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Wednesday 7 Apr 2004

Richard Prebble - Press Releases - Governance & Constitution

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today that he had the solution for the government's inability to legislate on the foreshore. "The constitutional convention is very clear. If the Prime Minister does not command a majority in parliament on a significant part of the government's programme then the Prime Minister should request the Governor General for an election.

"An election is the Westminster solution to parliamentary deadlocks. We have had a two party system with strict parliamentary discipline for nearly 100 years so that people have forgotten that parliamentary deadlocks used to occur at times. Nobody thought that it was in any way extraordinary that a Prime Minister faced with a deadlock on an important issue should decide to go to the people for an answer.

"What is actually unusual is that Helen Clark thinks she has any mandate at all to be putting together, by secret backdoor negotiations, legislation affecting the total coastline of the country. While it is in no way Helen Clark's fault, the fact remains the electorate has not been able to give clear instruction to the politicians. Helen Clark, Winston Peters, Peter Dunne and now the Greens, need to remember that parliament is called the House of Representatives. None of these politicians have any electoral mandate for the secret deals they are negotiating.

"It is obvious the government doesn't have a majority and it should seek a fresh mandate from the electorate."


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