Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Member's Day

Today, barring urgency, is a Member's Day. But unusually, the main item of business will be a select committee report - that of the Maori Affairs Committee on its Inquiry into the tobacco industry in Aotearoa and the consequences of tobacco use for Maori [PDF]. The Business Committee has scheduled two hours an hour for this, so it will get the attention it deserves.

The other important business is the beginning of the third reading of Paul Quinn's shameful Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill. It won't be finished tonight, which means it won't finally pass until February. Unfortunately, with the full support of the National caucus behind it, its a done deal; National is going to violate our human rights obligations under international law, so it can be seen to be kicking crims for votes. In the process, they will permanently undermine Parliament's role as the supreme arbiter of our law, and build the case for a Bill of Rights Act with teeth, which will allow atrocities like this to be overturned by the courts.

Correction: I misread the Order Paper, and the inquiry only has one hour. Which means they will likely manage to get through Quinn's prisoner disenfranchisement bill as well.