The Green Party has paid for power with the loss of its principles in supporting the waka jumping legislation.
. . .Labour promised to support the waka jumping legislation in its coalition agreement with NZ First, but the legislation is not covered in its agreement with the Green Party.
However, a clause in the agreement seemingly holds the Greens to supporting any legislation not specifically flagged in the coalition talks, meaning the Greens MPs feel they have to vote for the waka jumping bill. . .
Have they voted for every piece of government legislation so far and will they continue to do so?
Didn’t they vote against the CPTTP? If they could stick to their principles then, when they were in the wrong, why not now when they’d be in the right?
It’s understood that the Green negotiators were asked to produce a list of potential NZ First legislation they could not agree with during coalition talks, and did not think to include Waka Jumping as it had been so long since the law had been an issue.
That was at best naive.
Former Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who was part of the negotiating team, said earlier this year the agreement did not in fact force the Greens into supporting the bill.
Then why are they doing it?
Green MP Eugenie Sage said “we don’t like it” but it was “very important” to one of the coalition parties.
“It is a dead rat they we have to swallow,” Sage said.
The Greens have long opposed such legislation. . .
Proponents argue that it maintains the proportionality of Parliament while opponents say it stifles democracy.
If maintaining proportionality was so important, National would have got another list MP when Peters won the seat of Northland. Instead of which NZ First got another MP.
National MP Nick Smith said the Greens had “sold their soul” and were “trashing their core values.”
“We’ve never before had a party saying it opposed a bill – leat alone a bill that makes changes to our electoral law and constitution where they are oppose to it but are going to vote it anyway.
“This is the Green Party selling its soul for power,” Smith said.
“They are the last party I would expect to do this.”
He goes further in a media release:
Government changes to New Zealand MMP electoral law enabling a party leader to dismiss an MP would break the constitutional law Allied Powers put in place following the end of the Second World War, National’s Electoral Law spokesperson Dr Nick Smith says.
“The Government cannot justify this draconian law change on the basis of MMP. Germany has had MMP for over 70 years and has no such provisions. In fact, the Human Rights Commission has drawn to Parliament’s attention that it would be ironic and wrong for New Zealand to have insisted on specific democratic protections in Germany, but to be breaching those protections at home,” Dr Smith says.
It is not just Germany that has constitutional protections for MPs’ free speech. The European Court has over-ridden similar laws like those being proposed for New Zealand as undemocratic. The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea struck down similar laws there in 2010.
New Zealand is putting itself in the company of totalitarian states like Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sierra Leone with these electoral law changes.
That isn’t company any country, government or party that stands up for democratic rights would want to be in.
“In these countries, Members of Parliament have been dismissed for challenging corruption in their own Government, for participating in a press conference without their leaders consent and for voting in Parliament differently to how their leaders instructed them. The Government is opening up the risk of this happening in New Zealand.
“New Zealanders should be deeply concerned that changes are being made to our electoral law that would be illegal and unconstitutional in most parts of the world. At a time when autocratic rulers are on the rise, New Zealand should be strengthening and not weakening our protections for democracy and free speech.
“This draconian bill that the Government accepts will have a ‘chilling effect on the expression of dissenting views by MPs’ must be abandoned.”
The select committee received submission after submission from legal experts, academics and a broad cross-section of people concerned for this assault on democracy.
And all because New Zealand First’s leader Winston Peters is so insecure and distrustful of his caucus.
Labour swallowed the dead rat in coalition negotiations. Green Party MPs are facing up to swallowing it now so the legislation will go through.
Their members won’t be happy but they are the ones who wouldn’t have countenanced the party going with National.
Had they agreed to a blue-green government they would have got several conservation gains, including the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
Instead of which they’re watching their MPs dine on a large dead rat and wondering what other principles they might sacrifice as the price of power.