Friday, July 16, 2004

Court of Appeal goes bonkers

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Donna Awatere-Huata can remain in Parliament.  Her position was under threat because as a result of unethical and probably criminal behaviour, ACT had wanted to invoke the Electoral Integrity Act to deprive her of her seat.  Their stated grounds?  That her actions does not constitute a "defection", which the Act was passed in order to punish. 
Just who the hell do McGrath et al. think they are?  The legislation states the decision is a matter for the party leader, not unelected judges.  If they think the legislation is stupid, it's still not their job to be expanding the remit of judicial oversight to everything under the sun.
In my opinion, Rodney Hide, the ACT party leader now has two options if he wants to take the case any further.
The first is to go to the newly created Supreme Court.  However since the Chief Justice has been making wooky statements on political theory, such as questioning the sovereignity of parliament, which are only part and parcel of her wider lack of judicial wisdom (such as her re-instatement of the private prosecution of Constable A for murder), I have little hope that an appeal will be successful.
The second is the nuclear option.  Send the letter anyway saying that the matter is one of parliamentary privilege and not one for the courts.  Since the Nick Smith case has determined that an MP does not lose his seat if he is convicted of Contempt of Court, Rodney have little to lose if he attempts to dish out well-deserved black-eyes to would-be Judicial Commissars that should have known better.