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Greens won't help Winston keep his MPs in line

9 November 2005

Greens won't help Winston keep his MPs in line

Winston Peters is wrong when he says all eight parties in Parliament will support the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill - the Green Party continue to oppose it, Constitutional Issues Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"Winston is 'losing his baubles' already," Mrs Turei says.

"He should have the intelligence and common courtesy to have come and asked us whether we would support this bill or not before making such a statement.

"I can tell him now that we are not voting for it, so his statement in the media this morning that all eight parties are supporting it is just plain wrong.

"He may want to corral his MPs for fear of that they may have an independent thought, but the Green MPs value each others' right to disagree and feel no need to be kept in line by the party leadership.

"The Greens have long argued that the voters, and only the voters, should decide whether an MP has left their party for the right or the wrong reasons. Political parties must not be allowed to take away from voters the power to unelect members of Parliament.

Speaking at the original introduction of the 'waka-jumping bill' in 1999, Rod Donald said: "It is vital that MPs are not turned into party robots. Anti-defection legislation is designed to gag outspoken MPs and crush dissent, which is why in Germany, the home of MMP and the country that suffered Hitler's reign of terror, they do not have anti-defection legislation. In fact, they have enshrined in their basic law - article 38 - that MPs are 'representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders and instructions, and subject only to their conscience'."

Mrs Turei says her late Co-Leader's point still stands.

"Winston wants the state to give legal power to his authority over his MPs. The Greens are not going to help him."

ENDS

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