Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Members' Day

Today is a Members' Day, though thanks to some jiggering around with the Order paper, things are happening in an unusual order. First up is Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill, which will provide funding to make it easier for disabled people to run for election. This bill has been postponed for a while, but has suddenly been un-postponed, pushing it to the top of the Order Paper. Which means it trumps Darroch Ball's Farm Debt Mediation Bill, which was introduced at the top of the Order Paper by leave during Question Time yesterday. The bill is another regulatory subsidy for farmers, making it more difficult for their shell companies to be bankrupted by their banks. Mycoplasma Bovis - a disease spread by farmers ignoring regulation - is the latest excuse for this, but before that it was the banks dubious business practices, and it really does seem like an excuse-of-the-week bill. Yesterday National tried to have it heard as a single question (effectively giving it all-stages urgency on a 60 minute debate, with no select committee stage), and I'm glad that failed. As for the merits, I see no reason to exempt farmers from the consequences of their poor business decisions, but National and NZ First clearly do, so it'll probably pass.

Thirdly, there's the second reading of Stuart Smith's Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill, which is an uncontriversial regulatory update. If the House moves quickly, it might make it back onto Erica Stanford's nasty little Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill, but I don't think they'll get much further than that. Which means there probably won't be a ballot tomorrow.