Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What veto?

So, National has admitted the reality that the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill is going to pass despite its opposition - and magnanimously declared that it won't veto it. To which my response is "what veto"?

Standing Order 321 gives the government the power to overrule Parliament if a bill would have "more than a minor impact" on its aggregate finances or a single vote. I've discussed the origins and dubious post-MMP constitutionality of this clause here, but beyond the objection on principle (Parliament legislates and appropriates, and the executive should just have to lump it on the rare occasions when it overrules them), it would also be drawing a very long bow indeed to claim that this bill would have any effect on the government's finances at all. Yes, public servants would benefit from this law - but the government is paying them anyway for the day regardless of whether they work or not, so where's the financial impact?

National seems to be trying to claim a power it simply does not have. Its in keeping with their autocratic, authoritarian style - but hardly with our constitution.