Thursday, October 28, 2004

Democratic transparency VII

Someone has just pointed out to me some interesting exchanges on the matter of secret split voting in last wednesday's Hansard. First, in the debate on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill, the National Party digs its heels in and clings to the secrecy gained two weeks before; their greatest concession to transparency is to say "give us a ring and we’ll tell you". Having been able to hide behind the Standing Orders, they and United Future then proceeded to split their votes in the subsequent debate.

A few hours later, the Animal Welfare (Restriction On Docking Of Dog's Tails) Bill comes up, and the debate is revisited. This time, though, NZFirst is in a position to deny leave for a secret-split vote, and is therefore able to ensure that names are recorded when a party splits its vote.

Hopefully, the latter is how it is going to be until the Standing Orders are amended: leave for any split vote should be denied unless names are recorded.