Monday, October 11, 2010


Parliament resumes tomorrow, and first on the Order Paper [PDF] is something interesting: Member's Notice of Motion No. 1, a motion to disallow the New Zealand (Mandatory Fortification of Bread with Folic Acid) Amendment Food Standard 2009 [PDF]. This has been brought by Moana Mackey, a member of the Regulations Review Committee, in response to a complaint against the food standard. The majority of the RRC rejected the complaint [PDF], but the Labour minority on the committee supported it. So they lodged a motion, which under the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 would result in the standard being disallowed if not voted on within 21 sitting days. The fact that the government is debating it probably signifies they want to vote the motion down and defend the regulations.

This has all been done very quietly, and Mackey hasn't issued any press statement on it; given the lack of attention paid to Member's Notices of Motion (which are usually used to formally congratulate people MPs want to suck up to in their electorates), I'm wondering whether she was hoping to have the regulations disallowed by stealth. While this would show up the Minister, its democratically dubious. Debating the motion forces both government and opposition to make their case, and lets the public judge which is the stronger. Unlike politicians, I happen to think that is a Good Thing.