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You're A Party Hopper Jim!

6 May 2002

You're a party hopper Jim! "Comparisons being made between the ex-Alliance members currently in Parliament and other MPs who have left their parties in the past are deceptive and misleading," says National's Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.

Mr Brownlee comments follow Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton's continued defence of himself and his fellow former Alliance MPs flagrant flouting of their own party hopping legislation. "The intent of the Electoral Integrity Act was clear - MPs who leave their party have to leave Parliament.

"However, now Jim Anderton - the man who prior to the last election rallied up and down the country against party hopping - and his supporters are using every trick in the book to avoid triggering the Electoral Integrity Act, just so they can stay in Parliament and keep their perks and salaries."

Mr Brownlee says it is particularly galling to see obvious party hoppers like Jim Anderton, Sandra Lee, Matt Robson and John Wright keep their jobs in Helen Clark's Executive.

In the past, other MPs - like United's Peter Dunne and Mauri Pacific's Tau Henare - also left their parties and remained in the Executive, but Mr Brownlee says their circumstances were different to the current charade.

"For starters, at that time, those changes were legal and recognised by Parliament. Also, those MPs were required to enter amended agreements with the then governing National Party.

"Jim Anderton and his cohorts continue to ignore the fact that they have party hopped and they are deliberately circumventing their own Electoral Integrity Act to do this.

"The Progressive Coalition is not recognised by Parliament and should have no part of the Government.

"If any of these former Alliance MPs speak for or on behalf of the Progressive Coalition, they will be in breach of the Cabinet Manual and must be thrown out of the Executive," Mr Brownlee concluded

Ends

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