Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reinstatement motion

When Parliament expired in October, all the business before the House lapsed. Previously, this was dealt with by passing a "carry over" motion to send business to the next Parliament. But in recent years, this has been seen as Parliament attempting to bind its successor (particularly as the outgoing and incoming parliaments might be very different in their compositions). So now, we do it the other way round: when Parliament meets, it passes a motion reinstating expired business for the new Parliament to consider.

The list of list of business available for reinstatement is now up here. And there's an awful lot on it. It will be interesting to see what the new government decides to keep, and what it decides to dump. It will also be interesting to see what happens to the various private member's bills available for reinstatement. Will National respect Members' business, or abuse the reinstatement motion to dump it? And what will they do about the member's bills (such as Tariana Turia's Foreshore and Seabed Act (Repeal) Bill) which have had their first readings deliberately postponed - in some cases for years?

This will be one of the first tests of the tone of the new government. They've already shown a distressing desire to misuse urgency; will they trample all over the rights of smaller parties as well?