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Nick Smith defers decision and seeks clear ruling

Nick Smith defers decision and seeks clear ruling

Nelson MP Nick Smith has deferred his decision on how to respond to the contempt of court conviction brought down by the High Court in Wellington last Wednesday.

"This decision is too important to rush. While I did say last week that I would make a decision today, I was expecting sentencing to be some weeks away. I have now been advised I will be sentenced on Friday. It seems wise to wait these few days before making a decision.

"I also need clarity about my legal status in Parliament. The Speaker's statement last Thursday was anything but certain. I cannot properly perform my job as the MP for Nelson if any member at any time can lodge a complaint that may result in my forced resignation.

"The Chair of the Privileges Committee, Matt Robson, has indicated he wants this matter dealt with there. This is not satisfactory. The committee is saturated in party politics and their primary legal adviser is the Solicitor-General who has prosecuted me.

"Today I have written to the Speaker seeking a clear ruling on whether there is any uncertainty about Section 129 (1) being triggered by my conviction for contempt of court. I have sent the Speaker the High Court judgment and sought a ruling as quickly as possible.

"I do not want to prolong this uncertainty. I will decide by Monday April 5 whether to appeal, whether to take this judgement on the chin, or whether to resign and seek a fresh mandate in a by-election," says Dr Smith.

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