Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Member's Day

Today, by leave, is a Member's Day. Unfortunately, thanks to a broad strategy by MPs of delaying their bills until the time is right (or, in the case of ACT and the Maori Party, to be a sword of Damocles hanging over the government's head), there's hardly any bills to debate - just a private bill and the two National bills drawn in November.

The first of these - Amy Adams' Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill - is uncontroversial. But the second - Todd McClay's Easter trading bill - is likely to be a standup fight. The last time this bill was introduced, back in 2005, it was defeated by a coalition of social conservatives who believe Easter is sacred and unionists who want the day off. This Parliament has fewer unionists, but, thanks to National, more social conservatives, and I don't think the numbers for the bill are likely to be much better. There's a way to break this deadlock - make Easter Sunday a public holiday - but the sorts of people who introduce Easter trading bills are also the sorts of people who oppose public holidays, so I don't see that happening any time soon.

The House is likely to get through all its business today, so there'll be a ballot tomorrow for two bills to give them something to work on in the new year.