Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hiding behind process

The government seems to be slowly buckling under the pressure over the Black Caps' tour of Zimbabwe. In the face of overwhelming public opposition and repeated calls from public figures and major newspapers for government action to get New Zealand Cricket off the hook, they are slowly retreating to their fallback position. Initially, they had ruled out any legislation to ban the tour as a violation of New Zealanders' human rights. The public didn't buy that, and so over the past few days, they have shifted to saying that it would be wrong to legislate under urgency. But as Frogblog points out, urgency is intended to be used in situations that are, well, urgent - and this is a perfect example. The team leaves next month, and Parliament will have only three sitting days in which to act. If there is to be a legislative solution (as most New Zealanders want), then urgency is required. But rather than bite that bullet, the government is trying to stall and hide behind process, run out the clock so they can say "sorry, its too late to do anything now".

We shouldn't let them get away with it. The government has shown in the past that it is willing to use urgency for far less important things than this (Harry's Law, anyone?), so it seems more than a little disingenuous of them to now be appealing to the sanctity of the Parliamentary process. They can act, and the only question is whether they are going to. And if they don't want to, they should have the guts to come out and say so, rather than trying to hide behind a procedural smokescreen.


The urgency provisions are intented to allow ill-thought out measures to be rushed through without adequate discussion, usually where reasoned reflection by MPs and the public would lead to the loss of the bill.

How can you suggest debasing this process by using it for a matter that is actually urgent!

Posted by Rich : 7/19/2005 12:56:00 PM