Friday, March 31, 2006

Progressive bills: next steps

The progressive bills thinktank has come up with a number of ideas for member's bills, some of them even viable. Among these are:

  • Reforming abortion legislation;
  • Annual CPI adjustments for benefit or Community Services Card income-test levels;
  • Tweaking the ERA to better cope with outsourced labour and "independent contractors" by focusing on the concept of "worker" rather than "employee" (as is apparently done in UK legislation);
  • Barring political donations from blind trusts;
  • Electoral reform to allow preferential voting for candidates (would require a supermajority or referendum);
  • Introducing a carbon tax.

(There were other ideas, but these are the ones I thought were most interesting or achievable).

The next step is talking to politicians. While it may seem like we should be drafting legislation and trying to wonk out the details, what we actually need are MPs willing to take up these ideas and introduce them to the House. So, I'm after suggestions on specific politicians to approach for each one - and more importantly, people willing to adopt a bill and ask those MPs whether they would be willing to put it up.

So, any volunteers?


Do we need Maori (somewhat more Maori than me) to promote the carbon tax law? I expect if we want to go via the Maori party they would be more responsive that way. Most responsive if it came up in a constituency consultation.

As for CPI adjustments, I’m not sure what works best in parliament but maybe we can get a centrist party to promote it, or at least indicate some buy in - or give it a wider scope that sells ok to the right.
I would be concerned it could get in trouble if it became a fight over "giving non-workers money" when it is really about maintaining the status quo.

I guess the other potential argument one might face is relate to - Would it make the beurocracy more complicated?

Posted by Genius : 3/31/2006 07:13:00 AM

Genius: I think that would be a good idea, and I've already asked the Maori Party about it.

As for making the bureaucracy more complicated, no. There is already an abatement threshold set out in the law, and it would simply change each year. WINZ already handles such thresholds, so they wouldn't really be doing anything more than they are already doing.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/31/2006 08:40:00 AM

I wonder if it would be better to do some work on the drafting before approaching mps? It's generally easier to interest people in something concrete rather than a just a vague idea.

MPs- Sue Bradford- for the CPI adjustments one.

I'm not sure about the employment one - I'll give it some thought. I'm willing to help with drafting this if you go ahead with it although I'm not going to have much time available till May.

Posted by Amanda : 3/31/2006 08:47:00 AM

I think the detail needs to be fleshed out a bit - for example, it would help to know what part of existing law needs to be changed and how - but remember, the MPs are likely to have greater resources than us, and its more important to find a front than get the details exactly right.

Sue Bradford is an excelent suggestion for the CPI bill.

The employment one is finickity, and would be difficult to get right. But in that area, its apparently not unusual to put a bill up with a clear idea and let a select committee do a lot of the grunt work.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/31/2006 09:17:00 AM

Which parties currently have slots free? Cos they're the ones worth targetting

I know Labour and National do, I assume the Greens and ACT will continue to fill every slot (although they both emptied slots in the last round). Where are the Maori Party, Winston First, UF and Jim Anderton's Progressives?

Finally, does Te Ururoa Flavell have anything in the mix? He sounded very sensible about the Carbon tax when he spoke on Jeanette's bill on Weds.


Posted by Anita : 3/31/2006 09:29:00 AM

The Greens, ACT, and United Future are filling every slot, and NZFirst almost every slot. Labour and National are underusing their capacity, so there's plenty of backbenchers who can be approached. The Progressives can't put up legislation, as their only member is a Minister. Finally, the Maori Party has yet to advance any legislation of its own.

I asked Te Ururoa Flavell about a carbon tax bill last night, and I'm waiting for a reply.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/31/2006 09:47:00 AM

The Greens, ACT, and United Future are filling every slot, and NZFirst almost every slot. Labour and National are underusing their capacity, so there's plenty of backbenchers who can be approached.

It's still worthwhile to approach Greens, ACT, United Future, and NZFirst, as they seem more willing to do something.

I suspect that National, Labour and the Maori Party, are under-using their capacity not because of a lack of ideas but because they don't want to be seen to be introducing "controversy".

Posted by Anonymous : 3/31/2006 11:06:00 AM

ice: student allowance thresholds are now CPI adjusted (announced post budget last year, along with a raft of other chnages, including raising the personal income eligiblity level, and changing from cliff face to abatement)

Posted by Anonymous : 4/01/2006 02:41:00 PM