Thursday, February 15, 2024

A rejection of the rule of law

As if we didn't have enough reasons to hate National's corrupt, Muldoonist RMA fast-track legislation, now we have another: it will be used to overturn the decisions of independent panels - and potentially the courts - to forcibly "consent" projects which have been rejected under existing law.

If this sounds familiar, its exactly what Muldoon did with the Clutha Development (Clyde Dam) Empowering Act 1982, only potentially on a much broader scale. Its not just a rejection of established principles of community consultation and independent, merits-based assessment - its also an outright rejection of the rule of law from the National Party and their corrupt business backers. Instead, it seems they prefer a model where those who can buy the ear of Ministers get what they want, and those who can't, don't.

Australia shows us what happens under such models: universal, wide-scale corruption, and regular prosecutions of Ministers. And to clean it up, we'll need an Independent Commission Against Corruption, empowered to continuously investigate Ministers, officials, consent applicants and lobbyists for any hint of bribery or undue influence. If National passes this legislation, Labour should announce such a body as an immediate priority.