OneAction NZ

Democracy Co-operative

Democracy Co-op vs. Traditional Parties

In a nutshell

Posted by Rhys Goodwin on November 30, 2022 · 5 mins read

Kia ora folks,

In the last couple of posts, I explored two key differences between a Democracy Co-op and a traditional political party. Firstly, a Democracy Co-op allows the responsibility for decisions which shape our country to be shared broadly whereas traditional parties typically involve a lot of buck-passing and arse-covering. Secondly, where traditional parties have a focus on what they can get from citizens (i.e. our vote), a Democracy Co-op focuses all its energy on the value it can give citizens in terms of input into Aotearoa’s direction.

For those without the time or inclination to read my previous ramblings, in this post, I’ve outlined 4 short summaries of some differences between a Democracy Co-op and a traditional party and the problems we’re seeking to solve.

1. Funding
Traditional party
  • Funding comes from a range of sources including big business donors and wealthy individuals
  • Money can have or be seen to have an influence on policy
  • Spending is not transparent
Democracy Co-op
  • Micro-donations are only allowed from individual members
  • A monthly cap on donations ensures one member can’t donate disproportionally more than another
  • Growing funding relies on growing the membership base
  • Money in and money out is completely transparent and published online for members and the public to see
Problems Solved
  • The concern of big doners having an influence is eliminated
  • Total transparency means spending can always be scrutinised
  • A Democracy Co-op is truly owned by its members
2. Source of votes
Traditional party

Votes come from the public (and from a handful of party members). Traditional parties rely on spinning the narrative right up to the last second then anxiously waiting for the votes to be counted.

Democracy Co-op

In a Democracy Co-op we only rely on votes from the membership, and we count our members every month in the TallyUp™.

Problems Solved

In the Co-op model policy is collectively set by members who get it to parliament with their vote. We’re never trying to craft policy to capture votes and we’re never trying to sell anything, so we’re free to build the policy we think will best serve our country. We never have to spend money on campaign advertising, spin doctors, or focus groups to find out what buttons to push with the public to get their vote.

3. Ideology
Traditional party

Typically formed around a specific cause or ideology – left vs. right, conservative vs. progressive

Democracy Co-op

Seeks to create a super-ideology of collaboration in which people from a wide range of viewpoints come together intent on listening to each other and finding common ground

Problems solved

Like we’ve seen acutely in the US, societal division along political lines appears to be growing in New Zealand. This partisan rot, once it takes hold, is difficult to reverse. For traditional parties, division is a useful tool in their pursuit of votes. Increasingly we huddled together with like minded people only opening the door to fire shots at the other side, who are the enemy and always wrong by default. This is of course a terrible way to do politics and it’s seriously limiting our potential as a self-governing community. In reality, we need a mix of views. In reality, we have far more in common than not.

4. Number one priority
Traditional party

Get votes.

Democracy Co-op

Give political power to our members.

Problems solved
  • More democracy.
  • Better politics.
  • Less bullshit.

I hope you’ll agree that the Democracy Co-op model is a better way to do politics in the country you care deeply about. All we need to do now is build it. I hope you’ll consider showing your support by joining here. And if you’re already a member, see if you can rustle up a few friends to support this idea. After all, democracy is all about the numbers. Also, it takes less than 2 minutes a month to get behind this project.

Ngā mihi