Pair differ on sacked MP's fate

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 17:12 06/12/2012

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Top of the south list MPs Steffan Browning and Maryan Street differ on whether expelled NZ First MP Brendan Horan should quit Parliament.

Labour list MP Maryan Street said yesterday that her strong personal view was that any list MP who left the party they were in when elected to Parliament should also resign from Parliament.

She said getting elected to Parliament as a list MP was as legitimate as being elected as an electorate MP, but it carried different consequences for MPs.

If list MPs left the party that brought them into Parliament, Ms Street said they should resign from Parliament as well, or have no moral standing.

"Brendan Horan was not elected in the same way as constituency are MPs elected. The process of his selection is as legitimate, but it carries different consequences, in my view.

"It's not a lesser way. It needs to be treated with respect in the same way . . . It leads me to take it very seriously. If I was to leave the Labour Party . . . in my view, I would have to leave Parliament, or have no moral standing."

Ms Street said this was a personal view. There might be other opinions on this in the Labour Party, but that was her "very strong" view.

Mr Browning was more cautious, unwilling to leave MPs at the mercy of their party leaders' whims.

"It's a matter of whether the person leaves the party or the party leaves them. He has had his position revoked within the party. We have to be very careful of interpretation of the law around that, because it could be the political whim of the leader that may not be justified."

Mr Browning said Green MPs, as part of their selection process, could not "party-hop" so, if they left the party, they would leave Parliament.

List MPs often had a mandate of their own, he said, in that their party rankings reflected their experience and work. For him, his ranking reflected his work in food safety, aquaculture, and genetic modification.

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- The Marlborough Express

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