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The Law's the Law

Thursday 24 Jul 2003 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Immediate Release: Thursday 24 July 2003

The Law's the Law

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today that the provision in the Electoral Act declaring an MP may not give allegiance to a foreign power was an important provision.

"Every parliament has such a law. In New Zealand it has been law since the first MP was elected and has been reaffirmed many times - the latest being just ten years ago in 1993. Indeed Mr Duynhoven, in 1993, voted for this provision.

"The Australian parliament has an even tougher provision and I understand MPs in Australia have been removed from parliament because of it.

"Without this provision there would have been nothing to prevent a New Zealand MP from having taken out Iraqi citizenship and been an agent of Saddam Hussein.

"The parliament of New Zealand requires every MP to take an oath of allegiance and I will need a great deal of persuading that it is in the public interest to allow any MP to make a declaration of allegiance to any foreign state.

"As a member of the privileges committee I am keeping an open mind on whether Mr Duynhoven has broken the electoral act. I will need a very strong reason why the law should not apply to Mr Duynhoven just as it applied to the United Future list MP who was elected to parliament only to be disqualified on citizenship grounds," said Mr Prebble.

ENDS

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