Waka jumping ban

An inclusion in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

Introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

Given the problems NZ First has had in the past over MPs jumping from the party and remaining as independent MPs in Parliament there is obvious self-interest, but I support this. An MP who got into Parliament via a party vote for the party list should either remain representing that party, or leave Parliament.

Even electorate MPs have usually succeeded due to their party, so there’s a good case for stopping them jumping from their party and remaining in Parliament. The best thing for them to do if they feel compelled to leave the party that got them there is to resign, and stand in a by-election under their new circumstances.

Again I can’t find this in the NZ First policies and I don’t recall them campaigning on it, but it has long been a problem that Winston peters wanted to clamp down on.

Newshub in 2013: Public support end to ‘waka jumping’

Asked if there should be a rule change so rogue list MPs can be thrown out of Parliament:

  • 77 percent said yes;
  • 17 percent said no;
  • The rest said they didn’t know.

It was a public issue when Peters kicked Brendan Horan out of the party in 2012:

Newshub: Key: New ‘waka-jumping’ law possible

Parliament may consider fresh “waka-jumping” legislation to stop list MPs leaving their political party but staying on in Parliament without a mandate.

The issue of party-hopping is back in the spotlight after first-term MP Brendan Horan announced he’ll stay on as an independent MP after being given the boot from NZ First amid a family dispute over his late mother’s estate.

“Parliament might sort of hold hands and look at this issue and decide once more to try and put something permanently in place,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast.

The issue, he says, is that “it’s really difficult to write the rules” so they are fair to all sides.

Regardless, Mr Key says there’s still an onus on NZ First leader Winston Peters to prove his case for kicking Mr Horan out, which feels “very odd” to Mr Key.

“Mr Peters did it under Parliamentary privilege so he couldn’t be sued – that’s not always the actions of somebody who’s absolutely sure that their position is right.”

Last year, despite Peters leading a kangaroo court and making unsubstantiated accusations to support kicking Horan out of the party:  Ex-MP Brendan Horan cleared by police after allegations he took money from late mother’s account – but that’s a different issue.

Waka jumping is a problem with our democratic system and could do with being dealt with, but the legislation will have to be careful it’s fair to both sides of any party dispute.

It’s interesting to see the historic list of waka jumpers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waka-jumping

Due to the frequency of waka-jumping, New Zealand enacted legislation (the Electoral Integrity Act of 2001, expired at the 2005 election) which required any MP who had entered parliament via a party list to resign from Parliament if they left that party’s parliamentary caucus.

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33 Comments

  1. Trevors_elbow

     /  25th October 2017

    So when a megalomanic forces a duly elected member out of their cult/party that person has to leave parliament? Hmmm smacks of dictatorship for leaders in a list only party

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  25th October 2017

      megalomaniac,sociopath,psychopath….be running out of descriptors …soon.

      Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  25th October 2017

        The descriptors for you are banned under site policy. Now go back to your down ticker generator and “comfort” yourself….

        Reply
    • PDB

       /  25th October 2017

      I agree with a ban if we are talking only about list MP’s that are solely in parliament due to the nationwide vote of their respective parties.

      Electorate MP’s should not have this ban on them because regardless as to what party they belong to they have been voted by the people of an electorate to represent their views as well. There are many examples where an MP has personally won the most votes in an electorate whilst also losing the party vote within that same electorate.

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  25th October 2017

        Agree PDB, electorate MP’s are a different proposition as they are personally voted in (albeit with strong party allegiance).
        Trevor has a point regards NZF though, being the cult of personality party it is. It entrenches Winston’s vote with a multiplier of how many list seats they hold.
        That said, Winston was more about policy this time around and he has marginally moved to having MP’s with thoughts of their own.
        Given how synergistic the NZF policies are with Labour across so many issues it PG is correct in saying there should be no surprise he went left.

        Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  25th October 2017

        I agree that list MPs must stay with their party or resign, there is little cost to bringing the next person on the list in to replace them.

        On the other hand forcing an electorate MP to resign incurs the cost of a by election which is just a waste of money. But there is an issue if an electorate MP or MPs leave the party they stood for, resulting in a change of government. Under this circumstance I think that the current parliament should be dissolved and a new election held to see what the electorate wants.

        Reply
  2. Corky

     /  25th October 2017

    ”It’s interesting to see the historic list of waka jumpers here: ”

    Talk about a rich tapestry of political intrigue and forlorn hopes. Did they ever get Aunty Alameins furniture back?

    Reply
    • It would be worth losing it if it meant losing Auntie Alamein. I remember one Maori man saying on the news that she had stolen his vote. I had every sympathy with him; he was voting for Alliance, not for Auntie Alamein and I would feel as he did if my list MP jumped wakas.

