A group of political and legal academics has urged the Government to scrap its controversial waka jumping bill, calling it an “undesirable and harmful” law which could damage New Zealand’s democracy. …
In a submission to Parliament’s justice and electoral committee, provided in advance to Newsroom, the group of nearly 20 legal academics and political scientists said the bill should not proceed “with or without amendment”.
“We believe that it represents an undesirable and harmful extension of legal regulation into an area that is better controlled by political imperatives and electoral judgments,” their submission said.
“No matter how well-intentioned, this proposed legislation will have negative effects on our system of representative democracy.”
While there was “an intuitive appeal” to the legislation, it would create more problems than it solved by placing too much power in the hands of party bosses instead of MPs, the group said.
“The vitality of our system of representative democracy relies on an on-going and healthy tension between party loyalty and individual conscience…
“Healthy democracies can tolerate dissent. ‘Electoral integrity’ legislation empowers party hierarchies to stifle debate within the party – to use party rules and party disciplinary procedures to force dissenting MPs not only out of the party but out of the House itself.”
Exactly. It is a draconian law.