Public support end to 'waka jumping'

Prime Minister John Key has admitted he would like the power to kick rogue MPs like Aaron Gilmore out of Parliament, and the latest 3 News/Reid Research Poll shows a clear majority of public want a law stopping "waka jumpers".

Mr Gilmore caused all sorts of problems for the Prime Minister for two weeks. That's because, despite Mr Key being the boss, he had no power to fire his 49th-ranked list MP.

Mr Gilmore had all the power to stay on as an independent MP, and Mr Key says that's wrong.

The concept of waka jumping is part of MMP. Think Brendan Horan, or back to Alamein Kopu. But a new poll has shown the public doesn't like it.

Asked if there should be a rule change so rogue list MPs can be thrown out of Parliament:

  • 77 percent said yes;
  • 17 percent said no;
  • The rest said they didn't know.

"I think there is potentially the need for legislation to support that view," says Mr Key.

And National's rank-and-file are calling for a law change too, clearly worried Mr Gilmore was going to do a Horan, and stick around on $144,000 a year.

"The party's not spooked by what they've seen, but they've always been conscious," says Mr Key.

And the Opposition agrees the likes of Mr Gilmore and Mr Horan should not be able to stay.

"It wouldn't have helped good government, and actually overall it brings the Parliament into disrepute as well," say Labour leader David Shearer.

"People are voting for the party, not for someone who thinks they can behave any way they like," says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

But the Greens don't agree.

"Party leaders like me would basically get to say to individual MPs, 'If you don't do what I like then I'll expel you from caucus and you'll be kicked out of Parliament,'" says Greens co-leader Russel Norman. 

So there's the Prime Minister's personal opinion, public opinion and a clear majority in Parliament.

But when asked why the Government hasn't done anything about the issue considering the problems it has caused, Mr Key says his party hasn't had time as they have "a very full agenda of economic issues, education, health and justice".

So, Mr Key's government is "too busy" to do the public justice on waka jumping. There are 51 list MPs and all are free to go rogue if they like.

The only chance of stopping them is a New Zealand First private member's bill, but that has to be drawn, which means stopping waka jumping is down to luck.

3 News

source: newshub archive