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Re: Harry Duynhoven - part II

Re: Harry Duynhoven - part II

The proposed Bill to appoint Harry Duynhoven to Parliament is unique in our Constitutional history. Never before has the executive sought to usurp the proper role of the people and appoint a Member of Parliament. In any other parliamentary democracy an MP who loses his or her seat would either step aside gracefully, or stand for the seat again in a bye-election. It is quite unjustified and indeed unprecedented for the Government to use its majority to appoint an MP.

It is a matter of regret that the Government and the Speaker have ignored the opinion of the Government's own legal adviser, the Solicitor General, as well as the clear meaning of section 55 of the Electoral Act. Common sense and the rule of law requires that the Government permit a bye-election to occur. Any other decision is unprincipled political expediency and a constitutional and legal outrage.

The Government's cavalier treatment of our Constitution is discreditable. The only course of action that a responsible Government could take would be to accept that Harry Duynhoven lost his seat two months ago, and allow a bye-election to occur. After due reflection the Electoral Act might later be amended, however there would then be no reason for this to occur. Legislation should not be amended in the misguided pursuit of short-term political gain.

John Cox - Auckland

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