Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Time for another dismissal?

The "palace letters" between Australia's then Governor-General John Kerr and the Queen were released today by the Australian Archives. From the bits I caught of the original press conference, they didn't sound so bad. But now people have had time to go through them properly, and they show an appalling story of plotting and foreign interference in Australia's politics. Kerr was plotting with Windsor to rid himself of Gough Whitlam for months - and it was the Queen's private secretary who first suggested dismissing him by monarchical fiat:

What is pivotal throughout these letters is that the Queen, through her private secretary, engages with Kerr on these inherently political matters, even advising him on the powers of the Senate and, critically, the existence and potential use of the contentious and contested reserve powers to dismiss the government.

Let’s take just one example, from the first glimpse at the letters, Charteris’ letter to Kerr of November 4, 1975, on the reserve powers: "Those powers do exist … but to use them is a heavy responsibility … I think you are playing the 'Vice-Regal' hand with skill and wisdom. Your interest in the situation has been demonstrated, and so has your impartiality. The fact that you have the powers is recognised, but it is also clear that you will only use them in the last resort and then only for constitutional and not for political reasons."

Charteris followed this up the next day with the clearest suggestion that the reserve powers may need to be used which, Charteris wrote, "places you in what is, perhaps, an unenviable, but is certainly a very honourable position. If you do, as you will, what the constitution dictates, you cannot possible [sic] do the Monarchy any avoidable harm. The chances are you will do it good". He ends with a reference to the "discretion left to a governor-general". These critical letters provided Kerr with the advice and comfort he needed to feel secure that the Palace accepted the existence and potential use of the reserve powers as he moved towards dismissing the Whitlam government.

Coming from his boss, "these powers exist, but its up to you to use them" is another way of saying "you should use them". It sounds like Australia needs another dismissal: of its interfering foreign monarch.

Another Australian war crime

Ten days ago we learned that the Australian government was attempting to prosecute Australian journalists for exposing Australian war crimes in Afghanisatan. Meanwhile, today we have news of another war crime - a massacre of civilians by Australian special forces:

Australian special forces killed up to 10 unarmed Afghan civilians during a 2012 raid in Kandahar Province, ABC Investigations can reveal.

The raid is believed to be the worst one-day death toll uncovered to date of alleged unlawful killings by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Afghan witnesses and Australian sources have told the ABC that the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) operation left a number of Taliban dead.

But both say civilians were also shot during the frenzied raid, including a group of unarmed villagers near a tractor.

This isn't just an accident - the killing is described as a "mass-shooting" of obvious civilians. SAS troops were reportedly unhappy about it. But in the usual way of the ADF, the entire thing was covered up and swept under the carpet. Now, hopefully, there'll be some justice for the dead.

If you give the police a warrantless search power, they will abuse it

In the months following the Christchurch massacre, the police acquired a sudden interest in nazis and gun "enthusiasts" (both of which they had previously been ignoring because they were white), and started kicking in doors around Christchurch and seizing firearms, using warrantless search provisions in the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. Now, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has ruled that three of those searches were illegal:

In relation to two of those searches, Police relied on the provisions of section 18 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. This gives Police the power to enter and search a place where they suspect an offence against the Arms Act 1983 has been committed and the person is incapable of having proper control of the firearm(s) or may kill or cause injury to someone. The Authority found in these two cases those circumstances did not exist when the searches were conducted therefore, they were unlawful.

The third case related to Police entering a house where they relied on section 14 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012. This provides the power to enter and search without warrant in circumstances where it is believed an offence is being or is about to be committed, or there is risk to life or safety that requires an emergency response. Again, the Authority found those circumstances did not exist at the time therefore the entry into the house was unlawful.

The full report is here, and the police behaviour is... dubious (and in the third case, outrageous). Obviously, these people were a legitimate subject of concern. But the police could not even be bothered building a tissue of a case to justify a search. As a result of that, they've been forced to apologise, and will no doubt be paying compensation to these nazis. If you're upset about that, you should direct your ire at the useless police who didn't do their job properly, rather than their (fairly repugnant) victims.

