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National Caucus Votes To Suspend Williamson


Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

22 July 2003

National Caucus Votes To Suspend Williamson

The National Party caucus today voted to suspend Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson from its caucus pending a hearing by the Party Board into complaints against his membership.

The caucus disciplinary action followed Mr Williamson's actions before and during the National Party's annual conference 10 days ago.

"The caucus considered it was inappropriate and undesirable to have Mr Williamson in caucus while his membership was under consideration," says National Party Leader Bill English.

"I need team players all focusing on being an effective opposition. We cannot have an MP playing in a different team as I believed happened at the conference."

Mr Williamson's suspension is effective immediately. The Party's Board will determine at a meeting on Thursday the process for considering a complaint and then make a decision after a proper hearing. The Board is the body legally charged with making final determination on party membership.

"Maurice is a Party member, like any MP; he has to play by the rules and is subject to the same discipline as all of us," Mr English said.

The anger against Mr Williamson came from the party rank and file at the party conference. His actions affected the whole National Party and the caucus had taken account of that.

Both Mr English and Whangarei MP Phil Heatley, who are members of the Party Board, have indicated they will play no part in the board hearing as they consider it is now a Party issue, rather than a Parliamentary issue.

Mr English said it was time for the Party to concentrate on the concerns of the electorate over the direction in which the Government was heading.

"National needs to explain to the electorate its policy of One Standard of Citizenship for All, our belief that it is necessary to legislate to keep the beaches and seabed in the hands of all New Zealanders, we also plan to keep voicing our concerns about welfare dependency."

"The time for navel-gazing is over," he said. Ends


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