Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Entrenchment II

Following on from my post on entrenching the Maori seats and the Electoral option, I’ve got a copy of the Maori Party bill that aims to amend s45 of the Electoral Act. This will entrench the seats, but not the Electoral option, which is covered under sections 76 , 77, 78 , and 79.

So if the seats are entrenched but not the option, what happens if the option (the above four sections) is voted down by a simple Parliamentary majority. We have seats – but anyone will be able to transfer in and out whenever they want, which has implication for the electoral quota. Section 79 specifically prevents transfers in and out without exercising the option - and the option is restricted to Maori.But if we entrench the Maori seats perhaps we should offer some protection to some of the option provisions as well?

The Maori Party may have a policy to commit the government to entrenching the seats – and even if a major governing party was to commit to supporting a bill through all stages, it still won’t get the numbers. That’s because, under standing orders, the bill requires a 75% parliamentary majority to pass. One more reason for any major Party to agree to entrenchment as part of post –election negotiations – both Helen Clark and John Key know full well entrenchment of Maori seats will never happen without support of both major parties. Conceivably a referendum and a majority of votes in the House could remove them. So no dead rat to swallow at all.

But for Helen Clark to suggest that the option could be entrenched to preserve the seats is treating us all for fools. Don’t believe the hype, its not even a sequel.

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