Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cowardly, undemocratic, and unconstitutional

So, after months of threats, National has finally vetoed Sue Moroney's Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill. It claims that it did this because of costs. But in reality, it did this for one reason and one reason only: because it did not have the votes to vote the bill down.

As I've posted previously, the ability of the executive to override the will of the legislature in this way is a relic of English feudalism, which simply does not sit with our modern, MMP constitution. It is undemocratic and unconstitutional. In modern New Zealand it is Parliament which is supreme, and the veto denies this.

This violence to our democracy is also unnecessary. If the government thinks the bill is a financial matter, it could simply declare it to be a matter of supply and stand or fall on the result. Their refusal to do this is simply cowardly. But perhaps, having worked so hard to alienate its coalition partners, National is no longer sure of their support.