Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Assent has been granted

Question Time today opened with Don Brash asking Michael Cullen (as Acting Prime Minister)

When will the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill passed by the House last week come into force?

Cullen's answer was "tomorrow". Given that the commencement clause of the bill states that it will come into force "on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent", this suggests that it has already been signed into law, or will be so very shortly. As anyone with any knowledge of New Zealand's constitution (as opposed to the 40,000-odd supporters of monarchical fiction) knew it would be.

Blair Mulholland, the petititon's organiser, is now turning to an indicitive referendum under the Citizen's Initiated Referenda Act 1993. Unfortunately, his proposed question illustrates all the problems with that act and the style of referenda we have pursued so far in this country. Rather than asking the electorate whether they approve of motherhood and apple pie (or rather, hate politicians, which amounts to the same thing), he'd be better off drafting some legislation and presenting a question along the lines of "that the [attached bill] be enacted by Parliament". That would at least strip them of one excuse - vagueness - for not doing so.

A referendum petititon needs the valid signatures of 10% of registered electors - about 250,000 people - in order to force a poll. That's a big ask, and certainly far more difficult than getting 40,000 people to click a link on the internet.

Meanwhile the irony of seeing ACT people who supported the Douglas blitzkrieg suddenly turning to referenda as a vital check on government power is inescapable.

Update (25/10/06): I've since been reliably informed that the Assent has now been granted. The bill had apparently already been conveyed to Government House when Culen spoke. So, it's law. That for your monarchical veto!


>SHOULD the principle "No public money shall be spent on electioneering" be legally entrenched into New Zealand law

Doesnt sound like apple pie to me - it instead sounds like a stupid idea.

I think there is nothing wrong with public funding of at least some election spending (as long as we are clear what it is). But worse yet if you entrench somthing it should be somthign really important. This one seems more like "we should entrench the law that people shall not walk on the curb" ridiculous.

maybe with these petitions there should be a "counter petition" system.


Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 12:45:00 PM

Genius: well, that was basically my thought. Firstly on the basis that it permanantly constrains public policy on an issue where there's no need for such constraint, and secondly because we do not, as a rule, use entrenchment here. We have precisely six clauses of law entrenched in this country, all to do with elections. If we're going to add any more, they should be actually important (I'm all for entrenching the BORA), rather than the pet issue of a bunch of embittered loonies.

And at the same time, a CIR is a far more democratic process than appealing for an arbitrary monarchical veto, and I can't fault them for trying.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/25/2006 01:21:00 PM

Meanwhile, in Germany, the President has just vetoed a law to privatize air traffic control.

Posted by Lewis Holden : 10/25/2006 02:10:00 PM