Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler


Too long, didn't read

I have the generally poor habit for a blogger of writing far too much when I write about something. Having now seen, read and heard some coverage of Hone Harawira's decision to resign from the House of Representatives and run in a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau a potted summary of my last piece seems like a good idea:

  1. It is NOT clear that Hone Harawira or The Mana Party will be eligible for increased parliamentary funding if Hone wins the by-election.
  2. If Hone wins the by-election as a candidate for The Mana Party, and the Mana Party is registered with the Electoral Commission in time for the by-election, the Mana Party WILL be entitled to party funding in Parliament for parliamentary purposes.
  3. If the Mana Party is not registered with the Electoral Commission by the by-election, and Hone seeks election as an independent, as Matt McCarten has said he would in such a circumstance, then the Mana Party will NOT be entitled to party funding in Parliament, even if it later registers.
  4. If Hone wins the by-election as a candidate for an unregistered Mana Party, then the Mana Party MAY be entitled to party funding in Parliament.
  5. Point 4 turns on a new question of interpretation: if parliamentary authorities adopt the same definition of the word party as is used in the Electoral Act, then the Mana Party will NOT be entitled to party funding in Parliament. Electoral Act provisions are used in determining related matters, but it has not been categorically determined whether they also apply to the definition of party in this context.
    1. The closest historical comparison is the 2004 Te Tai Hauaruru by-election, which saw the re-election of Tariana Turia. Tariana Turia contested that by-election for the Māori Party. The Māori Party applied to the Electoral Commission for registration before nomination day and its registration was approved before polling day. The Māori Party did receive funding (.pdf) following Tariana Turia's election.

    Finally, I re-iterate that as the Deputy Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, Hone Harawira is currently paid more than an ordinary back bench MP (so journalists should stop using a back bench MP's pay as a comparison!). He will lose this position when he resigns. Details of the other stuff Hone will cease to be entitled to are included with my earlier post, which also has the full explanation and references for the above material.

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