By HELEN TUNNAH deputy political editor

The Government has rescued its New Plymouth MP, Harry Duynhoven, but has faced a flurry of accusations that other Labour MPs might also have broken nationality laws for politicians.

The Labour-led Government, with the support of the Green Party, yesterday rushed through a law change saving Mr Duynhoven from losing his job because he adopted Dutch nationality.

But Labour's refusal to restrict the retrospective law change to Mr Duynhoven prompted political rivals to claim it must be trying to protect some other MP who might also have breached the Electoral Act's nationality rules.

While Mr Duynhoven infringed as soon as he applied to have his Dutch nationality approved in June, any MP who has renewed a foreign passport since the last election would also have broken the law because that would be seen as acting to support a foreign state.

Yesterday, Opposition parties hounded Labour to reveal which of its MPs the new law was really protecting, but Labour instead tried to shut down the debate.

Chief whip David Benson-Pope told Labour MPs not to answer reporters' questions about their nationality status.

"We're not going to play that game," he told the Herald.

"I've already said publicly, I'm not aware of any issues."

Labour says it asked the privileges committee, which inquired into Mr Duynhoven's situation, to ask all MPs to say, on oath, whether they might have done anything to breach the rules.

But the chairman of that committee, Australian-born Progressive Coalition MP Matt Robson, told the Herald that he decided he had no jurisdiction to force MPs to comply with the request.

Instead, the committee decided the whips of each party should ask their MPs if they had properly complied with the law.

National, Act, New Zealand First, United Future, the Green Party and the Progressive Coalition all say they believe their MPs do meet nationality rules.

Labour remains the only party not to make any declaration.

Prime Minister Helen Clark, who has Irish ancestry and a British-born husband, ruled herself out as a possible offender yesterday, as did British-born Labour MPs Tim Barnett and Jim Sutton.

Both New Zealand First and United Future yesterday withdrew support for a law change to help Mr Duynhoven because it might help other, unnamed MPs who had not had the "courage" to come forward.

National leader Bill English told Parliament it was a "disgrace" that Mr Duynhoven had been acting as an MP two months after he breached the law.

Act leader Richard Prebble said Mr Duynhoven should have resigned, rather than relying on Labour's parliamentary majority to re-elect him by passing a law.

Mr Duynhoven did not vote on the law change, and Speaker Jonathan Hunt abstained.

The law was passed by 61 votes to 56.