Friday, October 08, 2004

Democratic transparency

Oh my god - I actually agree with New Zealand First on something! Politicians are trying to hide which way they are voting on controversial legislation:

"It is becoming more common for political parties in Parliament to cast split votes when voting on bills or parts of bills. Under that system a party whip simply announces the number of votes their party cast for the legislation and the number cast against it.

Mr Brown said that in the recent committee stage debate on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill several parties were splitting their votes on different clauses but refused, when requested, to provide names of members who voted which way.


Mr Brown’s request to the House on Wednesday that party whips be required to state who voted for bills and who voted against them when split party votes are cast was blocked.

I agree wholeheartedly with Brown - this attempt at secrecy just isn't on. Votes in Parliament must be conducted with the utmost transparency. The public has an absolute right to know which way our representatives are voting on legislation, and any politician unwilling to accept this should resign their seat immediately.

Oh, and which parties were attempting to hide their votes in this manner? According to Brown, it was National, United Future, and "maybe ACT". The full details (or rather, lack thereof) will be in wednesday's Hansard, and I'll be checking it when it goes online.