Thursday, February 22, 2018


It is no great secret that my fathers family was tribal Labour.   Indeed, for many years my Aunt's residence in Donnington Street was the unofficial headquarters of the Palmerston North LRC complete with the obligatory pictures of MJS and Peter Frazer on the wall in the living room.    Some of my cousins keep the faith, others have had the scales removed from their eyes. 

And so it was that last weekend I met up with one of those (Labour) cousins to catch up over a few wines (not chardonnay).   She is a lawyer with an interest in constitutional law.   I asked her what she knew of of Peters' Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill and the ability of a Party caucus to expel an MP from Parliament.   She said not much ... but that it was good that a List MP who fell out with his/her Party should lose their seat because they were there solely because of their List ranking.

But I said to her that s55A(1) makes it clear the legislation applies to all MPs (except those elected as Independents).   That includes electorate (constituency) MPs.   She said that can't be right ... an electorate MP answers to his/her electorate ... they vote them in; they vote them out.     I suggested to her she had  better believe it because that's what the Bill is all about.

I then asked her what she made of a Bill where Parties comprising three or more MPs could expel members at will while two member Parties could not.   She said it was stupid.

We departed on good terms.   My cousin will invoke the 70/30 rule and suck it up but she is not a happy chappie  and neither she should be.

And all because the venal Winston Peters doesn't/can't trust his own caucus.


Anonymous said...

Remind me not hire your Cuzzy when I'm in dire straits. If she can't read a simple two line sentence and not understand it then I'm afraid it's back to school.

Quite simply as a floating voter and I vote for party's manifesto because I think it's what the country needs and my man, in fit of pique, pisses off to another party I would feel aggrieved, particularly as he would be getting paid up until the next election.

No, chuck him out and let him face his constitutions in a by election. That is the democratic way. Take the time to read the bill and point out clauses that you consider anti democratic....

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... that's not the scenario. Nothing to do with pissing orf to another Party. If a Party caucus (read leader in the case of NZF) decides they don't want the member for what ever reason then he/she is out. For a List member there is no by-election.

But it doesn't apply to a two member caucus because it can't. So under the Bill you support you end up with two classes of MPs ... those in three person caucuses or bigger that can be expelled and those in two member caucus that can't.

You might argue that is democratic, I don't and I suspect that in your heart of hearts you don't either.

Anonymous said...

Veteran...a list member is proposed at the discretion of the party so I don't see any reason why they can't be de-proposed at the party's whim. In the case of an elected MP it would be political suicide to force a bye election which would be lost in these circumstances. Swings and roundabouts, it applies to all parties....level playing field

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... crap it does. A Party with a two member caucus is exempt because you can't get a two-thirds vote in a two member caucus. The idea that a Party can expel a sitting member from Parliament who has committed no crime, is not gah gah, is repugnant and I'm really suprised you continue to dig a hole in supporting this piece of legislation which is nothing more than a mechanism to allow WRP to control his caucus because he can't/doesn't trust them.

The mechanism is already there to deal with errant MP's. They can be dropped down the List (as usually happens in NZF with anyone who has the balls to stand up to Peters) or, in the case of an electorate MP, they can be deselected.

This piece of noxious and nonsense legislation might rightly be restyled the Electoral Act (Gagging of MPs from Rocking the Boat) Amendment Bill.