Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Member's Day: End of Life Choice

Today is a Member's day, and an important one: the main business will be the committee stage of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. Since the fundamentalists on the select committee refused to do their job and recommend amendments to make a better bill, this is the only real chance to improve it. And because of that refusal (which effectively spat in the face of everyone who had submitted on the bill), its going to be done on the fly. This is obviously not an optimal process for any piece of legislation. But unlike Graeme Edgeler, I don't think Parliament should allow itself to be held hostage by a group of bigoted wreckers, or give them a wrecker's veto on the entire legislative process. MP's are there to do their jobs and legislate. If a minority are unwilling to do that, then the majority will simply have to work around them.

The committee stage is likely to be long and drawn out, with the bigots threatening hundreds of amendments to drag things out even further. But before we get to that spectacle, there's another committee stage to get through, on Hamish Walker's now-unfortunately named KiwiSaver (Oranga Tamariki Guardians) Amendment Bill. And no doubt this will be dragged out too in a desperate attempt at a filibuster.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of the contrast between today's expected debate and Parliament's tone when debating marriage equality. Back then, it rose to the occasion, helped by clear leadership from politicians who recognised the public mood. Now, we're going to see them at their worst, and its going to debase the reputation of the institution even further. It is unlikely to impress voters. But the solution is in our hands: if we want better behaved politicians, then we need to vote for them, and make it clear to parties that people who will engage in these sorts of antics do not belong on their lists.