Meanwhile, this obviously raises the question of how else police use their warrantless powers, and what further scrutiny we should subject them to. Every use of a warrantless power must be internally reported, and agencies are required to issue statistics on their use, but clearly we need someone reviewing actual reports for abuse and dubious patterns. Because the police clearly cannot be trusted to use these powers appropriately, and we should not let them endanger prosecutions with this lazy approach.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Our dirty Parliament

The Serious Fraud Office has announced that it is investigating the Labour Party over donations it received in 2017. Which means the three largest parties in Parliament are all now either being investigated or prosecuted for donation fraud. The only parties who aren't are the Greens and ACT.

As with the other parties, if Labour has broken the law, then those responsible should be prosecuted, and if convicted, punished. We can not permit corruption to take root in our political system. And personally, I'll be voting to drive it out.

Saving lives II

Three months on, and looking at the state of the world - 13 million cases, 560,000 dead, and both rising - it is clear that New Zealand's lockdown saved lives. But it didn't just save us from the pandemic and prevent future deaths - it also significantly reduced our background death rate and saved over 500 lives:

Health experts have been surprised by a lower number of deaths throughout the country over the lockdown period.

During alert levels 3 and 4, public health experts found 548 fewer people died compared to the same period last year.

Otago University epidemiologists discovered the number of deaths dropped most noticeably near the end of level 4.

Cause-of-death data isn't available yet, but there are a few obvious ones: fewer respiratory illnesses reducing the background death rate from flu, less air pollution, and fewer road deaths. The scary thing is that some of these benefits can be captured without locking down the entire economy. If people were able to stay home when sick rather than being forced to go to work, we'd have less respiratory illness and fewer dead grandparents. If we used electric cars and public transport more, we'd have less air pollution. There are policy changes we can make today to bring about those outcomes. And we should do it. Saving our lives is worth it.

The Greens' energy policy

Yesterday the Greens released their second big election policy - on energy. The short version is "more solar, less coal". They'd stick solar panels and batteries in every state house, and network them together to form a virtual power plant. They'd use grants to fund rooftop solar installations just as they did for insulation. They'd ban new thermal generation and coal-fired boilers, and sunset existing ones. And they'd throw money at training and community grants to push things even further.

Looking at the solar part of the equation, its a no-brainer. While people complain about clouds and latitude, it turns out that New Zealand's solar resource is better than southern Germany or the south of France - parts of Europe with high solar uptake. Its already cheaper than coal in those places, and since coal is our marginal generator and sets our electricity prices, that means that it is probably cheaper than coal here as well. So why aren't people installing it already? The same problem as insulation: lack of information and capital costs. And that suggests the same solution: grants, and a public campaign to normalise it, followed eventually by building standards which require it (because really, if you're building a new house, why wouldn't you put solar panels on the roof? Its the cheapest time to do it). The virtual power plant idea also means that this will gradually lower power prices for everyone, not just the households with solar panels. And with batteries as the default, its going to make it much easier to smooth demand and cope with all the electric cars they'll no doubt be pushing in their transport policy.

The community energy projects fund is also a good idea. We're already seeing solar panels pop up on schools, and there are multiple companies offering finance to help them do it quicker (essentially they front the capital and its paid for by a long-term electricity supply contract). Weirdly this sort of arrangement doesn't seem to be being used much for things other than schools, which looks to be a case of market failure, and government funding or financing is a way of fixing that failure.

In terms of paying for it, the important thing to remember is that this is an investment, which generates ongoing revenue and savings. Those benefits accrue primarily to individuals rather than the state, but the government should still see substantial benefits in the form of lower health and welfare costs and better social outcomes for state housing tenants. I guess we can work out how that stacks up against a negative BCR road.

