A profile in the HoS of NZ First MP Tracey Martin. I have no issue with Ms Martin and wish her well in Parliament. But one statement from her I take issue with:
Martin’s decision to enter politics came out of frustration with her local representation. “Our MP was Lockwood Smith, and a number of policies came in which I disagreed with: prostitution reform and the lowering of the drinking age. The community asked him to take a stand and he followed the party line.”
Lockwood did not follow the party line. There was no party line. Both those issues were conscience issues. Lockwood voted on those law changes on the basis of what he thought was best for New Zealand.
Far from Lockwood voting on the party line, he was one of a very small number of National MPs who voted for decriminalising solicitation.
In terms of voting as your community wishes, does that mean Ms Martin would vote to decriminalise cannabis if a poll showed the majority of her community supported it?
I prefer the wonderful quote from British MP Edmund Burke in 1774:
… it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
I want MPs who will exercise their own judgement (even if it is a judgement I disagree with), than those who will just vote for what is popular.