Monday, April 07, 2008


Around this time last year, I commented on the thinness of the government's Order Paper (and by implication, it's legislative programme). At the time, there were sixteen bills above the line, but the government was only interested in considering half of them. Checking today's Order Paper [PDF], the situation is even worse. There are fourteen government orders of business, but only five of them are alive. The rest - everything from item 6 on down - are "parked", in some cases indefinitely.

How bad is it? According to the House sitting programme there are two sitting weeks until the Budget. And even with two bills below the line waiting for second readings (and hence having future committee stages and third readings as well), they will be scraping to fill those two weeks. Michael Cullen, who as leader of the House handles the government's agenda, is a master at filling out the Order Paper, but he has very little to work with here, and will be stretching to fill all the time. And if he doesn't, we might finally see those oaths modernised and trout protected as a non-commercial species...