On coal, what they're suggesting is pretty conservative, and was actually floated late last year in an MBIE discussion document on Accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency [PDF]. Transpower and the Climate Change Commission have also been doing work in this area, looking at why businesses aren't electrifying even when it is profitable to do so. And the answer seems to be a mix of ETS subsidies, having no clue about their energy costs, conservatism and stupidity. Announcing a phase-out is a way to actually get them off their arses and force them to change. They go further than MBIE in applying the phase-out to gas (which MBIE thought would be required in the future, but too expensive now, so the Greens have taken them at their word and given gas a few more years), and of course they couple it with support to help cover the costs. As for the thermal ban, its another no-brainer, especially after the Tiwai shutdown, and will ensure that once Huntly and the rest close, these dirty fuels will be out of our energy supply for good.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The law rhymes

Everyone is paying attention today to the Supreme Court ruling that the President is not above the law and that Trump's tax returns can be given to a New York grand jury investigating him. But the Supreme Court decided another, far more important case yesterday, and effectively restored Native American sovereignty over half of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma used to be "Indian Territory". In the 1830s the USA ethnicly cleansed the eastern US of indigenous people and death-marched them to the west, dumping the survivors on the (then) border. Naturally, it signed treaties, promising that they would be left free to govern themselves, particularly in matters of criminal law. Then, in the early twentieth century, white people decided they wanted that land too, so they turned Oklahoma into a state. A bit over a century later, that state arrested, prosecuted, and purportedly convicted a child molester and a murderer. Naturally, they challenged their convictions. Their ultimate challenge was to assert that the state lacked jurisdiction, because they were members of a particular Native American tribe and their crimes had been committed on tribal land: when Congress turned Oklahoma into a state, it didn't extinguish tribal sovereignty over criminal law. And the Supreme Court looked at the law, and said "yep":

Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.

(If this sounds familiar, its because we've seen it before, in a different context, in Ngati Apa v Attorney-General, AKA the foreshore and seabed case. Like history, the law rhymes).

But while its ostensibly about criminal law and a particular tribe - the Muscogee (Creek) Nation - the decision goes wider. Because the Muscogee aren't the only nation covered by this particular set of treaties, and it raises the question of what else Congress didn't extinguish when it forced statehood upon them. And this affects the entire eastern half of Oklahoma.

Unlike New Zealand, the US has a long history of overlapping jurisdictions and tribal law. Even if their treaties have mostly been repeatedly broken and over-ridden and ignored by the federal government, there's enough of a remnant that they actually have the tools to deal with this in a just and respectful manner if they want to. The question now is whether they will, or whether they'll lose their shit at the idea that a indigenous person somewhere has some rights, and legislate to take them away like we did.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Labour lied about control orders

Remember the government's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill? Remember how it was rammed through Parliament, with a four-day submission period and a select committee process that was a democratic fraud? At the time, the government gave the impression that there was an urgent need for this legislation, that a horde of kiwi terrorists were about to return from the Syria, and so they needed the law passed immediately to deal with that threat. But it turns out that it wasn't. In a response to an OIA request, the Police said that the law has never been used, that this was "not unexpected" and that they expect the number of orders "will be low, and possibly zero, for the forseeable future". In other words, we were had. The government lied to us and abused the democratic process. Again. And by doing so, they did more to undermine our democracy and our way of life than any terrorist ever has or could.

Dancing on Tiwai's grave

This morning, after years of threats and demands for subsidies, Rio Tinto announced that it would be closing the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. Good. Because as I've argued before, the best thing this foreign polluter can do is close. Doing so will free up 12% of our electricity supply, not to mention $70 million ($90 million at today's carbon prices) a year in carbon subsidies. The latter is $70,000 per direct job, which shows you where Tiwai's economic "benefit" really came from.

As for what to do next, Rio Tinto has been threatening this for years, and I would hope that the government has been using that time productively to come up with a rescue plan if they followed through. They have a billion dollar regional growth fund, plus a $20 billion pandemic contingency, plus the effective annual cost of those carbon subsidies. Which gives them a lot of scope for investment to replace those smelter jobs. Data centres and hydrogen production are two of the obvious answers, though the latter also means finding things to use the hydrogen (which means chemical manufacture, until there's demand for it as a transport fuel). But they've also suddenly got a huge amount of electricity in the South Island to help power a recovery, and things like industrial electrification (getting coal out of the milk) and electrifying South Island rail are suddenly possible. And of course its a ready-made power source to power the shift to electric vehicles we need to make.

