Parliament has voted to uphold the Privileges Committee's judgement of Matt Robson and demand his apology to both Peter Dunne and the House, with not a word raised against. By doing so, they have proven conclusively that they are self-serving sacks of shit, unwilling to live under the same laws as the rest of us, and willing to restort to arbitrary tyranny to suppress their critics. I would expect such behaviour from the government of Singapore, or the dictatorship of Fiji, not from the Parliament of New Zealand.
The absurd claim that elected representatives should have special protection of their self-proclaimed "dignity" strikes at the heart of our democracy, and our egalitarian society. Their ability to use their own Star Chamber to enforce it and punish "infractions" against themselves strikes at the heart of the rule of law. It is one thing for Parliament to be master of its own house. It is quite another for them to claim the right to drag one of us in there for imagined infractions which do not meet the test for being an offence in law.
If an MP feels public criticism is unfair, they have a clear course of action available: they can respond, front up to the voters, and explain why a perfect record of supporting the tobacco industry has nothing to do with the unfailing financial support gven to them. They can meet speech with speech, rather than seeking to suppress it. Or, if they feel criticism is false and damages their reputation, they can sue for defamation. The ability to suppress critical speech undermines MPs accountability to voters, and the freedom of speech on which our system of government rests.
We have just had a clear demonstration that an absolute Parliament is as dangerous as an absolute monarch. Over the last four hundred years, we emasculated our monarchy, limited its power, and finally locked it away in its little doll's house where it couldn't bother us. It is time we did the same to Parliament. We have a Bill of Rights Act affirming fundamental freedoms; it is time we made our MPs subject to it.