Sat 12 Jul 2014 7:14PM

PPNZ Constitution

AR Andrew Reitemeyer Public Seen by 312

We need a new constitution. The old one is severely deficient in terms of democratic accountability and not fit for purpose. It seems it was copied from a draft constitution for PPAU that was later corrected and amended by that organisation. As we are not an incorporated society the terms of the constitution are only valid as far as the members agree to their validity

The question is should we amend the current one or start afresh.

English language Pirate Party Constitutions that we can use for reference:



Hubat McJuhes Sun 13 Jul 2014 2:43AM

I have been reading through the PPAU constitution a fair bit by now. I think there are huge chunks that we could probably just adapt with little changes to account for NZ specifics.

Particularly Part1 is formulated quite nicely.

But I find the role of the National Council to be too powerful still. E.g. I don't think that the board would need to confirm all policies worked out in subordinate bodies. I think that a veto right based on a 2/3 majority would be fine, that would then be utilised in exceptional cases.

I would also like the board being clearly described as having two purposes and those two purposes alone (if I have not missed anything):
- gracefully manage party resources which need to be kept under restricted access by nature, e.g. money, personal data, server root access, keys and passwords...
- organise a platform for the membership to discuss and decide upon all matters that the membership is willing to discuss and decide upon to the maximum degree allowable while also protecting the party principles from being violated.

If we then also define our principles around the lines of radical participation, transparency, non-discrimination, egality and liberality - I think we would be very well dintinguishable from the InternetParty that is none of the above.


Andrew Reitemeyer Wed 16 Jul 2014 2:19AM

I would like the purpose of the board to be more generally defined. Something along the lines of :
The board shall facilitate the growth of the Party in New Zealand, encourage the free discussion needed for the membership to formulate sound policy and aid electorate parties to run candidates, campaigns and spread the Pirate message in the country. The board shall also liaise with other parties and organisations in New Zealand and internationally that share Pirate principles.

The board should not have any disciplinary function unless there is an appeals process. A Court of Arbitration separate to the board and elected by the membership would be best. However, we could make the entire membership a CoA until we have enough members - so long as privacy issues are not a problem.


Hubat McJuhes Fri 18 Jul 2014 1:46PM

I would think it could be worth discussing if maybe:
* While each board member has one vote, the President could have 1.1 - so that the president could tip over what would otherwise be a tie to a valid decision.
* The Treasurer could have a Veto right on board decisions that impose an expenditure of an amount that the Treasurer cannot responsibly approve.


Hubat McJuhes Fri 18 Jul 2014 10:21PM

In addition to my suggestion above: At any occasion where the 0.1 vote weight would be the deciding factor or the Veto right would been exercised -> this could automatically trigger the need for a loomio request to the membership to have the decision verified by the membership.


Hubat McJuhes Fri 18 Jul 2014 10:25PM

I am in full agreement with the need of 'A Court of Arbitration separate to the board and elected by the membership'. (+2)
But, given that we are so few people right now, I wonder if we should start off with a single Ombudsman as an interim measure.


Andrew Reitemeyer Sat 19 Jul 2014 8:38PM

The full financial membership should suffice until we have sufficient members to make a CoA a realistic proposal. We will have to see how many new members we can get in the near future.


Andrew Reitemeyer Sat 30 Aug 2014 8:22PM

Now the new board has been elected we can start looking at how we will tackle reforming out constitution.We can either;
- go through our current constitution and amend it
- choose to copy and amend another countries constitution that is near to our needs
- mix and match elements from other countries to suit our needs

here are the constitutions of the three major Pirate Parties in the Commonwealth.





Hubat McJuhes Sat 30 Aug 2014 10:43PM

I suggest to first discuss what we want the constitution to express. Once this process has produced an outline of our intentions (just as a set of bulletpointed keywords) we can start lookig at other constitutions and check which actually tackle our core concerns.


Hubat McJuhes Sat 30 Aug 2014 10:45PM

In parallel to the constitution of the party we also need to formulate status for the working processes of the board. This is a different matter and needs to be discussed in a different thread. But these statues can be made part of the constitution (by reference).


Andrew Reitemeyer Tue 2 Sep 2014 6:59PM

The constitution is a set of rules for getting things done- the aims of the party can be expressed in general terms in a preamble but should not be a part of the constitution. Aims and goals can and do change over time and having to change the constitution every time there is a new goal is a waste of time and resources.


Andrew Reitemeyer Tue 2 Sep 2014 7:01PM

The same thing for the statues for working processes. They should not be a part of the constitution - it will be too difficult to change them should they prove not to be workable.


Hubat McJuhes Tue 2 Sep 2014 9:39PM

@andrewreitemeyer I didn't meant to put our policies into the constitution. I think that a set of broad core principles is justified, to express how much we embrace plurality of the membership but at the same time exclude fascists and esoteric lunatics. This is what I meant with core principles.

With aims and goals I was thinking of things like:
We want the constitution to guarantee a bottom-up policy development.
The current constitution defines everything but the board as subordinate to the board. This is contradictory to the goal.
We may need an institutionalised permanent online membership meeting, so that the membership is able to produce policies.

Once we have such a set of requirements, we can measure the value of a regulation in an existing constitution more clearly. Exercise:
The constAU wants the membership to develop policies that then have to be agreed upon by the board to become effective. Not good enough.
We could allow for the board to have a veto right at the max, but exercising it would need to argue that a policy is clearly violating a core principle as defined in the constitution.

Does this clarification make more sense to you?


Andrew Reitemeyer Wed 3 Sep 2014 2:32AM

yes that is more clear.
Policy should not have to be cleared by the board however it must pass certain tests.
For example
1. It must conform to all global human rights treaties and conventions
2. It must conform to the New Zealand bill of rights
3. it must not contradict international Pirate agreements and principles
4. Where applicable it must be evidence based
5. where applicable it must conform to scientific consensus
The board may refer policy proposals that do not conform back to the working group that developed the policy or to the full membership.


Andrew Reitemeyer Wed 3 Sep 2014 2:35AM

Membership is a matter for the members. If a member is disrupting the party,preventing it in achieving its aims or bringing the party in to disrepute the board may suspend the member until the next general assembly (general or special) but only the full membership can dismiss anyone from the party.


Hubat McJuhes Mon 20 Jun 2016 10:22AM

@robertfrittmann Do you want to join into the discussion of the proposed constitution? Do you find something valuable in the draft as it stands? What aspects do you like and which ones you don't?


Hubat McJuhes Mon 20 Jun 2016 10:27AM

Hmm, I am sure there was a draft document somewhere but I cannot find a reference to it in this thread?!? Does anybody know where to find the most mature draft?


Tommy Fergusson Fri 24 Jun 2016 12:35AM

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