Justice committee fails to report back on waka jumping bill

Greens copped a lot of flak after they announced they would vote for the ‘waka jumping’ bill to keep NZ First happy, despite being strongly opposed throughout the party’s history. See Why the Greens threw their integrity overboard

But they aren’t the only ones divided over the bill.

Stuff: Justice committee fails to report back on Waka Jumping bill

National’s Nick Smith says Labour MPs on a select committee inspecting the Waka Jumping bill refused to consider amendments because Winston Peters wanted it to pass unamended.

Labour and National MPs are bitterly blaming each other for the failure of the select committee to report back on Monday.

The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill would allow party leaders to expel MPs from their party from Parliament, if they could get the approval of two thirds of their caucus. List MPs would be expelled for good and replaced by the next person on the list while electorate MPs would be able to compete in by-elections.

The Justice Select Committee was due to report back on the controversial bill on Monday but failed to do so. The committee is evenly split between National and Labour MPs, and would need to pass a majority vote to send the bill back to the House with a report attached.

As a result the bill will go back to the House without any recommendations from the select committee.

That should make it even harder for the Greens to justify voting for it, but they seem to have already capitulated.

“The Labour members of the committee made plain that they were under directives as part of the agreement with Winston [Peters] for the bill to not be amended,” Smith said.

“They said it just that way: ‘No. Winston won’t agree to that.”

It seems odd that NZ First are forcing Labour to support this bill unchanged when it appears to be important only to Winston Peters, in contrast to Peters giving up so easily on a popular policy for NZ First voters – see Government has reneged on immigration ‘promises’.

Peters makes a big thing of letting ‘the people’ decide, for example on cannabis legislation.

But on the waka jumping bill he seems to be against the justice committee from addressing issues in his bill.

Labour MP and chair of the committee Raymond Huo said Smith was “throwing his toys” and could have put comments like that in a minority report had he allowed a report to be sent back.

Huo said by holding back the report Smith was letting down his party and the submitters whose voices would now be lost.

“He has not just let his party down but also the general public, including those submitters,” Huo said.

“The Justice Committee is a very busy committee. We have enjoyed a strong level of collegiality, until, very frankly the arrival of Nick Smith,” Huo said.

Or the arrival of the Winston waka jumping bill?

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. I have no qualms at all about List MPs not being able to change sides. People aren’t voting for them as a person, they are voting for the party. The man who said that Alamein Kopu had stolen his vote was right. I think that most people would be angry if they voted for one party and found that their vote had been given to another one instead.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 31, 2018

      Me too. I’m not opposed to this bill. If you & your boss fall out over his policy or behaviour you either do as you’re told & stick it out until you find anothrr job – or you leave the job right now & put it down to experience. Next time get a better job with a better boss. And the voters can make their views known at a by-election.

      Reply
      • My stepfather had a saying ‘You can always sack the boss.’

        I can’t see how it can possibly be all right to waka jump, especially List MPs.. Anyone on the List knows what the party policy is and that they are there to make up the numbers. I can think of few things more annoying than voting for one party and finding that my vote, as well as that of all the others who put that person in, has been handed to another party.

        It’s unlikely that any party is suddenly going to change so much that someone can’t, in good conscience, remain with them.

        I still remember the man saying ‘She’s stolen my vote.’ She had, too.

        Reply

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