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Abolish Leader Of Opposition, Say Greens

Abolish Leader Of Opposition, Say Greens
Mon, 19 Aug 2002

The decline of National into third-party status highlights the need to abolish the position of Leader of the Opposition, Green Party Electoral Reform spokesman Rod Donald said today.

"The title is a misnomer, an archaic throw-back to the days of first-past-the-post," said Rod Donald. "However, the position retains privileges, perks and power totally inappropriate to an MMP environment.

"Under current rules it is quite possible for the largest 'opposition' party to be supporting the Government on confidence and supply, making a mockery of the title and position. It is an anachronism and should be abolished."

Amongst other things, the Leader of the Opposition appoints representatives to the commissions dealing with electoral boundaries and broadcasting funding; controls two seats on the Intelligence and Security committee; must be regularly consulted by the director of the SIS and has a seat on the Lotteries Grants Board

"Helen Clark has to win the confidence of Parliament to be Prime Minister but Bill English is gifted the title of 'Leader of the Opposition' solely on the basis of National being the biggest third party not in government," said Rod Donald.

"There is no way that Bill English could form an alternative government, yet he is the titular 'leader' of parties as diverse as the Greens, United Future, ACT and New Zealand First," Rod Donald said.

"Bill English is having trouble representing everyone in his own caucus: how on earth can he claim to represent every other opposition party as well?"


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