Hipkins’ claims over dirty collusion doubted

Chris Hipkins has already put new Labaour leader in an awkward position over his asking questions on citizenship on behalf of the Australian Labor party. Ardern has publicly reprimanded Hipkins.

This has lead to a political spat with the Austrian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, slamming Labour here for (allegedly) trying to interfere with the Australian government. The coalition that Bishop is a part of has a bare 1 seat majority, and if Barnaby Joyce is forced to resign over a ridiculous constitution technicality a by-election would make things difficult there.

Ardern has snapped back strongly, alleging that Bishop had made false accusations. So far Ardern has appeared to deal with things pretty well – much better than Bishop handled the pronunciation of Ardern’s name.

But there could be more problems for Ardern, for NZ Labour, and especially for Hipkins.

Journalists don’t believe his denial he knew what was behind the request from Australia ask questions here about Joyce’s citizenship.

Hipkins appears to want us to believe he asked questions on behalf of Australian Labour acquaintances without knowing it had anything to do with Joyce.

It is questionable enough that Hipkins tried to stir up dirt against a bare majority government. It is very difficult to believe he would do this without knowing what was behind it.

 

I don’t think this story is done yet.

RNZ:  Barnaby Joyce renounces NZ citizenship as spat builds

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he’s been told New Zealand has accepted his request to renounce his citizenship, as trans-Tasman tension over the situation builds.

Australian media inquiries led to the dual citizenship of Mr Joyce being revealed, but Labour MP Chris Hipkins had also asked similar questions to the Internal Affairs Minister, following discussions with a friend linked to the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Hipkins’ involvement has now led to a diplomatic spat between the Australian government and the New Zealand Labour Party.

In federal parliament in Canberra this afternoon, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused the Australian Labor Party and its New Zealand counterpart of collusion.

“No one’s ever doubted the loyalty of the Deputy Prime Minister to Australia, but what about the leader of the opposition, conspiring with the Labour Party of New Zealand to undermine the government of Australia?”

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she had reprimanded her MP, but Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said this afternoon it would be difficult to trust a Labour-led New Zealand government.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mrs Bishop said she was disappointed.

“New Zealand is facing an election, should there be a change of government I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia.”

She said Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten used a foreign political party to raise questions which were deliberately designed to undermine the Australian government.

Ms Ardern came out swinging in response, saying in a statement it was “highly regrettable” that Ms Bishop had “chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party”.

“I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon,” Ms Ardern said.

She said she had no knowledge that Mr Hipkins had lodged his question.

Ms Ardern said Mr Hipkins exercised a lack of judgement.

“We were asked a question about a point of law, but as I’ve said, regardless of the circumstances it was not appropriate for us to be involved in any circumstances.”

Ardern has clearly distanced herself from Hipkins and from what he did.

Mr Hipkins insisted his friend did not ask him to lodge the question, he had no idea it was related to Mr Joyce, and he was just interested in the topic.

“Had I known that was where things were going to land up, I wouldn’t have got involved in it.

I’m sure he wouldn’t have, but it’s too late to not do it.

“There has been absolutely no collusion between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party when it comes to the situation the Australian deputy Prime Minister has found himself in.”

But the question of collusion between a NZ Labour MP and someone involved in the Australian Labor Party is unlikely to be left at this.

Labour’s opponents are not letting it rest either.

Australian constitution could be an ass

The third Australian MP to fall foul of their constitution on citizenship is deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, although he is contesting it in court without resigning like the other two.

RNZ: NZ govt says Australia’s Joyce is NZ citizen

New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is considered a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Joyce is the latest politician to be caught in a dual citizenship controversy across the Tasman.

Several senators have resigned, or are facing scrutiny, over their citizenship status.

Under the Australian constitution, anyone with dual citizenship cannot stand for federal election.Mr Dunne said Mr Joyce’s father was a New Zealand citizen and he passed citizenship on to his son.

His father emigrated to New Zealand and became a citizen here, then moved to Australia and had a child (Barnaby) with an Australian woman. That automatically makes Barnaby a New Zealand citizen. There must be a lot of dual citizens in Australia.

“It’s automatically passed on, I don’t know whether he (Mr Joyce) knew or not,” Mr Dunne said.

“He says he didn’t know, he says he was under the belief his father had renounced the New Zealand citizenship.

“But the fact is it is all irrelevant – if he was eligible to receive the citizenship at the time, under our legislation he does, regardless of his subsequent circumstances,” Mr Dunne said.

Mr Joyce said this afternoon he was asking the High Court to rule on his citizenship status and whether he was eligible to be in Parliament, the ABC reported.

He said legal advice suggested he has not breached the constitution, but the court should consider the matter.

If Joyce is ruled ineligible to be an Australian elected representative then their constitution is an ass.

