Monday, August 22, 2016

More unconstitutional over-reach

In the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, the government turned New Zealand into a legal tyranny, granting earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee the power to rewrite virtually any law with a stroke of his pen, without having to go to Parliament. The law was a constitutional outrage which has now fortunately expired, but it seems to have given the government a taste for Henry VIII-style dictatorship. And now they're doing it again (though on a smaller scale), introducing a SOP to the Taxation (Business Tax, Exchange of Information, and Remedial Matters) Bill to allow it to be rewritten at will by the Minister.

What emergency justifies this constitutional outrage? An earthquake? An epidemic? Something else threatening the life of the nation? No. The "justification" is that IRD is getting a new computer system, and they're not sure that it is compliant with the law.

The solution here, of course, is to make that system compliant with the law, rather than rewriting the law arbitrarily to suit. But that apparenly would be too difficult for IRD and its overpaid contractor, so they're going to piss all over our constitution instead.

The separation of powers is a fundamental constitutional principle in this country. Laws are made by Parliament, not the executive. And that is not a principle we should give up lightly. Its certainly not one we should sacrifice simply because IRD doesn't think it can properly manage an IT project. This unconstitutional amendment must be binned, and the people who advocated it binned with it.