Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Parliament resumes tomorrow after its recess, and the first piece of real business on the Order Paper is the committee stage of the Climate Change Response Amendment Bill. This is essential to the government's climate change policy, as it will allow the transfer of Kyoto allocation units and emissions reduction units to companies and private individuals - a vital component of the Projects Mechanism, Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, and any future plan for emissions trading. But after that, it's the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Bill - a bill which tidies up the law around geographical indications (saying something is a "New Zealand wine" or "Marlborough sauvignon blanc") to bring it into conformity with current WTO regulations. This is a vital part of the everyday work of Parliament, and it has to be done sometime, but you really have to ask whether it is the most important thing the government could be doing right now. Unfortunately, looking down the Order Paper, it seems there's very little else scheduled under government business. A lot of tinkering with the law as a result of various reviews, and some zombie bills the government has had on hold for months while it tries to scrape up the numbers or decide on amendments for a Second Reading - but precious little in the way of enacting policy. No wonder the government has seemed directionless!

The real excitement this week will come on Wednesday. Maryan Street's apparent withdrawal of her Residential Tenancies (Damage Insurance) Amendment Bill means that both the 100 MP bill and the drinking age are likely to get a vote. I expect the former to fail, and the latter, sadly, to go through to committee. But maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised...