Is there a decline in democracy in New Zealand? Or is it as healthy as ever?

The decline of New Zealand's democracy is the subject of a just-released 23-minute online documentary: Beautiful Democracy. Ostensibly the video is about last year's anti-TPP protest movement and the creative ways in which activists sought to have an impact on a decision making process that they felt locked out of. But the focus extends to asking the big questions about just how democratic our democracy really is.

You can read more about the project in Hugh Collins' news article, Kiwi made short film Beautiful Democracy demonstrates the expression of democracy. He explains that "Shot over roughly six months, the film follows three activist groups as they go about unconventional ways of defending their democratic rights." The director, Rose Archer, is quoted saying she really wanted "call out the politicians whose job it is to work for democracy and what they're doing really is exactly the opposite of that."

Archer states "There is a proportion of our generation that I think feel entirely disenfranchised with the political system and really the aim of this film is to show there are other ways to engage." Likewise, producer Sandy Wijetunge says: I just felt that there was no real way of people connecting and people just didn't see the importance of getting involved in a democratic system".

For a more extensive exploration of what the activists and film directors were thinking about democracy, see Hussein Moses' interview: How New Zealanders Are Impacting Democracy Through Art. In this, Archer, explains "The point that I was making with that was not so much to do with the TPPA not going ahead as such, but over the last 40 years we've seen a sort of slow erosion of democratic power and also the kind of culture of democracy and politicians really engaging with populations in a way that's meaningful."

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