Repealing waka jumping law on the table

The pulling of the Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill from the Members’ Bill ballot today gives Parliament an opportunity to get rid of NZ First’s ‘waka-jumping’ legislation, National List MP David Carter says.

“I never agreed with the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill when it passed. No credible democracy should ever give 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. It reduces a Member’s right to freedom of expression and, as quoted by Attorney-General David Parker at the time, will ‘have a chilling effect on the expression of dissenting views by MPs’.

“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.

“The Greens went against their principles and betrayed their core values by voting for the legislation. Founding Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said of the same bill in 2001 that it was ‘the most draconian, obnoxious, anti-democratic, insulting piece of legislation ever inflicted on this Parliament’.

“National is prepared to work with the Greens on ensuring my Member’s Bill passes. Hopefully the Greens will reassert their values as a party that stands up for free speech, respect for dissenting views and democracy.”