Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Members' Day

Today is a Members' Day, and now that all those pesky local bills are out of the way, we're down to the serious business with a slew of second readings. First up is Sue Bradford's Corrections (Mothers with Babies) Amendment Bill, which has been waiting to finish its second reading since November. It has widespread support, so I don't expect any problems there. Second is Darien Fenton's Minimum Wage and Remuneration Amendment Bill, which would bring "independent contractors" (you know, like the cleaners who clean your office, or those meatworkers in Levin who are paid piecework rates and suspended if they try and join a union) under the protection of the minimum wage. I'm not sure how the vote will go on this one, and its entirely up in the air. Finally, there's the big one: Ron Mark's Young Offenders (Serious Crimes) Bill. In case anyone has forgotten, this is the bill that will see kids stuck in jail for anything other than the most minor shoplifting. Mark, being a rather vicious authoritarian, thinks this would be a Good Thing. Sane people, who recognise that children are not always morally responsible and that prison is only good for training people to be better criminals, disagree. The select committee sided with the latter, so I expect the bill to be voted down. But in an election year, with both parties trying to pander to the pedophobes, I'm not sure we can take that for granted.

Looking forward, I'm still not sure if Nandor Tanczos' Waste Minimisation (Solids) Bill will be getting a second reading before the election. If the government wants it passed, it is increasingly looking like they'll have to adopt it.