Winston’s $300,000 Contracts Offensive
Winston Peter’s passion for power knows no limits. The fact that he has required every one of his nine MPs to sign a contract requiring them to personally pay $300,000 if they fall out with NZ First is an affront to democracy. It means that if anyone of these MPs disagree with Winston, he effectively has the power to financially ruin them.
I found out about these contracts from a concerned NZ First member the weekend before last. I didn’t believe it at first. I was aghast when I acquired the documented proof. Winston tried very trick in the book to block me exposing these dirty deeds in Parliament.
These contracts would be illegal in any other workplace. People may get a redundancy payment or exit package if they fall out with their employer but the idea that have to pay a huge sum the other way is obscene.
It is indentured labour and allows abuse and bullying. The unions and Labour Party would be crying foul were it not that Winston put them into power.
Parliament is no average workplace. It is where our laws are made and where decisions are made over billions of dollars of public money. The constitutions of most developed countries state that MPs must be representative of the whole people and not be bound by any orders, instructions or contracts but act in good conscience for the public interest.
These constitutional rules are there for good reason. There were times when MPs, Mayors and Councillors were controlled by land barons and rich paymasters. A modern democracy requires that elected officials are not bound by some backroom contract or personal financial interest but do what they believe is genuinely right.
Mr Peters justifies the $300,000 penalty contracts on the basis that parties should get their money back when an MP falls out with their party. This contradicts the fact that Mr Peters left National and Mr Shane Jones, Labour and neither paid a penny. Nor should they. MPs are not party property. Mr Peters had it right at the time when he stated “MPs must be free to follow their conscience. They were elected to represent their constituents not to swear an oath of blind allegiance to a political party.”
This $300,000 bond hanging over New Zealand First MPs sits alongside the changes Winston Peters is pushing through Parliament to our electoral laws enabling party leaders to dismiss MPs. It is only in authoritarian states like Zimbabwe that leaders have these draconian powers.
NZ First is at the core of this coalition Government, yet we now know their MPs have these oppressive contracts hanging over them. They have 300,000 reasons to just agree with Winston and parrot whatever he says. This is not the Kiwi way or the parliamentary democracy that our ancestors fought for.