Friday, April 17, 2020


Former MP Peter Dunne has used his regular Newsroom column to call the lockdown "Orwellian" because Parliament is not in session. He's calling for parliament to resume as quickly as possible to subject government decisions around the pandemic to proper scrutiny.

Firstly, according to its adjournment motion, Parliament will resume on April 28th. While the Speaker can delay that (and I suppose the Prime Minister could call on some bullshit feudal power inherited from England's hereditary dictatorship), I think that's unlikely. So, that scrutiny is going to be happening very soon anyway, at which stage Dunne will probably try and claim credit for "making it happen" (which seems to be a theme in pandemic commentary). But secondly, if you look at the sitting calendar, the House was scheduled to be on holiday this week and next week anyway. So all up, we have lost two weeks of parliamentary scrutiny due to this crisis. Except that during that time, select committees have continued operating, and the Epidemic Response Committee has been meeting three days a week to specificly scrutinise the government's actions, and so far it seems to be doing a pretty good job. So its not like scrutiny has been lacking anyway. But if this is some sort of Orwellian tyranny, then I wonder what Dunne thinks of summer, when Parliament joins the rest of the country in fucking off for 6-8 weeks, and doesn't come back till Waitangi Day?