Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Member's Day

Today is a Member's Day, and while the government is stealing an hour of Member's time to debate its Budget Policy Statement, at least they're not just going into urgency. The real business will start around 17:00 (or 17:30 if Question Time goes late) with the Committee Stage of the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill. The bill's sponsor, Chester Borrows, has an SOP which would specifically exclude tattoos from the definition of "gang insignia"; it will be interesting to see if it passes (and why weren't the Greens proposing this? Lift your game!)

Any time remaining will be filled with the rest of the Committee Stage of Darien Fenton's Minimum Wage and Remuneration Amendment Bill. Her latest proposed amendment is to add a schedule to the bill (complete with procedures to modify it through Orders In Council) listing political parties which support it; the aim is supposedly to force consultation (or an embarrassing statement that there wasn't any) on any future amendments, but it comes across as simply a ridiculous stunt. The public know which parties support the minimum wage - we can read the newspapers and look at the voting record. And we are quite capable of recognising when a government is acting in a high-handed manner and not consulting anyone (it is in fact the usual state of affairs). Its a pointless amendment which conflates the realms of law and politics and seeks to legislate political relationships, and I'll be quite happy to see it voted down.

We're still a long way from a ballot yet - at least three Member's Days at minimum, more if they drag their feet. But when they finally get down to first readings, the withdrawal of Craig Foss's (now redundant) Electoral Finance Amendment Bill and the delay of the Maori party's Foreshore and Seabed repeal means that we'll get one quickly.