INDEPENDENT NEWS

Party Hopping Bill Won’t Work - Ryall

Published: Thu 23 Dec 1999 09:10 AM
Wilson’s Bill Full Of Loop-holes.
The Government’s party hopping bill is so full of loop-holes that no defecting MP will ever have to leave Parliament, says National’s Justice Spokesman Tony Ryall.
“All a party hopping MP has to do to avoid being kicked out of Parliament is just not write and tell the Speaker!
“A party hopping MP can for all intents and purposes leave their party, vote against their party in the House and in committees, and never attend Caucus, and still not be caught by Labour’s legislation” said Mr Ryall. “The whole thing is full of loop-holes. This isn’t what Helen Clark promised the people of New Zealand”.
According to the Bill the seat of a Member of Parliament (constituency or list) becomes vacant if the Member ceases to be a member of the political party for which he or she was elected. For the purposes of the Bill, a person ceases to be a member of the political party only if that member gives written notice- and only written notice - to the Speaker, or the Governor-General if the Speaker is absent overseas or there is no Speaker (Clause 5) .
“So a defecting MP can tell everyone that they are no longer a member of the Labour Party, but can’t be touched by this bill providing they never write and tell the Speaker. Under Mrs Wilson’s Bill a defecting MP can tell the speaker verbally and still not be kicked out of Parliament!
“This isn’t what New Zealanders thought was being promised. It’s so full of loop-holes Alamein could drive a bus through it” said Mr Ryall.
ENDS

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