Monday, July 30, 2007

In the ballot XX

Another batch of Member's Bills currently in the ballot. Previous batches are indexed here:

Auckland and Wellington Local Government Reform Bill (Mark Blumsky): This is an expansion on John Key's previous Auckland Local Government Reform Bill, aimed at delivering a "world-class city-wide governance structure" for both cities. It would do this by creating a Local Government Reform Taskforce for each city, aimed at producing a new model for local government which reduces fragmentation and duplication while ensuring effective local democracy. The taskforces would report back by 2010, with each city holding a referendum on its future in the local body elections of that year. The big flaw in the bill is the very tight time window - the report-back date is July 31, while local body elections are held in October, so there's very little time for the resulting reforms to be considered (and no time at all outside of election season). For a change as far reaching as that proposed, I'd expect a little more time so the public can properly deliberate.

Environment (State of the Environment Reporting) Amendment Bill (Nick Smith): This would provide for five-yearly benchmarking by the Ministry for the Environment in the form of a "state of the environment" report, giving a wide overview of New Zealand's environmental problems, what needs to be done about them, and the effectiveness of our responses. It will also provide a compilation of raw data in one place for easy access, and allow long-term trends to be better monitored. It's a good idea, though I'd support annual reporting, just as is done for social indicators.

Infant Feeding Bill (Steve Chadwick): This bill is aimed at protecting a mother's right to breastfeed, by adding breastfeeding alongside childbirth as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Human Rights Act 1993, and by requiring the Ministry of Labour to develop a code of employment practice covering breastfeeding in the workplace. The bill does not seek to limit a mother's choice in deciding whether to breastfeed.

As usual, I'll have more bills as I acquire them.