Conscience votes in parliament are not free of partisan politicking.
In fact there seem to be a lot of partisan political motives at play at the moment. John Armstrong says, for instance, that the PM’s endorsement of a marriage law change is a calculated strategy: ‘Wall's bill is a cost-free means of portraying National as a "modern" party. Key may have another motive - giving Colin Craig's Conservative Party some room to National's right to carve out a niche’ – see: Key out to show Nats have another side. Not to be outdone in political gaming, Winston Peters is joining Colin Craig’s call for a referendum and says NZ First MPs will either vote against or abstain on the bill –see: Lloyd Burr’s NZ First will abstain in gay marriage vote.
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