Parliamentary Votes

No Right Turn has been concerned that when parties split their votes on a bill, it is difficult to find out how individual MPs have voted. I agree with NRT that the public have an absolute right to know how an MP has voted on legislation.

NRT e-mailed parties who had split votes (NZ First never split votes as they all vote how Winston tells them to) asking about the issue. Don Brash replied within a working day (I don’t think people realise how rare it is amongst MPs, and welcome it is that Don replies personally to almost all e-mail sent him, despite the huge volume he receives) to say he agrees individual votes should be recorded.

Replies from the Whips indicate that split party voting is allowed only with leave from the House, which means with no MP dissenting. This shows that if Peter Brown really was upset at this, then NZ First could simply not give leave.

Nevertheless I agree that even when leave is given, there should always be a record of how each MP has voted. The simple solution would seem to be an amendment to standing orders along the lines of:

144(1)(f) “If a party, by leave, splits its vote, the party shall table by the conclusion of the next house sitting day, a statement listing which members were represented by the ayes, and which members represented by the noes, as cast by the party’s representative.

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