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Re-writing the rules a dangerous precedent

14 June 2006
Re-writing the rules a dangerous precedent

The Green Party will again be blocking National's 'get out of jail free' Bill when the party attempts to table it for a second time today.

"I am amazed that the National Party is continuing to try to subvert the process of Parliament and use the party's position to influence laws to get it out of an embarrassing situation," Green Musterer Metiria Turei says.

"Surely the words of former colleagues Roger McClay and Rob Munro must still be ringing in the ears of some National Party MPs on their stance on the Reg Boorman case in 1989 - when they vehemently opposed a change in legislation not dissimilar to their own Bill."

When Mr Boorman, a Labour MP, admitted overspending on his campaign, he was convicted in the High Court and his name placed on the Corrupt Practices List.

The then Labour Government introduced the Electoral Expenses Bill, which would validate the overspending and remove his name from the list.

Mr McClay (National Member for Waikaremoana) in the House on July 26, 1989 said: "He was found to be guilty. We are all sorry for him, but it does not mean that Parliament should now change the law to suit its mate ...We cannot change the law and allow people to get off".

A month later Mr Munro (National Member for Invercargill) said: "The Bill will validate all of the expenses - not just Goods and Services Tax - well beyond the $5500 limit. That is constitutionally wrong in principle, and something that Parliament should have no part of. I admit I feel some sympathy for the person concerned, but it is not a question of sympathy on which the House should be voting. We are speaking about the law of New Zealand, which should be upheld."

Mrs Turei says: "Now, that very same party want to use their special privilege as legislators to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions. The National Party is no different from any other business or organisation in New Zealand and should be subject to the same principles of law as everyone else," Mrs Turei says.


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