17 Aug 2022

Luxon maintains opposition to waka-jumping law amid Uffindell inquiry

9:00 am on 17 August 2022

National leader Christopher Luxon is standing by his party's opposition to the so-called waka-jumping legislation as both main political parties suspend MPs within a few days of each other.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon

Christopher Luxon says National has always opposed legislation allowing MPs to be removed from Parliament if they leave their parties. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

For the Labour Party, Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma has been suspended for bringing his party into disrepute with the sharing of allegations of bullying by fellow MPs and the Parliamentary Service.

Last week, National suspended new Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell while an investigation looks at allegations of aggressive and bullying behaviour in his youth.

Under the controversial law change, introduced in 2018, the Speaker can be asked that MPs who leave their party be removed from Parliament immediately.

Luxon told Morning Report National never supported the legislation.

"We believe it's voters, not party leaders, that should actually decide who New Zealand MPs are.

"I just think that gives the party leader way too much power in that regard."

If elected, National would repeal the law although it would have other priorities.

As far as the Uffindell inquiry was concerned, Maria Dew QC has begun work and will take two weeks to compile her report.

Luxon said his decision on the MP's future and the rationale behind it would be made public but in fairness to both sides involved in the allegations, individuals' submissions would remain private.

No further allegations about Uffindell had arisen, he said.

Luxon did not want "to pass any judgements" on the Sharma situation, saying it was a matter for the Labour Party and leader Jacinda Ardern.

In defence of the removal of the top tax rate of 39 percent on income over $180,000, which National announced several weeks ago, Luxon said there were major shortages of critical people such as surgeons and engineers and it would help encourage them to move here.

However, it was not the only reason. He said even though a recent 1News-Kantar poll suggested half of National's supporters did not favour removing the top tax rate, National was the party of low taxes and intended repealing all seven taxes that Labour had introduced.

Luxon said the party was unapologetic about its belief that taxes should be lower.

"We want to unwind all those tax increases and that will benefit everybody across the country."

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