In terms of flow-on effects, Huntly is now dead (or rather relegated to dry-year backup, which is basicly the same thing), as are the coal mines which supply it. We shouldn't mourn that either - it was dirty and inefficient and meant higher prices for everyone. But the government will eventually need a rescue package for them too. But its death makes it a hell of a lot easier to shift to a cleaner, greener economy. And the quicker we do so, the better.

A transparency agenda

On Tuesday, after two years of pissing about, Justice Minister Andrew Little promised to rewrite the Official Information Act. It is unclear whether this was a government promise, or a Labour Party election promise - and Little played stupid games rather than giving a straight answer when asked directly. But given current polling, and the fact that no-one is likely to seriously oppose such a policy, its likely to happen. Which raises the question: what do we want from a rewrite? So, in the hope of starting a conversation on the topic, here's my stab at an initial answer:

  1. One Act, covering both central and local government.
  2. A clear, principles-based test for coverage (as used in the Public Records Act), rather than the current system of scheduling agencies individually. Expansion to cover currently excluded agencies, including Parliament and the Governor-General.
  3. No conclusive withholding grounds. All withholding grounds should be subject to the public interest test. "Constitutional" grounds should be re-examined and ideally repealed.
  4. Enforcement by an independent Information Commissioner on the UK model, rather than the Ombudsman.
  5. Criminal penalties for egregious breaches, on the Canadian model.
There are other changes, but these are my top five. Hopefully others can suggest better ones.

As for the reasons, 1 and 4 were recommended by the Law Commission, and on the latter we can also add the fact that the Ombudsman's mediation approach is simply not suitable for what is essentially an enforcement role. 2 was also (mostly) recommended by the Law Commission, though I've gone further in applying it to the Governor-General (because they are supposed to work for us, and therefore they should be subject to the Act).

As for 3: the OIA was the ultimate outcome of the Danks Report, which was a good, solid principled look at transparency. But it was written in 1980 - 40 years ago - and its primary author was born over a century ago. They were on the cutting edge of liberalism and transparency for 1980, the crest of a wave which had been opening up New Zealand since the 1960's. But at the same time, they were products of and operating within an authoritarian culture, where government was top-down and separate, something done to us rather than by us. And it shows. It shows when they assume that some reasons for secrecy (such as "international relations" or "economic interests") are absolute and shouldn't be balanced against the public interest in disclosure. These reasons may be strong, but the idea that they're absolute just smacks of an outdated ideology which says that matters of "high policy" are for kings and ministers, not dirty peasants. And it shows when they say that government "needs... to be able to take advice and to deliberate on it, in private, and without fear of premature disclosure", or when they just assume that everything to do with the monarchy is secret and that Executive Council deliberations are and ought to be protected by a medieval oath. Forty years on, we're entitled to ask "really?", and assess those authoritarian assumptions against the Act's goals of improving accountability and participation. And to modern eyes, I think we will find them wanting.

...which also highlights the real need: a proper process. The Act needs a full, independent review, equivalent in scope to the Danks Report, and with full public participation. Because its our Act, covering our government. So we should have a real say in shaping it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Good riddance

Privacy-invading MP Hamish Walker has announced that he will not stand for re-election. Good riddance. He has clearly shown that he is unfit to be an MP, and the sooner he fucks off, the better.

A good question

On Twitter today, lawyer Felix Geiringer asked a good question: why are MP's exempt from the Privacy Act? The Act imposes its obligations on "agencies", and s8 of the 2020 Act states that this term

does not include... a member of Parliament in their official capacity

The 1993 Act, which the 2020 Act replaces, included the same exclusion in its interpretation clause.

But why? In its 2011 Review of the Privacy Act 1993 (R123), the Law Commission basicly says "Parliamentary privilege". Requiring MPs to obey the Privacy Principles in their offices might interfere with their freedom of speech in the House, or with the confidentiality of people's communications with MPs (for example, if they communicate with an MP about someone else). But IMHO the first of these is already covered by the English Bill of Rights Act 1688, while the second could easily be handled by exclusions. The fact that Parliament didn't want to consider options those tells us what this is really about: self-interest by MPs, and setting themselves up as being above the same laws that apply to the rest of us. But if this week has taught us anything, its that we need to be protected from them. Exempting abusive, bullying arseholes from the law means we get bullied and abused. And that is simply not acceptable. This exemption should be removed. MPs should not be above the law.


