A pox upon your proxy


Politics in New Zealand, at present, is such fun for the political-tragics who follow the machinations in the Beehive.

First we had the those on the Treasury benches consigning minister after minister to the witless protection programme to prevent them being asked even more embarrassing questions.? Then finally Ardern had to ‘man up’ and fire a couple.? Maybe another one will be ‘immigrating’ to the back benches soon?? Who knows?

But fortunately for the CoL, the idiots on the other side of the house, instead of twisting the knife when they could, decided to mix up the metaphor and shoot themselves in the foot.

And so began the JLR saga.

Resigning and calling a by-election. No, not resigning.? Then thrown out of the party but that presented a problem. National had campaigned vigorously that the “waka jumping” bill was the very worst legislation that had ever been drafted.? Now they, maybe, will be the first ones to use it?

Oh the irony.

So JLR wrote to National and offered them his proxy vote so that the “proportionality of Parliament” would be maintained.? In fact, he specifically mentioned this in the wording of his letter.

National flung it back in his face?saying the party would not take up Ross’s offer because he had resigned from National, and the caucus had expelled him and would thus not use his proxy vote.

The party whip encouraged Ross to confirm with the Speaker that he was no longer a member of the National Party caucus nor the New Zealand National Party and if?Ross had done as the whip suggested, he would trigger the waka-jumping law and his seat would be vacated.

However, Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis says giving his vote to National, even if they had accepted it, is not enough to maintain the proportionality of Parliament and save Mr Ross from being ‘waka-jumped’.

Geddis said that the Supreme Court had already set a precedent that proportionality would be distorted if an MP ceased to be a member of the party for which they were elected.

“All five judges agreed on this central point: ‘distorting proportionality’ in the legislation isn’t necessarily about how an MP votes in the House; rather the wider changes caused by an MP going from party member to independent suffice,” Geddis said.? These “wider changes” include issues such as the National Party losing privileges associated with that MP – like funding, representation on select committees and a speaking slot in the general debate.

This is all untested waters at present as the ink is hardly dry on the waka-jumping legislation.

And what about when the Greens gave?most of their allotted quota in Parliament’s Question Time to the National Party?? Did that not upset some of the “wider” issues that Geddis mentioned?

Since National has said a pox upon your proxy, what would happen if JLR gave his proxy to ACT?? Seymour is going to vote with National on all matters and if he holds Ross’ proxy vote then the proportionality is maintained, even if Ross is on extended sick leave.? I never understood why Ross did not give the proxy vote to ACT anyway.

Golly, JLR could even give his proxy to Winston.? Winston would absolutely love the opportunity to flip the bird at National once again.? All Winston would have to do is cast JLR’s proxy the same way as National voted, not the same as NZ First and the votes and proportionality remain the same.

Wouldn’t that be hilarious?