Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Member's Day: youth rates and the foreshore (again)

Today is a Member's Day, and according to the Order Paper [PDF] there are two important pieces of legislation potentially up for debate. The first is Sue Bradford's Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill. This was gutted by a Labour-dominated select committee last month, but Bradford feels that it still offers some improvement (though obviously not as much as she had hoped), and the Greens will be pushing on with the bill rather than withdrawing it.

The second is Tariana Turia's Foreshore and Seabed Act (Repeal) Bill. This is doomed to failure now National have come out against it - but the aim of the bill may simply be to force Labour to repeat their divisive, damaging, and racist vote to confiscate any Maori (but not Pakeha) rights over the foreshore and so remind Maori that Labour doesn't represent their interests. While a better tactic may have been to delay it repeatedly, leaving it like a sword of Damocles hanging over Labour's head, and leaving open the possibility of strongarming National into backing it when they needed some legislation passed (possibly even after the election), the Maori Party is clearly betting that they will be able to get the issue back on the agenda during coalition negotiations. Besides, if the bill fails, they can always reintroduce it next year, and every year after that until it passes. Despite the wishes of Pakeha rednecks, this issue is not going to go away; Maori will not accept the abrogation of their rights to due process and equality under the law, and will fight for them until they are restored.

Unless there is a fillibuster (or rather, MPs deliberately talking out bills, which has been common in recent months), I expect debate on the youth rates bill to start about 17:00, and if we're lucky they'll get to the foreshore and seabed bill before the end of the evening. If they start it before 21:00, there will be a vote tonight, and the possibility of a ballot tomorrow - the first ballot in eight months.