That's the only way to describe last night's admissions by National MP Hamish Walker and former party president Michelle Boag that they were responsible for leaking the names of Covid-19 patients to the media. How could anyone possibly think that was a good idea? But I guess I'd forgotten what a pack of egotistical narcissists and abusive arseholes the National party is.

Both of them are basicly finished. Boag resigned from the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (previously NZ's most trusted charity), and from Nikki Kaye's campaign. Walker is likely to be de-selected this afternoon. And hopefully people will remember the complete lack of judgement displayed by both and never hire them for any position of trust ever again. But I am still appalled that this happened, appalled that Boag is such a sociopath to think that its OK to abuse the trust placed in her to solicit private medical information for the purposes of leaking it, appalled that Walker would then shop it round to try and cover up his own racism, and appalled that Muller ran a party where they could both think that was OK. Because this isn't just a problem of two individuals - its a problem of a lack of moral leadership in the National Party (and that's been lacking for a while).

Hopefully this has just cost National any chance of election victory. Because who would trust a party to run a country if they do things like this?

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Rewriting the OIA

Almost two years ago, the government announced that it might take a look at OIA reform. After an attempt to do it in secret, they finally asked for public submissions, then summarised them for the Minister, who... sat on them for nine months. But today, after an almost two year journey, Andrew little has announced plans to rewrite the Act:

The Official Information Act will be rewritten, Justice Minister Andrew Little has revealed.


Little said initial work was done last year on the scope of a review of the act but Covid-19 had delayed further progress.

“However, I am committed to a rewrite of the Official Information Act, and this work will take place in association with my colleague Chris Hipkins, Minister of State Services [Open Government].”

There's still no "official" announcement - nothing on the Beehive or Ministry of Justice websites, so we don't know what this "rewrite" will look like. But the Law Commission's 2012 review (which suggested a unified Act covering both central and local government) is the obvious place to start. The danger of course is that "reform" will be used to reduce transparency rather than increase it (something we've seen a lot of in a piecemeal fashion over the last term, and which some groups in the public service are obviously eager for). So its important that the government runs a full public process, and that those of us interested in transparency speak up for it.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Daily secrecy

After a long break, the government is back inserting secrecy clauses in legislation. This time its the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (No 3), which in its clause allowing Ministers to exempt purchasers of farm land from the usual rules also allows them to exempt an exemption from the publication requirement:

However, the publication of an exemption under this section, or of the reasons for granting an exemption, may be deferred or dispensed with (in whole or in part) if the relevant Ministers are satisfied on reasonable grounds that good reason for withholding the exemption or the reasons (as the case may be) would exist under the Official Information Act 1982.

Two points on this: firstly, it mirrors the existing law on non-farm exemptions in s61F(6). Its also a significant improvement on the existing law, which doesn't have any publication requirement at all! At the same time, it highlights a problem with the current regime, in that Ministers are making decisions about secrecy, in an area where there is obvious scope for corruption (*cough* Peter Thiel *cough*), with no oversight whatsoever.

Proactive publication of exemptions is good, but we need some assurance that the Minister is not giving sweetheart exemptions to dubious people on dubious grounds and declaring it all secret. As for how to do that, I'm wondering if there can be an automatic review by the Ombudsman of any decision not to publish, as well as a (relatively short, to permit an effective electoral response) time limit to ensure that these decisions eventually see the light of day and Ministers can be held accountable for them.

(In the meantime, I suspect there's fun to be had by requesting historic exemptions not published under s61F(6). It would almost certainly have to go all the way to the Ombudsman, but that in itself will ensure that there is some review of them).

The Bill is currently before the Finance and Expenditure Committee and open for submissions here.


The Education and Workforce Committee has called for submissions on the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill. The bill is a rewrite of our currnet whistleblower laws, with minor tweaks - basicly status quo "reform". It needs significant improvement to be worth Parliament's time.

The deadline for submissions has not been determined yet, and it may be after the election. Submissions can be made online here.

