Matthew Hooton writes:
The Green Party’s support for Andrew Little’s Orwellian Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill reveals its complete lack of power in the Government’s coalition. …
Little says the bill is about maintaining the integrity of MMP by stopping MPs elected for one party becoming independent or supporting another.
But often when MPs go rogue, it is the rebel MP keeping faith with voters, and the party leader breaking their promises to you and me.
Had such a law been in place historically, David Lange could have used it to get rid of Jim Anderton for opposing Rogernomics, and Anderton could have expelled Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons when they indicated the Greens were leaving his Alliance in 1997.
Jim Bolger could have dispatched Winston Peters, and Helen Clark any Māori MP who opposed her foreshore and seabed law.
There would be no Green Party MPs if this bill had been law in 1999.
Every prominent constitutionalist in New Zealand has attacked Little’s legislation as undemocratic.
Former Green MPs have been among the most vociferous.
The party’s doyen, Fitzsimons, says the bill “breaches the Bill of Rights, denies freedom of speech and association, is contrary to international and NZ precedent, … is opposed by an impressive array of senior legal, constitutional and political experts [and] is unnecessary to address any real problem”.
The reality is this bill is actually opposed by 120 of the 121 MPs in Parliament.
- All 56 National MPs oppose it
- None of the 46 Labour MPs really support it. They never campaigned on it. They know it is crap. You could see at select committee them nodding along to the criticisms made by submitters. They are supporting it because it was the price of Winston’s support
- ACT’s MP is against it
- The eight Green MPs have said they are against it, but are scared of Winston so are voting for it so they keep their baubles of office
- And in reality eight of the nine NZ First MPs are against it. They are the ones most terrified of it, because almost beyond doubt it will be used against one or more of them.
So we have a law that would be voted down 1-120 in a free vote, but because Winston is incapable of managing a caucus successfully, he is forcing everyone else into giving him the power to expel MPs he falls out with.