Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Member's Day

Today is a Member's Day, and one which promises some real fireworks. First up there's a boring local bill, one of a series made necessary by the inability of the several councils to set their rates legally. Then there's the last few speeches of Sue Moroney's Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill. And then the real fun begins, with debates on Winston Peters' Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2), Jami-Lee Ross's Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill, and if we're lucky, Hone Harawira's Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill. These all target key differences between the government and opposition, and Lee-Ross's bill is likely to be particularly bitterly contested, as it would give employers a free hand to hire scabs, effectively making unions and strikes a nullity. Fortunately Peter Dunne refuses to back it, so it will fail - but its a sign of how ideologically crazed National has become in power. Hone's bill is also likely to see some angry debate; while the government has been forced to act on this issue, their policy only covers breakfasts, is delivered through charities, and is targeted rather than universal (so it stigmatises while helping). Most importantly, its all done by grace and favour of the government, rather than enforceable legal rights. And these are flaws well worth holding the government to account over.

Depending on progress there will be a ballot for two or three bills tomorrow. There's only been one bill publicly added so far since the last ballot - Catherine Delahunty's Crown Minerals (Homes and Residences Exemption) Amendment Bill - but more will probably emerge tomorrow morning.