Monday, February 13, 2006

In the ballot IV

Here's another batch of private member's bills currently in the ballot. Previous batches can be found here, here, and here.

Weathertight Homes Resolution Service Amendment Bill (Nick Smith): This would amend the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service Act 2002 in an effort to speed the claims process and make it more accessible to claimants. Claimants would be able to claim for legal costs (currently a huge barrier to using the service), and strict time limits would be set to ensure that the WHRS deals with claims quickly. Finally, any money recovered would have to be spent on repairs to the building in question, except where it is to be demolished. This doesn't seem to be a bad bill at all, and it highlights another use of private member's bills: getting technical fixes made to legislation quickly, rather than having to wait for space in the government's legislative agenda.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill (Metiria Turei): There's a summary of this bill here, from when it was originally introduced back in 2003. As should be obvious from the title, it would amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to allow for the regulated medicinal use of cannabis. Anyone suffering from a condition where cannabis might alleviate pain or suffering can, with the support of their doctor or specialist, apply for permission to use, possess and cultivate small amounts of cannabis. They can also designate an agent to supply them if they are unable to grow their own. Agents and users will be registered and regulated, and the police will be required to supply them with seeds seized during law enforcement activities.

Sale of Liquor (Increase of Drinking Age) Amendment Bill (Pita Paraone): This would roll back the changes made by the Sale of Liquor Amendment Act 1999 and raise the drinking age to 20 again. There's already another bill for this purpose in the Select Committee stage (Matt Robson's Martin Gallagher's Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Bill), so this bill seems somewhat redundant now. If drawn, it would fall foul of Standing Order 265, which bars consideration of the same issue within a calendar year.

Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill (Nandor Tanczos): This would set up an agency to coordinate and promote waste minimisation, impose levies and bans on types of waste disposed to landfills, and imposing extended producer responsibility, making producers responsible for the waste generated by their products. The latter internalises the externality of waste, forcing its costs to be accounted for in the market rather than ignored; in Germany it has led to widespread recycling.

I've had more responses now the MPs are back, and I'll hopefully have another batch tomorrow.