Friday, February 03, 2006

In the ballot II

Here's another batch of private member's bills currently in the ballot. The previous batch can be found here.

Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill (Jeanette Fitzsimons): This bill would amend the RMA to allow local bodies to consider the effects on climate change when granting air discharge consents. They used to have this power, but it was removed by the Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004, on the basis that the government would develop a national policy statement instead. This hasn't happened, and in the meantime projects such as Marsden B are slipping through the gap.

Head of State Referenda Bill (Keith Locke): This bill provides for a series of referenda on the selection of our head of state, and ultimately whether we become a republic. As with the MMP referenda, it would use a two stage process. The first would ask the public to choose between the status quo, a head of state appointed by Parliament, or one directly elected by the people. If either of the latter two options is successful, there would be a second, run-off referendum between that option and the status quo. If we choose an appointed or elected head of state, the monarchy would be abolished, and a "twink" republic established.

The bill has received substantial attention in republican circles, and Lewis has a detailed analysis here. I've also got some minor comments here. This is a bill I would very much like to see drawn, though the time may not yet be right.

Land Transport (Left Hand Law) Amendment Bill (Dr Lockwood Smith): This bill would amend the Land Transport Act 1998 in an effort to improve traffic flow on the roads and enhance road safety. It would require slow-moving vehicles to use the left-most lane on multi-lane highways, or pull over to allow other traffic to pass on narrower roads. It would also allow cars to freely turn left at red lights. Another "pet peeve" bill, clearly born of being stuck behind too many tractors.

Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Easter Trading) Amendment Bill (Steve Chadwick): Another Easter Sunday trading bill. Unlike Jacqui Dean's version, this would put the decision in the hands of local authorities (provided they follow a special consultative procedure) rather than central government, and includes the standard protective clause for workers in affected areas so that they do not have to work on Easter Sunday by default. IMHO, it's the better of the two bills; if we're going to allow geographic exclusions to the law, then it seems to be that those decisions should be in the hands of local communities rather than central government. But I'm also not sure whether the special consultative process is robust enough compared to (say) a local referendum held alongside local body elections.

I'll do another post when more bills trickle in. Many MPs are still not back at Parliament, and so haven't been able to respond to my inquiries yet.


Land Transport Act: "A person commits an offence if the person operates a vehicle on a road carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road"

I'd have said that covers what Lockwood Smith wants to achieve - if you crawl along in the outside lane or drive your tractor or whatever without letting people past, then that's "without reasonable consideration".

It doesn't get widely enforced because a cop would need to see you do it *and* be bothered to take action on an awkward and debatable point (as opposed to something easy and quantifiable like speeding).

Posted by Rich : 2/03/2006 02:14:00 PM

Good grief, Lockwood Smith does something right. Now I've seen everything.

Treating a red light as if it were a stop sign for people turning left would certain answer one my pet peeves with our current traffic laws. Sitting waiting at a red light with an upset baby screaming in the back, knowing that I've good visibility of an empty road and that it'd be dead safe to turn left, but the law's too stupid to let me, is really annoying.

Posted by Icehawk : 2/03/2006 05:04:00 PM

Hmmm .... w.r.t. Easter trading, why not put the choice where it belongs - in the hands of the business owners.

If people don't like working on Easter, they can negotiate different contracts, or find work elsewhere.

If people don't like shops being opened on Easter because it's a religious holiday, tough. We're supposed to be a secular democracy, not a theocracy.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 2/03/2006 05:05:00 PM

Duncan: because we're not Libertarians.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/03/2006 05:57:00 PM