Monday, September 21, 2009

The wooden spoon of Damocles

It looks like the smacking debate will never end. Last month, in a perfect example of Murphy's Law, ACT MP John Boscawen had his Crimes (Reasonable Parental Control and Correction) Amendment Bill, which would permit child-beating so long as it did not use weapons or cause permanent injury, was drawn from the ballot. John Key responded by quickly ruling out government support for it; now Boscawen has responded by delaying the bill indefinitely. The result: it will hang around on the Order Paper, ready to return at a moment's notice (say, Budget time next year). In other words, the government - and the children of New Zealand - have a wooden spoon of Damocles hanging over their backsides until the next election. And we will no doubt be treated to even more antics from Larry Baldock as a result.

Meanwhile, another consequence of this is that Member's Day is likely to run out of bills on Wednesday. Darien Fenton is likely to delay her redundancy bill while she gathers signatures on her supporting petition [PDF]. Which will leave only a local bill (likely to be done in half an hour), quarter of an hour on Kennedy Graham's International Non-Aggression and Lawful Use of Force Bill, and an hour on VSM. If Question Time goes quickly, they could be done by dinnertime, but even if it doesn't, its hard to see them going all the way till 10pm. Which means they will likely end up debating Parliamentary papers instead...