Thursday, August 08, 2019


So, Winston Peters is defending his last-minute demand for a referendum on abortion by claiming he was "blindsided" by the bill. Really? The bill is a government bill. It has been working through the cabinet approval process since December last year. As part of that process, NZ First was consulted, given the chance to negotiate amendments, and agreed to the bill. And here's a report from May on that [paywalled; depaywall script]:

Justice Minister Andrew Little confirmed he expected to be able to make an announcement in the next few weeks, after reaching agreement with NZ First this week.


NZ First minister Tracey Martin confirmed that on Tuesday this week, the party's caucus had agreed to the reform going to Cabinet. "It's now finalised, and the Cabinet paper is on its way up to Cabinet."

The Government's response to a Law Commission paper on abortion reform is now almost six months overdue, partly because NZ First has baulked at treating it as a government measure, given it was a conscience vote.

Martin said she had taken the precaution of getting the NZ First caucus to agree to it to make sure it was not gazumped at the last moment, as had happened to Labour's plans to repeal the "three strikes" legislation.

And here's a further report from last month, in which Andrew Little talks about "very helpful" discussions with NZ First.

This bill was consulted on. It was approved by the NZ First caucus. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide who is acting in bad faith here.