Monday, July 31, 2006

Limiting criticism

Anyone who has read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy knows how those in power limit public criticism over controversial plans: they make them "available for public consultation" - in a dark basement, inside the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "beware of the leopard". This appears to be what the government is doing over its Maori Purposes Bill

The bill would controversially amend the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 to set a final deadline for filing historical Treaty claims. It passed its first reading last month, and has since been before the Maori Affairs select committee. That committee hasn't advertised for submissions yet (a current list of bills which have advertised is here), but according to the Office of the Clerk's list of bills before select committees, it has set a closing date for submissions of August 18th. Which leaves submitters just over two weeks to put something together and get it in the post, rather than the usual month or two. For a bill as controversial as this one, it smacks just a little of attempting to limit submissions and public criticism...

If you're interested in this bill (and I certainly am), I'd suggest starting to put something together now. I'll post the full details of how many copies are needed and where to send them as they come to hand.