Greens vote for Electoral Integrity Bill

Judith Collins summed it up best:

There is one reason why we are here today debating bill, and that is because that is the price of going into Government with New Zealand First. So let’s be frank about it. That’s the truth. They’ve said that; we know that, so let’s not try and sugar-coat it. That is the price. The reason is they have such a terrible history of keeping their as members of Parliament who do exactly what they’re told.

Labour have to vote for terrible bill. The Greens are choosing to vote for it. Shame on them.

also struck home:

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) represents 178 Parliaments around the world. … 

 In every one of those democracies there is a tension between the views of the political parties and the individual MPs, and things get difficult when there are fallings out in the party, but only in some of the most ramshackle, awful places are such laws promoted. The courts in Europe had struck-down the very sorts of laws that are being proposed here.

Let me read exactly what the Inter-Parliamentary Union said. It said, “These laws create political party dictatorships.” It goes on to say this: “While party loyalty and discipline are necessary, they must never impair the full and effective exercise of freedom of expression and association by any member of that party, since these are fundamental human rights.” Fundamental human rights— isn’t some arbitrary organisation; this is the Inter-Parliamentary Union that has been around for 150 years as societies have tried to develop the rules to make our Parliaments effective democratic institutions. I bring to the attention of the Parliament the view of well-respected New Zealand constitutional law expert, Professor Andrew Geddis, who says using this law to quash internal party disagreement comes at far too great a cost to our parliamentary democracy.

bill allows party leaders to sack MPs that disagree with them, so long as they can get two thirds of their caucus to agree. As not agreeing would get you next in line to be sacked, this will be a trivial requirement in parties like NZ First.

I want to conclude by challenging the Green Party. The wants to champion human rights in all corners of the globe for others. My challenge to the Green Party: there’s no more important place to champion human rights than in Parliament, the heart of the New Zealand democracy. I ask those members to go look at the speech content of your founding leaders of the Green Party when this absolutely identical was introduced into the Parliament. I say absolutely genuinely to the Green Party: to vote for this bill on to the law books of New Zealand will be an embarrassment for our democracy, and will be an embarrassment in terms of our human rights, of which your party so adequately, and, in my view, in times rightly, champions. I plea to the Green Party to stand up for the values that matter and to ensure that this Parliament remains a House of Representatives.

I believe bill can be defeated. I will be encouraging people to submit to the select committee against this, and for people to e-mail Green MPs especially asking them to vote in line with their party policy, and not in line with Winston’s demands.

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