Greens may have to support waka jumping bill

The Greens have long been staunchly opposed to the waka jumping (party hopping) legislation, but due to their confidence and supply agreement commitments they may be obliged to back the bill prompted by NZ First. They have been caught out because NZ First did not campaign on this policy (voters would have good cause to question NZ First sneaking this policy in after the election).

From the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

Democracy

• Introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

 

NZH: Green Party may have to support waka-jumping bill

The bill, which would ensure Parliament’s proportionality in the event that an MP leaves or is ejected from a party, is part of the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement – but needs the support of the Green Party to pass into law.

Young Greens co-convenor Max Tweedie, in a Facebook post last week following a call with the party executive that was screen-shot and posted to reddit, said that the party had no choice but to support the bill.

“James [Shaw] has explained why the Greens are supporting the waka-jumping bill,” Tweedie wrote.

“NZF and Labour, and the Greens and Labour, conducted blind negotiations for the agreement. Labour requested a list of NZF policies that we don’t support, and while we went through, we didn’t even think of the waka-jumping bill.

“As a result, because of the agreements between us, we have to support the bill because our opposition wasn’t flagged.”

A spokesperson for the Greens confirmed that the party did not raise it as an issue during coalition talks with Labour because NZ First had not campaigned on it.

“We looked at the policies that parties ran on during the 2017 campaign. Waka-jumping wasn’t one of them. We are now managing this issue within the Green Party.”

The spokesperson would not say whether the party had to support the bill beyond the select committee, where the Greens hope the bill will be improved.

The Greens have vehemently opposed similar legislation in the past, and co-leader James Shaw has sought to appease the membership by saying that the party’s ongoing support for the bill is not guaranteed.

From the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

Relationship to other agreements

Both parties to this agreement recognise that Labour will be working with other parties both in terms of
coalitions and confidence and supply arrangements.

Labour agrees that it will not enter into any other relationship agreement which is inconsistent with this
agreement and the Green Party and Labour agree that they will each act in good faith to allow all such
agreements to be complied with.

That seems to oblige the Greens to enable the Labour-NZ First agreement to be complied with. That means voting enabling the waka jumping legislation.

Some Greens are not happy.

It would be dishonourable of the Greens not to support the bill too. Caught between the two with no tidy solution – but expect an amendment to the bill that the Greens claim make it ok for them to support it.

This is another challenge of being in Government, especially as the junior of three parties.

 

27 Comments

  1. David

     /  February 16, 2018

    Did they also neglect to notice the Kermadec ocean sanctuary was to be sacrificed to the fishing industry donors to NZ First. Probably missed the roll out of compulsary cameras on commercial fishing vessels that is being dropped too but I guess the Maui Dolphin wasnt really that important after all particularly when measured against political donations.

  2. Corky

     /  February 16, 2018

    More grist for the mill. National will have a turkey shoot over the coming year.

  3. robertguyton

     /  February 16, 2018

    Pete, your post on this issue is fair; “It would be dishonourable of the Greens not to support the bill too” and yes, it seems “challenging” is the right term for coalition partners, no matter who’s involved, especially on the Left though, where the ideologies are more liberal and varied than those on the Right.

    • Gezza

       /  February 16, 2018

      Can the different factions handle compromise internally over the long haul without ructions, that’s the big question mark I think, robert.

      • robertguyton

         /  February 16, 2018

        As with any coalition, Gezza and in this case, it’s a matter of opinion and confidence. I’m confident that Labour, The Greens and NZ First will do it comfortably and even, perhaps, show how it’s done for future coalitions. Critics will crow at every blip, but I find their glee unconvincing. After all, they backed the losing team and seem honour bound to deride the winners at every turn. At the same time as this waka-jumping biz is being played out, National are trying to pluck a leader from a gaggle of no-hopers, so it’s probably a great relief for them to have a minor issue like this to vent over. Go nuts, I say; you need some relief from your awful situation. 🙂

        • Gezza

           /  February 16, 2018

          I meant more can the Greens handle internal dissent & divisions over some of these issues, robert. I’m not saying they can’t – I’m saying that’s what some people, myself included, will be waiting to see. My feeling is they will, but I wouldn’t say I was 100% confident.

          • robertguyton

             /  February 16, 2018

            Oh, I see. Well, yes, I believe they will, the stakes are too high to allow a break-down. Sue Bradford spoke strongly about this, but as you know, isn’t a Green MP any longer, so she can present an unguarded view. It may not be the case that missing the waka-jumping detail was negligent; there might be dozens of difficult-to-see issues around signing-off a coalition deal and such deal-making is hardly old-hat to The Greens, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and feeling for them in the situation they find themselves in now. Sue’s a very nice woman, btw, in my personal experience; kind and a very good listener.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 17, 2018

              I am amazed that the law that made waka-jumping for List MPs is no longer there and that anyone would think it all right to stand for one party as a List MP and then give another party an MP. People don’t vote for List candidates because of who they are, it’s because of what they are.

              Waka-jumpers are vote thieves.

  4. Gezza

     /  February 16, 2018

    God this coalition/confidence arrangement gets messy.

