Wednesday, December 17, 2008


While urgency has a place in our parliamentary system (e.g. to clear up the order paper before a break, or to conduct business which is actually urgent), there are rules for it. In particular, Standing Order 54 (3) provides that

the Minister must, on moving the [urgency] motion, inform the House with some particularity why the motion is being moved.
The explanation need not be a good one. "Because we wants to, precious" would qualify. In the past, "completing the Government's legislative programme" has been an acceptable answer. But that apparently was too much for Gerry Brownlee. When moving urgency yesterday, he made no attempt to explain it, and attempts to get the Speaker to make him provide one were simply met with a shrug - our arrogant new government simply doesn't think it has to explain itself to anyone (normally, it takes at least six years in office for that to happen).

It's a perfect sign of National's contempt for our democracy. And judging on their answer to this question, they plan to do it again the moment the House resumes in February to repeal the EFA. Maybe we should start keeping a tally - the proportion of time spent under urgency in this Parliament? Because its already looking disturbingly high.