Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Member's day

Today is a member's day, the first one of the year. And while the Herald is suggesting David Clark's Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill will pass its second reading today, I'm not so sure. Not because the votes aren't there, but because there is just too much stuff ahead of it on the Order Paper.

First up, there are three local bills to get through, including a committee stage. While I doubt there's anything really interesting to discuss in the Waitaki District Council Reserves and Other Land Empowering Bill, its a third reading debate, scheduled for up to two hours - giving the government a perfect opportunity for a filibuster. Likewise with the other two local bills. Similarly with Chris Auchinvole's Habeas Corpus Amendment Bill - again, utterly uncontroversial (it implements a Law Commission report - something which should really be a government bill), but that's potentially another two hours. on an ordinary day, I'd say the chances of at least getting to the holidays bill weren't bad - but then this is a bill that looks certain to be passed against the government's wishes. They will be eager to avoid that humiliation (and maybe buy some more time in which to strongarm the Maori Party or Peter Dunne), giving a strong incentive for obstruction.

I'd be glad to be wrong, but I expect the next few member's days will be drawn-out affairs, as the government tries to delay its defeat until the last possible moment.