House Rises, ACT MP AWOL

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — 10:20 PM

There was some confusion about the whereabouts of ACT MP David Seymour in voting in Parliament this evening.

The House rose just before 10pm interrupting the committee stage of the New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill debate with MPs up to part three of the bill.

Earlier in the evening Labour MPs, after voting on part one of the bill, queried why Mr Seymour’s proxy vote was cast when he was across the road at the Backbencher Pub where its political namesake show was being filmed.

National Whips assured the House they had the ACT MP’s proxy and had cast it in good faith, but they were not responsible for knowing Mr Seymour’s whereabouts or whether he had leave or not.

Later in the evening the vote had to be corrected with the National Senior Whip Tim Macindoe saying while the vote had been cast in good faith, Mr Seymour had been out of Parliament without the National Whips being aware when the vote was cast for that part of the bill.

It had no material impact on the result as the vote was backed by National, Maori Party and United Future and there was still a majority.

In this Parliament there have been a number of calls for personal votes on close votes with claims MPs votes are being cast when they are away without leave. These have been rejected because the word of Whips is generally accepted.

The House will sit again tomorrow at 2pm.

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