Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Members' Day

Today is a Members' Day, and for once there is no fluff to get in the way of real business. Labour have again postponed Darien Fenton's Minimum Wage and Remuneration Amendment Bill, so the Greens will have a clear run for the committee stages of Sue Bradford's Corrections (Mothers With babies) Amendment Bill and Russel Norman's Waste Minimisation Bill. And they will need it. With only three more Members' Days left, they are rapidly running out of time.

Fortunately, it looks like Bradford's bill will make it - it can easily complete its committee stage today, allowing a third reading on the 27th of August. But the Waste Minimisation Bill's prospects are less certain. It's a fairly complicated piece of legislation, and under the usual rule of one hour per part, the committee stage is going to take seven hours. They might get through half of that today if they hurry, but with the Corrections Bill eating half the available time next Members' Day, and the possibility of local bills popping up, its unlikely to complete its committee stage until early September. Which means that it will only pass if the House goes into overtime and sits in the first week of October - and doesn't eat that last possible Members' Day with last-minute urgency.

As for Fenton's bill, I expect the government will keep it on the Order Paper for as long as possible, and then adopt it at the last minute. It would make a perfect contrast with National on worker's rights just before the election.