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.