The Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading, marking one step closer to Parliament getting rid of NZ First’s ‘waka-jumping’ legislation, National List MP David Carter says.
“I’d like to thank the Greens for voting for this legislation. They have reasserted their values as a Party that stands up for free speech, and we look forward to working with them further to make sure this Member’s Bill passes.
“No credible democracy should ever have given the power to Party leaders to dismiss elected Members of Parliament because they don’t agree with the Leader.
“It is an affront to democracy. The public expects elected members to advocate strongly without fear of being punished by their Leaders for expressing different views.
“The free mandate of MPs is internationally recognised as fundamental to a parliamentary democracy. There are only a few countries with the draconian power for Party leaders to dismiss MPs, including Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sierra Leone.
These are not countries whose attitude to democracy we should be following.
“As I will be retiring at the next election, I have passed responsibility for the legislation to Nick Smith, who shares my passion for good, democratic process.”
The waka-jumping Act was one of many dead rats the Green Party swallowed in return for joining Labour and New Zealand First in government.
It has now spat it out, incurring Winston Peter’s wrath in the process:
New Zealand First has a track record of pulling support for Labour-Green policies at the eleventh hour.
There’s been the capital gains tax, cameras on fishing boats, and more recently light rail from Auckland city to the airport.
Peters said comparisons can’t be drawn between light rail and waka-jumping.
“We did the work on light rail, the costings and the analysis did not back it up.”
He said the Greens’ were breaking their end of the deal.
“They’re signed up to the coalition agreement on this matter for three years and that term does not end until the 19th of September.”
Peters said the Greens can’t be trusted and voters should remember that on election day.
“You cannot possibly be going forward to the years 2020-2023 contemplating a party that can’t keep its word.”
Is this an instruction for his own supporters to vote for other parties?
But Shaw rejected that criticism.
“I think it’s a bit rich for Winston to suggest that we’re not trustworthy when in fact they’re the ones who have been entirely slippery with the interpretation of our confidence and supply agreement.”
Shaw said his party is fed up with New Zealand First not sticking to the spirit of an agreement.
“I would say that in recent times we have learned that it’s the letter of the agreement, rather than the spirit of the agreement, that’s what counts when it comes to New Zealand First.
“So when it comes to the repeal of the party-hopping bill I would say that we have observed exactly the letter of our agreement.”
So is he just playing the same political games as Peters?
“Well I learn from the master,” Shaw fired back.
That the government has held together when the antipathy between these two parties is so strong.
With just days to go before parliament rises for the election, any presence of unity has gone.