I support Jim Anderton

Words I never thought I would say. But Jim’s Bill is a good one:

Jim Anderton has drafted a Bill designed to stop current members of parliament from standing for election to parliament in a by-election. …

“It’s a nonsense that people can stand for election to parliament when they’ve already members of parliament,” says Member of Parliament for Wigram and Progressive leader, Jim Anderton

“What would rate-payers think if a member of a city council stood in a by-election to become a city councillor?”

“There should be a rule that if you want to stand in a by-election, you first resign your seat in parliament.

I support this bill. Certainly to select committee at least, but also all the way (if it is drawn out) unless there is a very persuasive argument against it.

One can argue that there should be no restrictions on the rights of electors to vote for whom they like. But I believe term limits (for example) on the US Presidency enhance democracy, not detract from it.

There are two objections to List MPs standing in a by-election. The first is the huge advantage they get with taxpayer resources.

The second is that the result of that by-election is that an additional MP enters on that party’s list, who was not the person who attended meet the candidate meetings etc. You vote Twyford, and get Tizard etc. And unless you have bloggers there to point this out to voters, they may not realise this!

A third minor point is you could get a minor constitutional crisis if a List MP is elected as an Electorate MP in a by-election and they do not resign their list seat before they the writ gets returned for the by-election. They would then have to continue on as  both and electorate and a list MP, and while I doubt they would be allowed two votes, it would be messy. Would they get funding for both their roles etc?

Now my support of Anderton’s bill is no criticism of List MPs who have stood as candidates in by-elections. Doing so was within the rules. But the rules should be changed.

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