
People also expressed an interest in civics education and that government still needs to be aware of developing non-digital channels alongside digital.
We prototyped an idea of how people might want to digitally participate with government. The concept took inspiration from other tools we had seen and from our insights. It was used to prompt people’s ideas and feedback.
“It instantly makes me feel as though my opinion does matter - for example “how would you like to make NZ better”.”
“I think it is a very good idea! I love the fact that you can read other people’s opinions and write your own! Also it’s great that you can ‘create an issue’ and bring up something that you think needs a solution! this means that it’s not just the government starting the conversation, it’s the people!”