Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Guillotine time

People who tuned in to watch Question Time today may have been surprised to see the session open with a message from the Governor-General consenting to the passage of the Minimum Wage (New Entrants) Amendment Bill and be wondering what is was about. The answer is Standing Order 309:

No Member's bill, local bill or private bill that contains any provision affecting the rights or prerogatives of the Crown may be passed unless the Crown has, by message, indicated its consent to that provision.
The bill would allow the Governor-General to set minimum wage rates by Order In Council, thereby affecting the Crown's prerogatives. However, those Orders can only be made according to legislation and on the advice of Cabinet, so I'm not sure exactly what "prerogative" is being "infringed" upon here. Our monarchy is not absolute, and its pretension of being such is simply tiresome. So is our executive's. In a democracy it is the legislature which is supreme, and it is demeaning to the people of New Zealand for our elected legislature to effectively have to ask permission from an unelected monarch in order to pass a law, no matter if it is always granted. Time to start building a guillotine, I think.