Wellington, Sep 27 (IANS) The New Zealand Parliament on Thursday approved a law to eject lawmakers who quit or are expelled from their party in a move to prevent members of the House from switching parties mid-term, a practice known locally as “waka-jumping”.
The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill was approved with a 63-57 vote in favour, despite a heated debate and fierce opposition from the National Party and ATC New Zealand, Efe news reported.
“The Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill is about enhancing public confidence in the integrity of our electoral system. The Bill ensures that it is the voters, not politicians or party leaders, who decide the proportionality of parties in Parliament,” Justice Minister Andrew Little said in a press release.
The bill was agreed upon between the Labour Party and New Zealand First during the negotiations to form the government last year.
The Green Party is the third partner in the ruling alliance led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Five parties are represented in New Zealand’s unicameral legislature, with the National Party being the biggest with 56 seats, followed by Labour (46), New Zealand First (9), the Greens (8) and ACT (1).