NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party challenges Undemocratic and Bullying Conduct by leader of the Opposition
The NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party is shocked at admissions by new leader of the National Party Christopher Luxon that he deliberately targeted and shamed National backbencher Harete Hipango for publicly sharing constituent concerns, and say these comments show a flagrant disregard for democracy.
Hipango attended a freedom rally in her local Whanganui electorate and posted photos promoting freedom. Luxon responded by saying “It’s been pretty silly and unwise those actions and what I’d say is that I want all my MPs focussed on their portfolios and on the things that matter most to New Zealanders. “I’ve made that pretty crystal clear in my expectations for them and that’s what I expect going forward.”
Luxon’s comments expose a serious problem with our current political system. “Instead of representing the people, communities and diverse views, party politics is being used to close down valid and important perspectives. This is contrary to the very essence of democracy” says co-leader and lawyer Sue Grey. “We elect and expect our local MPs to be accessible and supportive to different members of the community, not to simply parrot policies decided by faceless party hierarchies. How can that be democratic?”
The idea that MPs’ should be “whipped” to tow a party line, and be publicly shamed if they speak out on legitimate concerns to support different perspectives, represents an autocratic “old boys” approach that has no place in a modern democracy.
“If our elected opposition MPs wont speak out for the people, and wont challenge assumptions behind the status quo or put forward alternative views, then who will”, says Sue Grey. “One of the most important roles of opposition MPs is surely to support and speak for those who need a voice”.
The NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party continues to actively promote alternatives to New Zealand’s extreme Covid response, after two years of “emergency response” and are concerned that NZ’ Covid response has caused considerably more harm than Covid itself. The government has serially closed down our country, removed freedoms, crippled small businesses and divided families, leaving many isolated overseas. It has paid premiums for novel drugs and borrowed heavily, creating a substantial debt for future governments and generations to repay. After two years of restrictions New Zealand’s challenges have barely started. Meanwhile UK, Denmark and many other countries have worked through Covid and are almost back to normal.
“It has been an extremely concerning part of New Zealand’s history which has exposed just how fragile our constitutional protections are” says Sue Grey. “Surely some of our elected representatives have concerns. Many have wondered why the opposition did not speak out more. Luxon’s apparent pride in publicly shaming his own MP has helped us better understand the toxic culture and pressure to obey, and the enormity of the task we have ahead. What felt like an orchestrated corporate oligopoly to close down different voices and solutions appears to have been proven by Luxon’s actions. says Sue Grey. “We have been inundated with horror stories from all over New Zealand, and family members who have been isolated overseas and yet nobody in public positions has been willing to support them. Now at least we know why.
The NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party supports a much more transparent approach to politics, stronger constitutional protections and a inquiry into the NZ Covid-19 Response.