    • David

       /  February 16, 2018

      Our most transparent government ever is doing us all a favour and not disclosing it. Ardern seems to have an expression for every occassion and perhaps Shaw was beguiled and failed to notice what he had signed up to.
      So we now have a PM who didnt want to be and cant manage her contraception, a soon to be PM who has lord knows how many health issues and a coalition partner who didnt read the coalition agreement. Brilliant.

      • robertguyton

         /  February 16, 2018

        Pointless curmudgeonly griping will get you nowhere, David. Give your bile-ducts a rest and have a nice warm Milo then shuffle off to your hot-water-bottle-stuffed bed and dream of Judith, Bill, Sir John or whatever now-powerless Neo-Lib you like to dream about. Jacinda’s Queen, Winston’s having the time of his life and The Greens have some levers, at long last and are pulling them even as we bicker 🙂

        • David

           /  February 16, 2018

          I see the bitterness of disapointment in your comment and I get the impotency of your childish lashing out as the Greens capitulate on Waka jumping, the Kermadecs, proper monitoring of fishing vessels and the greenest most progressive government kicking carbon pricing to a committee…I can sense the fear that the non disclosed coalition agreement is probably chock full of dead rats to swallow and the slow realization that you have National Lite at the moment and all you have to look forward to is Winston in charge for who knows how long, there is only one thing he detests more than his ex National colleagues and that is the morris dancing loop the loops of the Greens. Oh and can anyone see Shaw standing up to him…pfftt
          Sing out when you get a policy win

          • robertguyton

             /  February 16, 2018

            “I see the bitterness…” well, David, your perception is seriously warped in that case and so dismissing your views becomes easy, knowing you have misconceptions at that simple level. It seems you’re ranting in anguish at something, probably the loss your team has suffered and the hopeless state they and you find yourselves in presently, so having a go at The Greens is, I suppose, a harmless way to blow off frustrated steam; go crazy, blow hard!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 17, 2018

              Hot water bottles in this heat ? You must be joking.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  February 16, 2018

    Dishonourable Greens in a dishonourable Parliament full of dishonourable politicians from dishonourable Political Parties …

    Why aren’t we completely accustomed to this already?

    The only question worth asking IMHO is do any of them represent honourable voters?

    If so, where do we find the audacity to call this a system of ‘democracy’ …?

    • robertguyton

       /  February 16, 2018

      PartisanZ – “Dishonourable Greens”? Can you say how The Greens are “dishonourable”?

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 16, 2018

        Sue Bradford – “How dishonourable of the Greens to support the waka-jumping bill”

        and yourself@robertguyton – “Pete, your post on this issue is fair; “It would be dishonourable of the Greens not to support the bill too”

        I also encountered what I can only call “the savagery” of Green supporters during the election campaign at any suggestion of not voting Labour/Green in Northland …

        Dishonourable democracy rubs off on everyone … Sorry …

        • Gezza

           /  February 16, 2018

          Sounds like the Greens’ positivity was a bit too relentless?

        • robertguyton

           /  February 16, 2018

          PartisanZ – Sue says it would be dishonourable to support the bill, Pete says it would be dishonourable not to. Perhaps both are over-egging the pudding. The Greens, I believe, will be doing their level best to be honourable; it’s in their Green-genes. “Savage” Green supporters, btw, are not The Greens, not MPs and not relevant to this issue, surely.
          Gezza, I don’t think The Greens have claimed “relentless positivity”; you’re thinking of someone from another party.

  6. Zedd

     /  February 17, 2018

    Its called being in ‘Coalition’; some give & take.. why is it that Natl are not, now in Govt. ?
    Because they are effectively a non-compromising ‘Gang of one (party)’.. “our way or the highway”, (9 LOOOOONG years of dictating everything & rejecting nearly everything else) whereas Lab/NZF/Grns obviously do understand these things & how MMP works !

    • Missy

       /  February 18, 2018

      hahaha… more like National aren’t in Government because Winston had a grudge and like a petty 3 year old just went with Labour to spite National.

      Also, they probably had enough principles not to sell out to Winston’s demands, unlike what Labour and the Greens have shown to have.

  7. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 17, 2018

    I think that if the Greens’ List MPs waka-jumped, they would be singing a different song.

  8. Missy

     /  February 18, 2018

    I don’t know all the detail of the wake jumping bill, but as it is NZ First I can imagine. However, I do believe there needs to be something along this lines (though maybe not to the extent I have read that NZ First wants).

    I don’t believe an MP who gets in on a list and voluntarily leaves the Party they got in on the list of should remain as an MP, however, on the matter of being expelled from the party I am in two minds. I think if they are expelled for a good reason and behaviour demonstrably against the rules then they should be expelled from Parliament, but there does need to be checks and balances against this. I am wary that in the second case it could be abused by parties that may have personality clashes between the MP and leader.

    I am against such a bill extending to electorate MPs, they are MPs voted in by their electorate, and it is them that the electorate want in to represent them.

    On the Greens support, I think they do risk repetitional damage on this, and seem to be between a rock and a hard place with this. It appears that they have a choice between supporting the Government or following their principles and supporting their base. This will be the test as to whether their principles are greater than their desire for (a small amount of) power.