Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Reported back

The Māori Affairs Committee has reported back [PDF] on the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, and recommended that it be passed without amendment. That's right, nothing - not even the usual technical amendments to clarify intent. Reading Labour's minority report shows why: the government has rammed this bill through, prevented the committee from taking advice from the department on proposed amendments, and ignored all submissions. The 500 page summary of submissions was only made available to Labour Members yesterday, and the bill approved without amendment that same day. This is the same mockery of a legislative process we have grown to expect from National with its headline legislation - it was also used for Three Strikes and the government's prisoner disenfranchisement legislation - and quite apart from the obvious democratic problems, it does not lead to good legislation. But National wants this rammed through, and if this means squashing democracy and ignoring submissions, tough.

Its worth noting that the Māori Party colluded in this, providing National with the majority to do all this. So much for their commitment to the democratic process, or for "listening to their people". Their people submitted on the bill in good faith. Te Ururoa Flavell helped shut them down and shut them out to aid his National Party masters.

We can now expect this bill to be rammed through under urgency in the next fortnight. It will pass on Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples' votes. And they will be held accountable for that in November.