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Henare Regrets Not Being Able To Vote Against Party

National MP Tau Henare expressed regret tonight that he could not cross the floor and vote in favour of a bill allowing for oaths to be sworn to honour the Treaty of Waitangi.

The first reading debate on the Oaths and Declarations (Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill in the name of Te Ururoa Flavell.

Flavell expressed deep disappointment that National would not support the bill saying National had promised to recognise the treaty in its agreement with the Maori Party.

Flavell said the bill only gave an option to swear an oath on the Treaty of Waitangi.

``What is the problem?’’ he asked.

National MP Tau Henare said he was torn about support for the bill. He respected the views expressed, but not could vote for it as the National whip was being run.

Parliament had an opportunity to show that New Zealand was unique and people could swear an oath on the treaty.

He said it was with a ``heavy heart’’ that he would be voting against it. ``I would like to cross the floor’’, but that sort of behaviour would create unstable government, Henare said.

Louise Upston said National would be voting against the bill because the Maori Party was putting the cart before the horse and issues of national identity should best be dealt with as part of the ``broader conversation’’ being held as part of the constitutional review.

The bill as drafted also created inconsistencies, she said.

The bill was defeated by 69 to 52 with National, New Zealand First, ACT and United Future opposed.

MPs began the first reading debate of the Local Government (Public Libraries) Amendment Bill.


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