During the second reading of the Electoral Integrity Bill (2001), then Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald asked why the Labour-Alliance government was depending on Winston Peters to ‘”impose the most draconian, obnoxious, anti-democratic, insulting piece of legislation ever inflicted on this parliament”.
The 2001 bill did become law, but had a sunset clause which meant it ran out in 2005, when parliament got to debate it again. With a new balance of parties in parliament it failed this time round, after the Green Party stood firm in opposing legislation which proposed, in Rod’s words, to “stifle democracy”.
So the Greens opposed it twice in the past. Rod Donald called it draconian and anti-democratic.
Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald were Alliance MPs when they were first elected in 1996, but left the Alliance as part of the Greens’ formal withdrawal from that party. As sitting MPs they led the Greens into the 1999 election, using parliamentary resources to establish for the first time an independent Green presence in parliament.
And this law would have prevented that. Jim Anderton could have had them expelled from Parliament.
The Greens really need to get a grip on what being part of a government coalition requires. There is a basic rule of negotiation: don’t give stuff away if you don’t need to.
In sacrificing principle on electoral law they’re gaining no advantage at all. They’re also running a high risk of being seen as nothing but a Labour/NZ First doormat for the next three years.
Exactly. They are not required to vote for this. By doing so they are indeed doormats.
In sharp contrast NZ First voted wholesale against Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill this week. Winston and friends don’t give a damn about keeping their partners happy. The Greens just cave.
Smart leadership from the Greens would have at least got NZ First to return the favour for first reading.
If the Green Party leadership continues to reject their own proud history and hard-won integrity, they may lose a number of their more thoughtful members and supporters. With their support sitting at just above the 5% cutoff point, this is a risk they can ill afford.
Whether they vote for it at second reading will be a real test for them.