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Prebble to Appeal Huata Decision

Prebble to Appeal Huata Decision

"For the integrity of parliament it is important that the Court of Appeal decision stopping ACT from expelling Donna Awatere Huata from parliament be appealed to the new Supreme Court," said ACT's Richard Prebble today.

"The Speaker Jonathan Hunt's ruling, that despite the Court of Appeal's decision that the ACT party in parliament has only eight MPs and not the nine elected on Election Day, means we have to appeal.

"The lawyers have advised that the case is still in the name of Ken Shirley and myself," he said.

"I am delighted that the board of ACT, and today the caucus, have unanimously voted to support an appeal. I accept this is a distraction from ACT's task of defeating the Labour government, but this is an important constitutional issue.

"I have undertaken to take responsibility to raise the money to cover the costs of the case. It will be expensive; the filing fee alone is six thousand dollars. The party and the caucus feel an obligation to the 160,000 people who voted for ACT last election. Mrs Huata was elected on the ACT list vote and she has no right to sit in parliament as an independent, voting against ACT on issues like Maori TV.

"We also realise that our chances are less that 50%. The judges at the moment are having a fight with the government and we are caught in the middle. But we are convinced we are right - not just morally - but in law. The Electoral Integrity Act was designed to prevent list MPs deciding to ignore their party and the voters.

"One of our oldest laws, the Bill of Rights, says this is a matter for parliament not the courts," said Mr Prebble.

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