The death of Jim Anderton gives a special twist to the argument over the waka-jumping bill. Anderton rightly claimed when he split from Labour in 1989 that “I did not leave the Labour Party; the Labour Party left me.”
Under the new waka-jumping law, an MP like Anderton could be expelled from Parliament by Labour leader Jacinda Ardern if she was backed by at least two-thirds of her caucus. The problem with the law is that it would punish the honourable dissident as well as the bad.
This would put far too much power in the hands of the party leader.
Think of a Muldoon using this proposed law. It’s an authoritarian piece of legislation designed to benefit authoritarian leaders.
The great irony of Anderton’s career was that he championed the right to dissent when he was a dissenter, and the right of a party leader to punish dissenters when he became a party leader himself.
Yep, as did Peters.
The Greens’ new face-saving clause – brought in to cover their about-face over waka-jumping – requires expulsion to comply with party rules. In their case this would require party consensus or a supermajority.
But even super-democratic parties like the Greens are all too likely to turn on party MPs if they seem to show “disloyalty”, especially to the leaders. Two Green MPs who rightly decried former co-leader Metiria Turei’s defence of welfare fraud got no mercy.
Yep under this law Turei could have forced Graham and Clendon out of Parliament because they disagreed with her support of welfare fraud.
In the end, the verdict on dissenting MPs should be made by the voters themselves, at the following election.
Yep. Trust the voters.