The Government’s actions today, blocking the public release of the Justice Select Committee draft report on the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill, shows the extent it will go to hide critical advice on the Bill, National’s Electoral Law spokesperson Dr Nick Smith says.

“This Government is going to unprecedented lengths to hide critical advice and the poor process on this Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill because it exposes just how bad this undemocratic Bill is for New Zealand’s democracy.”

Labour members of the Justice Select Committee blocked a report on the Bill being published last Thursday and the Government today in Parliament denied leave for the draft report prepared by the Clerk’s Office to be tabled, earning a rebuke from the Speaker.

“These actions come on top of the Government reversing years of practice, by refusing to release officials’ advice on the Bill’s compliance with the Bill of Rights,” Dr Smith says.

“We also had the very unusual situation of the select committee unanimously inviting these officials to appear before the committee who then refused to attend.

“The devious ways this Government has blocked the publication of reports and advice on this Bill makes a complete mockery of its commitment to be the most open and transparent Government ever.

“It is bad enough that this Government is undoing a 330-year-old principle that voters alone get to fire MPs, by giving this power to party leaders, but it is even worse that it is doing so through a dodgy process and against the views of the majority of Parliament.”

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