Wednesday, April 19, 2006


In my post below on the Electoral (Reduction in Number of Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill, I noted that the Justice and Electoral Committee hadn't set a date for submissions. This is unusual, to say the least. The bill passed its first reading and was referred to committee on March 15th - over a month ago - and in that time the committee will have met three times. Calling for submissions is usually done as soon as possible, and is a two-minute job. In other words, the delay is deliberate. While Labour and the Greens have a majority on the committee, I can't imagine the Greens going along with a deliberate attempt to stymie the Parliamentary process and bury a bill. More importantly, I can't imagine National - or Barbara Stewart - remaining silent while that happened. Which suggests that they all agree that they don't want the bill to go anywhere fast, and are quite happy for it to be quietly delayed. The thing I don't understand is why. Does NZ First want to drag this out so they can beat the know-nothing, we-hate-MPs drum for longer? And is Labour going along with this for the sake of stable government?

I'll email some people and try to get to the bottom of this. It would be nice if, having been voted on, people got to actually have their say.

Update: According to my sources, the bill is open for submissions - it just hasn't been advertised, and no closing date has been set yet. Hopefully they'll do the latter when Parliament resumes in May.


"The thing I don't understand is why."

Kindest interpretation:
Because it's a stupid piece of populism and they all know it? So whle some of them want to publicly be seen to support it, they'd really like it to just go away.

Meanwhile the Nats and NZF have now done the maths and (belatedly) figured out that the biggest effect of this would be to increase the power of the Maori Seats, which is the opposite of what they actually want.

And the Maori Party - the big winners from this bill - probably don't want to be involved in strongly pushing the bill because they don't want the bill to be perceived as merely a greedy power-grab by them.

That'd certain explain why there are parties that vote for this but then are happy if the committee chair quietly ignores is.

On which topic: could you please stop blogging about this? Because I'd like the bill to quietly go away too.

(Remarkably, this turn of events has lowered my opinion of Barbara Stewart - something I would have thought impossible).

Posted by Icehawk : 4/19/2006 01:16:00 PM