Friday, November 20, 2009

In the ballot XXXV: ACT special

Another batch of Member's Bills currently in the ballot. Previous batches are indexed here:

KiwiSaver (Contribution Flexibility) Amendment Bill (John Boscawen): amends the KiwiSaver Act 2006 to add 6% and 10% contribution rates to the existing 2%, 4%, and 8% rates, improving flexibility for older earners close to retirement and young, high-income earners. This doesn't seem to be a bad idea at all, and I'd expect Labour to support this bill if it is drawn.

Tariff Act Repeal Bill (Roger Douglas): does exactly what it says on the label: repeals the Tariff Act 1988. In the 90's National legislated to phase out all tariffs by 2006, but this was reversed by Labour in 2000 in the name of protecting local industry. Tariffs have remained fixed at their 2000 rates ever since. And so we pay an extra 26.5% for imported footwear, 18% for imported cane baskets, and 12.5% for imported skateboards (the full list is here), either as some sort of "luxury tax" or to protect businesses which can't compete in a global marketplace.

ACT is putting its money where its mouth is on free trade here, and challenging the government (which supports the status quo) to move further to the right.

Victims’ Rights (Victim Impact Statements) Amendment Bill (David Garrett): would amend the Victim’s Rights Act 2002 to prevent the courts from "censoring" victim impact statements. At present, such statements are limited to the actual impact upon the victim; Garrett's bill - driven by the recent Weatherston case - would give victims free rein to vent their spleen against the offender and the justice system. Such material has no place in sentencing, and no place in our justice system; if they want to say it, then there is no reason why they should be given a privileged platform in a court to do so.

As usual, I'll have more bills as I acquire them.