Monday, February 23, 2015

Parliament must vote on Iraq

Cabinet today is expected to approve the deployment of kiwi troops to Iraq. But Parliament will not be allowed to vote on it:

Prime Minister John Key this morning confirmed there wouldn't be a vote in Parliament on sending troops but there would be a parliamentary debate.

The Government would almost certainly lose a vote. Labour, NZ First, the Greens, United Future and the Maori Party are lined up against sending troops to Iraq leaving only the one additional vote in support from the Act Party, which would not be enough because of the seat left vacant by the resignation of Northland MP Mike Sabin.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the lack of a vote was reflective of the level of support going to Iraq would receive.

Sending soldiers overseas to die is one of the most important decisions a government can make. That decision needs demonstrable democratic legitimacy - and the only way of doing that is by winning a vote in Parliament. If they can't win such a vote, the troops shouldn't go - it's that simple (and if this government is concerned, they should make it a matter of confidence, and stand or fall on the result).

Meanwhile, ponder this: under our constitutional system, spending money requires the government to demonstrate that it has the confidence of the House (and the government falls if it can not). Sending soldiers overseas to die does not. That seems... odd.