Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Members' Day

Barring urgency, today is a Member's Day, and with a bunch of National member's bills having emerged from select committee, the House has some second readings to get through. The first of these is for Paul Quinn's renamed Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill, a poorly-drafted, undemocratic disaster of a bill which is a perfect example of why we need to emasculate Parliament and make all our laws subject to a supreme, entrenched Bill of Rights Act. It directly contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and if passed will do serious damage to our international reputation as a supporter and upholder of human rights. But National, desperate for the redneck vote, will pass it anyway. After all, the inevitable spanking from the United Nations Human Rights Committee likely won't happen on their watch, and they'll get to scream and pound their shoe on the table about being "soft on crime" when we're forced to repeal it.

Second up is Heather Roy's Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, a nasty spiteful little bill aimed at eliminating student government (and all the services it provides to students) simply because so many Labour politicians start off there. It's ACT's agenda writ small, opposed not just by student's associations (who have a certain amount of self-interest here), but also by students (who value those services) and universities (who will have to pick up the pieces). But again, it'll pass anyway, and our future tertiary students will pay the price for it.

Third up is Tau Henare's Employment Relations (Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill, but they're unlikely to get to that. Meanwhile, with the top of the Order Paper clogged with second readings (which means committee stages and third readings), things are likely to slow down somewhat. We're unlikely to see another ballot for the rest of the year.