Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Member's Day

Unless Gerry Brownlee abuses urgency to kill it, today will be a Member's Day - the first in a long time. And it looks like the government will be making some unpopular decisions and pissing off core constituencies and its coalition partners.

First on the Order Paper is the Rodney District Council Bill. This is a local bill, pushed by the Rodney District Council, and it would exclude the Rodney District from the Auckland Supercity and instead establish it as a unitary authority. Because amalgamation has gone so far, this is quite complicated; it would for example require local body elections in Rodney to be deferred for a year to allow the Local Government Commission to establish new ward boundaries (for some reason they can't just use the old ones), plus it would require allocation of ARC assets to Rodney rather than Auckland. National / ACT will vote this down of course but in the process they'll offend one of their safest seats.

Second is the second reading of Te Ururoa Flavell's Public Works (Offer Back of and Compensation for Acquired Land) Amendment Bill, which would provide fairer treatment for iwi and hapu whose land was seized under the Public Works Act but not used. The Local Government and Environment Committee has recommended that the bill not be passed, so its doomed to failure. The interesting question is whether Labour will support it.

Finally, there's the interesting stuff: Jackie Blue's Consumer Guarantees Amendment Bill, which will pass and deserves to, and Carol Beaumont's Credit Reforms (Responsible Lending) Bill, which deserves to pass but probably won't. The latter I think will show us just how vile National is, supporting the right of loan sharks to charge obscene interest rates on loans they know cannot be repaid, then profit when you default. These people are basically scam-artists exploiting poor communities, and they desperately need to be regulated. But regulation goes against National's free market ideology, and they see no value in protecting the poor (now, if they were ripping off people in Remuera, that would be another story - but these scum live in Remuera). So, I expect National to vote the bill down rather than send it to select committee as it deserves. Though maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised...