Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Member's Day

Today is a Member's Day, and while it looks a lot like the Zombie Member's Days of the last six months, ACT now has itself a zombie-killing shovel. Which I expect they'll use to advance Heather Roy's Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill if there's any sign of filibustering on the Royal Society bill which precedes it.

But ACT isn't out of the woods yet. Labour can filibuster the actual bill, and there's no shovel for that. And there is only one Member's Day left before the election, so ACT has to get through the committee stage tonight. Even if they manage that, they'll be looking at having to get through whatever remains of the Royal Society Bill, the second reading of the Southland District Council (Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy) Empowering Bill (2 hours), and the third reading of VSM (2 hours) in just four and a half hours of sitting time. If the Royal Society Bill goes to its third reading, they're screwed; if Question Time goes long, if there are a large number of Questions to Members about bills before committees, of if there is a lot of procedural delays, then its going to be very tight indeed. And of course if Gerry Brownlee eats Wednesday with urgency in any of those weeks, their last chance will disappear.

Of course, if the bill isn't passed this sitting, then it will be picked up by another ACT MP. If ACT falls out of Parliament, then there will no doubt be an anti-student National MP willing to take it. And its not looking like rolling the electoral dice will change the balance of power. So all Labour can do is delay. But by delaying, and making their case, they'll be representing their constituents - which is what they're there to do.