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August 6, 2018 | by  | in Politics | [ssba]

The Party Line

The Waka-jumping bill will mean that list MPs will be expelled from Parliament if they quit or were expelled from their party. What effect will the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill have on our democracy? Do you believe the bill should be passed into law?


The ”Waka-jumping” bill is one of the greatest insults to our democracy. It was thought of by Winston Peters with the sole intention of protecting himself against his party. It strips MPs of their right to vote in their electorates interest, or in the case of list MPs, the entire country. By passing this, New Zealand is joining the likes of Zimbabwe and Pakistan, creating totalitarian parties and governments. The greatest irony however is the Green Party swallowing a “dead rat” and giving up all of their integrity in the process, resulting in their founding members and MPs being ashamed of their old party. Not only that but New Zealand First would not exist today if Winston wasn’t able to leave National in the first place. It cannot be doubted that the passing of this bill will turn the House of Representatives to a “House of Party Poodles”.

– Graeme Woods

Greens At Vic 

We believe that the bill is a threat to democracy and terrible legislation. MPs deserve the right to express views against their caucus’ without the risk of their party kicking them out of Parliament. It’s been over a decade since there were last party jumping restrictions, and in that time there’s been nothing to justify their return. There have been just three defections in the last 18 years. The purpose of the bill is to ensure the “proportionality” of parliament’s parties are retained, but as Jeanette Fitzsimons argued, that is elevating the party above the ideas it stood for. The German constitution rightly says MPs are “representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders and instructions, and subject only to their conscience”.

We saw Jim Anderton leave Labour in the 1980s when they abandoned their election platform and instead introduced sweeping reforms in the opposite direction, impossible had a law like this existed. Leaving these decisions up to voters at the next election, not the political party machines, is a much fairer way of holding defectors to account.
It’s a shame that the Greens have been roped into supporting this bill to stop Winnie from prematurely bringing down the Government. Greens at Vic hope and expect that this terrible bill will be repealed first thing next term, once Winnie’s out of the way.
– Lachlan Patterson and Zachary Rose


No, the VicLabour Branch itself does not agree with the premise of the Waka-jumping Bill. However, the process of this bill holds together a coalition that will make wide-ranging reforms to our crippled criminal justice system, action on poverty, and the rights and well-being of workers, as well as the crucial and historic step to ingrain a path towards a sustainable planet. This Waka-jumping bill was part of the platform of a party in Government, in return for gains for their own party and the Greens, they must see gains as well. It may mean each MP will have to toe the line of the expectations of their respective parties, but the policies that become law will still be the ultimate result of a voting public.

Act on Campus 

The electoral (integrity) bill is a nasty piece of legislation that Winston drafted because he was scared that his MPs would jump ship. It is detrimental to our democracy and it restricts MPs freedom as they can no longer leave a party if the leaders/parties values change and it restricts their voice due to the threat of being expelled from Parliament. At the heart of our democracy is the freedom for members of parliament to represent us honestly and this threatens that. Act staunchly opposes this bill. It’s a shame that it will pass through due to the Green party going against their own principles of freedom and fairness. Grow a backbone Greens!

– James Allan


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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