A “good behaviour” clause in the New Zealand First constitution could see MPs personally liable for up to $300,000 if they go against party instructions.
The clause indicates that MPs would be fined $300,000 if they're expelled or resign from the caucus but remain in Parliament. Both electorate and list MPs would have three days to vacate their seat or pay the fine.
The contracts were revealed after National's Electoral Law spokesperson Nick Smith was contacted by someone inside the party who claimed all NZ First MPs had signed them except Mr Peters.
“It really cuts against all the values we would have about how our parliamentary democracy should work,” Mr Smith told RadioLIVE.
If you were in Australia, this would be unconstitutional.
“Effectively, every one of those New Zealand First MPs who have signed those contracts making them personally liable for $300,000 has given Winston a gun to hold against their head.”
Mr Smith says that New Zealanders should be concerned with the clause because NZ First “is essentially running the place” while being held to a clause that would be more appropriate “in authoritarian states”.
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“If you were in Europe, if you were in North America, if you were in Australia, this would be unconstitutional."
However, the NZ First clause could be moot if the ‘waka jumping’ bill gets passed.
The legislation, which is expected to pass with Labour’s support, would allow a party majority to expel MPs who have serious and public disagreements with the wider party.
Listen to the full interviews with Nick Smith and Andrew Geddes above.
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