Even the fishing industry wants cameras

Over the past two years the government has repeatedly delayed a scheme to put cameras on boats to monitor Mew Zealand's pervasively criminal fishing industry. But it turns out that the industry actually wants cameras:

Three of the country's biggest seafood companies have broken ranks with the rest of the sector and declared their support for cameras on fishing boats.


Now Moana, Sanford and Sealord, accounting for 40 percent of this country's fishing quota, have said cameras would provide increased transparency and so should be installed.

Sanford chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said his company would be willing to pay for them if Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was willing to cover the cost of analysing the footage.

So what's the hold up? Talleys, the other big player, doesn't want them. And Talleys donates heavily to New Zealand First, who then jerk Labour's chain. So Talleys gets space to engage in serious criminal activity, while those who want a clean fishing industry risk getting out-competed by criminals.

This is not a satisfactory situation. Fortunately we have a chance to correct it in three months, by voting the corrupt influence out of Parliament.

Friday, July 03, 2020

No freedom of the press in Australia

Three years ago the ABC used leaked information to expose war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan. Since then the chief of Australia's special forces has admitted that his troops committed war crimes. But guess who the Australian government is prosecuting?

Police have referred allegations against an ABC journalist relating to the Afghan Files to prosecutors, the public broadcaster says.

ABC managing director David Anderson said it was a "disappointing and disturbing development" and the broadcaster was fully backing its reporter, Dan Oakes.

"The allegations concern Dan's reporting on the series of stories published by the ABC in 2017 known as the Afghan Files. They were also what prompted the AFP's extraordinary raid on the ABC's Ultimo headquarters last year," he said in a statement.

"This is a disappointing and disturbing development. The Afghan Files is factual and important reporting which exposed allegations about Australian soldiers committing war crimes in Afghanistan. Its accuracy has never been challenged."

This is outrageous. There is a clear public interest in exposing wrongdoing and breaches of international law by the Australian government, and that is exactly what the ABC did. And if that is a crime, then Australia is a naked tyranny.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Steamrolling democracy again

After a sham select committee process which waste submitters' time, the government is planning to use urgency today to steamroll its Muldoonist RMA fast track bill through Parliament.

I've talked before about what's wrong with the Bill. As mentioned above, its pure Muldoonism, bypassing the participatory RMA process with a Ministerial rubber-stamp. This isn't just bad because it is undemocratic and authoriatarian and creates a nexus for corruption - it will also deprive the decision-making panels of the evidence they need to make good decisions. And we'll be stuck with the consequences of those poor decisions for decades to come.

Perhaps in an effort to mitigate this - or rather, give the impression that it is mitigating this - the Bill requires consenting panels to notify and invite comments from a select group of environmental NGOs. Effectively these groups are being statutorily appointed as proxies for the whole of New Zealand. But they will receive no resources to do the job they are being asked to do, have only ten working days to respond to any submission, and it is not clear whether they are legally allowed to tell anyone about it or crowdsource public comments so they can make high-quality submissions and present the evidence that the panels need to see. Its even worse when you consider the threshold the Minister, with their choice of listed projects, has set: 30-50 jobs. In terms of your project, that's basicly the size of your local supermarket. And its the government's apparent position that any project of that scale should go through the Minister - perhaps greasing the party's palm on the way - and then through the rubberstamp process. Which means that if the law works as apparently intended, these NGOs are going to be swamped. Even if there is extremely strong gatekeeping from the Minister, and it is only a handful of projects a month, they are not going to be able to effectively do the job the government is demanding of them (for free).

But then, maybe that's the point. The RMA is an adversarial system. And you break an adversarial system by massively outgunning and overworking one side. But the consequence of that is that a) the system doesn't work properly; and b) the results are not perceived as legitimate. What the government gains in speed from its rubberstamp may very well be lost to protests and occupations.


A ballot for three Member's Bills was held today, and the following bills were drawn:

  • Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill (David Carter)
  • Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill (Louisa wall)
  • Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill (Judith Collins)

Sadly none of these are likely to be voted on before the election. Which means we won't get to see whether Winston's consistent frustration of the Greens' agenda has caused them to rethink their support for his pet project just to get along with him. But hopefully after the election they'll feel free to rediscover their democratic principles, and to apologise for ever abandoning them in the first place.