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Who are List MPs accountable to? The Committee that put them in Parliament.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 26, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Who are List MPs accountable to? The Committee that put them in Parliament.
Sunday, 25.03.2007, 11:58am (GMT12)

NZ First rows over ‘anti-smacking’ bill

By IRENE CHAPPLE – Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 25 March 2007


Two NZ First MPs say a party boss is threatening to demote them because of their support for the controversial so-called “anti-smacking” bill.

Brian Donnelly and Doug Woolerton plan to use their conscience vote in favour of Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill which repeals s59 of the Crimes Act allowing a defence of reasonable force for hitting children. But NZ First president Dail Jones told the Sunday Star-Times he was unhappy with party MPs supporting Bradford and considered it damaging to the party. “I won’t change their minds,” he said, “but all I can say is members of parliament have to apply to the board to get back on the list”.

When asked if it would jeopardise the MPs’ positions Jones said: “No doubt it will be taken into account”.

Donnelly,said Jones should be “looking at his own presidency if he is threatening (MPs) on conscience votes with where they stand on the list… that is very dangerous territory”.

And Woolerton said Jones was “bloody looney” if he thought he could dictate the MPs’ decisions. “No one gets between me and my conscience”.

Woolerton and Donnelly both told the Star-Times they felt Jones had implicitly threatened them with demotion for their stance.

Jones said feedback was overwhelmingly against the bill. It raised the question “to whom is a list MP responsible? The committee that put them there”.

He said the issue would be a millstone at next year’s election. Police could be prosecuting parents and “people will say your (MPs) allowed this to happen… this one will still be lingering”.

The bill has split the country, with opponents planning marches through New Zealand this week while supporters including Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF and the Children’s Commissioner created a flyer congratulating politicians voting for it.

Labour wants the bill put through under urgency on Wednesday after it was delayed two weeks ago by opposition filibustering. But United Future ruled out the idea and Labour would need Greens, Maori Party and at least one more MP support to ensure a majority. The bill appears almost certain to become law with the Maori Party, United Future leader Peter Dunne, Donnelly and Woolerton all pledging support to Bradford.

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