      I thought that waka-jumping had been banned years ago, in Helen Clark’s time.

      Reply
  3. Cybeny

     /  25th October 2017

    A few years ago, I felt the same way you did Pete.

    However, these days, I’m not entirely sure this is a good idea.
    Firstly, who decides whether you are in the party or not? Potentially, this could lead to unelected (even anonymous) party officials deciding who is in, and who is out of parliament.

    Furthermore, it will lead to more herding, where MPs are too scared to make decisions they think are right just to tow the party line. This will strengthen the concept that MPs are there to represent their party, not the public.

    Finally, I really do not like the idea of our electoral law being horse-traded through coalition agreements. This is being proposed solely to protect the new governments relatively weak majority. Self-interest is a terrible way to construct electoral law.

    Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th October 2017

    Seems to me there should be a conscience clause which does not allow them to be dismissed unless they have refused to support the policy they were elected on. That is what the voters voted for.

    Reply
  5. Zedd

     /  25th October 2017

    tautoko to whakaaro PG, list seats belong to the party; they are gained by the ‘party vote’

    BUT if they are going to tweak MMP, then its time to look at the other issues too; 5% thresh-hold & coat-tailing rules.. as per recommendations/public comments

    Reply
  6. barryglik

     /  25th October 2017

    To be fair considering 100/150 plus years of Parliament involving thousands of MP’S very few jumped ship and often just jumped into the wilderness. My truck is with politicians who get elected on impossible promises then when elected run away from even attempting to deliver
    on those promises. Laws and Peters being the prime examples post 1990. Now Peters again after vast promises pre election immediately following the election announces that failure to deliver on promises has nothing to do with the Government he formed. Who cares about waka jumpers its promise jumpers who are the real pricks.

    Reply
    • I care about waka jumpers, They steal votes, People don’t vote for them personally, they vote for them as a re[resentative of the party. If a list MP was run over by a bus, the next person on the list takes their place. If someone votes for the Legalise Cannabis Party and a list MP gets in, that person will be unimpressed if the MP waka jumps and becomes Conservative.

      Reply
      • barryglik

         /  25th October 2017

        I am confused Kitty 🙂 You say if a list MP is run over by a bus the next person takes their place on the bus or the waka? Cannabis party MP’S becoming Conservative? Really?Sounds like a magic mushroom bus 🙂

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  26th October 2017

          The next person on the party’s list will become an MP, as far as I know.

          But if I had voted for one party and the list MP for that party joined one whose values were directly opposite, I would be furious. It would mean that my vote had gone to the party whose views I was opposed to.

          Reply
      • Blazer

         /  25th October 2017

        I guess you know Nationals number 1 and 3 are list M.P’S.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th October 2017

      I can see where you’re comong from but tbh anybody voting for Winston Peters on the strength of seriously expecting he that believes everything he says, & will do everything he says, (in fact, maybe, “anything” might be more apt?) who is then disappointed by what happens or doesn’t happen & was actually never going to – can’t read body language, and especially facial expressions, very well at all.

      The irrepressible giggles & grins – & shuddering shoulders when he does manage to supress the other two for a microsecond or two – everytime he appears on telly should be a dead giveaway that everything’s always just a joke.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  25th October 2017

        Oh dear G, wandering off into shits and giggles country again. I know its difficult but try to focus on whats important …outcomes not personalities

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  25th October 2017

          I do. If he has a good reason to do a good job in some area that scored him votes or keeps him entertained, wined, dined, & feted and / or out of mischief, he will.
          Otherwise it’s just “shits & giggles” for him. His principles are flexible as nobody’s business & based around Principle One – look after Number One.

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  25th October 2017

            No …you don’t. Your response proved it

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  25th October 2017

              Perhaps you could expand on this remark above? It appears to me to be in error, but I’m always rather reluctant to criticise, as you know.

  7. David

     /  25th October 2017

    What if you were say a real fan of Shane Jones and everything he stands for and that is why you voted NZ First. Why not just have 1 person from each party elected and they get to cast the amount of votes in proportion.

    Reply
  8. patupaiarehe

     /  25th October 2017

    Personally, I can’t see anyone ‘jumping out of the waka’ anytime in the near future. Concessions have been made by both sides, and the collective intent seems to be focused on moving forward, in a constructive manner. Which is exactly what I voted for 😛

    Ka hangaia e rātau he waka taurua hai mau i te katoa o te iwi.

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  25th October 2017

      FFS! I just pasted the Maori quote above into ‘Google translate’, and it gave me the following;

      They build a small car park that is accessible to all people.

      What I actually meant was;

      They built a double canoe that would hold all of the tribe

      Reply

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