Section 44 of the Australian Constitution lists the grounds for disqualification on who may become a candidate for election to the Parliament of Australia.

44. Any person who –

(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or
(ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or
(iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or
(iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or
(v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

But sub-section iv. does not apply to the office of any of the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth, or of any of the Queen’s Ministers for a State, or to the receipt of pay, half pay, or a pension, by any person as an officer or member of the Queen’s navy or army, or to the receipt of pay as an officer or member of the naval or military forces of the Commonwealth by any person whose services are not wholly employed by the Commonwealth.

Almost every part of section 44 has proved difficult to interpret and apply. Its replacement or revision has been frequently considered, particularly by a Constitutional Commission in 1988 and by a parliamentary committee in 1997, but their proposals have not been pursued.

(i) Allegiance to a foreign power

Subsection 44(i) has generally been interpreted by the High Court of Australia as meaning that persons with dual citizenship are not permitted to stand for election and that a person must take “reasonable steps” to renounce their citizenship of the other country. Its interpretation has been difficult. There is the preliminary awkwardness that the Constitution itself does not require a member of the Parliament to be an Australian Citizen, although Constitution s 42 does require members to swear an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the monarch; however, Australian citizenship has been made a statutory condition of eligibility for election.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_44_of_the_Constitution_of_Australia

So this will go to court for a decision to see if Joyce can remain.

 

Greens and deputy Prime Minister

Green co-leader Metiria Turei talked about the possibility of having Green co-deputy Prime Ministers in a Labour-Green coalition on The Nation. It won’t be easy to negotiate two top ranks in a coalition cabinet. Much will depend on the parties relative numbers – and Winston Peters.

The Nation – Greens aim for co-deputy PM role.

The Greens could share the deputy Prime Minster role in a coalition with Labour, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman last month said he was keen on the role.

Ms Turei said she would like to be deputy Prime Minister along with Dr Norman.

“There’s no rules that stop there from being more than one deputy Prime Minister,” she told The Nation.

“Russel and I have had a co-leadership role in the Greens that’s worked very well for the Green Party. I think something similar would work very well for the country as well.”

They would divide the position the same way they do as co-leaders, she said.

“We each have our own expertise. We have our own roles that we play and we do that work.”

How much negotiating sway they had would depend on the size of their vote, Ms Turei said.

I don’t see a problem in general with having two deputy Prime Ministers. And having someone like Turei to stand up to some of the Labour cabinet might do them some good.

The biggest problem with the idea is balance of power. Greens having positions 2= and 2= in cabinet would be a very hard sell, especially if Winston Petersis in the mix, but even if it’s just Labour and Greens.

They might be able to get around this by the Greens being allocated two positions in Cabinet’s ranking, say 2 and 6, with Norman and Turei alternating eighteen months in each position.

Turei is right, it will depend a lot on the size of each party’s vote and their number of MPs in coalition.

If Greens and NZ First get a similar number of MPs it will be difficult for Greens to negotiate two near top ranks. If Labour continue to struggle and dropped their current proportion (27% at the last election) – and on current performance this is not out of the question – and Greens grow their vote then their negotiating strength will be greater.

Who would Greens want as deputy PM?

If Greens get to form the next government with Labour they would presumably be pushing for a high position for one of their co-leaders., especially going by the latest poll result that has them up 3.3 to 13% while Labour are down 5.9 to 29.5%.

These results aren’t promising for a left leaning coalition, and NZ First are in the danger zone at 3.6% (down 0.3), but if support rose in similar proportions to this result Labour would have a little more than double the number of MPs to the Greens. That would make a good case for scoring a deputy PM position.

Who would the Greens put forward as their top choice?

Yesterday Greens released their ‘initial party list’ for the upcoming election. While the list positions are subject to possible member initiated change…

“The list we are releasing today is by no means final. It is just a useful guide for members all over the country to use when making their own personal selection.”

The initial list is put together by delegates and candidates who attended the party’s February candidate conference. Delegates were able to put candidates through their paces and evaluate their performance. The initial list now goes to party members nation-wide to vote on. The Green Party uses STV voting.

the current pecking order is:

The list:

1 Turei, Metiria

2 Norman, Russel

Would Greens use the final list position to determine who was promoted for a top Government position? They could try to get co-deputy PM spots but that may be difficult to negotiate, it means Greens would hold two of the top three government positions.

The latest NZ Herald Digipoll ranks the Green leaders differently. Obviously it polls across the spectrum.

Preferred PM:

  • Russel Norman 5.2% (up 2.2)
  • Metiria Turei 0.7% (down 0.1%)

There’s a clear public preference for Norman over Turei.

Deputy PM will be acting PM at times when the Prime Minister is out of the country.

There is nothing in the Green Party constitution about how they would negotiate coalition government positions.

Constitution of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 4 June 2012.pdf