Friday, July 16, 2004

Gutting the Electoral Integrity Act

Donna Awatere Huata has won her case to prevent ACT from using the Electoral Integrity Act to throw her out of Parliament - and been awarded costs to boot. The Court of Appeal ruled that Awatere Huata's conduct had not adversely affected proportionality, and that something more than simply being expelled from a party was necessary. In effect, they've removed much of the danger in the EIA - parties can't simply get rid of an MP because they're politically embarassing (which is what ACT was trying to do).

(Full judgement here)

ACT now gets to sleep in the bed it made for itself. Having expelled Awatere Huata, they can't really complain that they no longer receive funding for her - that's a problem of their own making, not hers. They'll just have to wait for the fraud charges currently proceeding through the courts to be heard, and hope for a guilty verdict. Though I suppose they could appeal to the Supreme Court - using institutions whose creation they voted against seems to be the ACT's hallmark of this case.

The Electoral Integrity Act was a bad law which gave far too much power to parties, and I'm glad to see it gutted in this fashion.