F*ck Democracy II

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, December 10th, 2008 - 19 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

This from Lew in the comments section of my last post:

Shortly after the House resumed at 0900, Darren Hughes requested that the bills about to be debated be tabled so members could read them before debating them. Just before 1000 he asked what progress had been made, and was told by the Speaker that under urgency there is no requirement to table a bill before it is introduced – which means that the bill has to be read, analysed and understood as the first-reading debate is taking place.

Well, we wouldn’t want open debate would we?

19 comments on “F*ck Democracy II”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Unfortunately you should see Graeme’s reply in Fuck Democracy.

  2. Graeme 2

    Or here 🙂

    Leave was denied by government members – this isn’t customary, even in urgency, and toward the end of their term I seem to recall the former government holding Question TIme as usual, even under urgency.

    Your other complaints – all perfectly reasonable.

    However, this is very customary under urgency.

  3. Lew 3

    Yeah, Turns out Question Time being cancelled under urgency isn’t unusual after all – I suppose I’m misremembering.


  4. Definitely misremembering – this time last year Q-time was shelved when the EFA was passed under urgency.

    Ditto prior to the House rising before the election when a number of Bills were put through their first readings under urgency.

    FWIW at least one question time is expected to be held before the House rises. Probably next Tuesday.

  5. Liar 5

    Payback is sweet. Poor ginga.

  6. IrishBill 6

    I’ve removed the inaccurate part of the quote.

    Liar, payback for what exactly? This is the worst abuse of urgency I’ve seen since the 1990s.

  7. Graeme 7

    randominanity – the EFA was not passed under urgency.

    The day the EFA passed a question time preceded it.

    And a link to Hansard as proof:


  8. Oops – my bad. Correction gratefully accepted. :-0

    However the point I was trying to make (using the completely wrong example) is that it’s not unusual for Q-time to be put on ice in the way that it has.

    Government’s of all political stripes have done it. And I guess if you have the control of the House you get to determine its business the way you want to.

    A perk of winning the election I guess

  9. Mr Magoo 9

    The “rules” in this regard are irrelavent. This is more a political statement by National and Act about how they are going to run government.

    There are a great number of “legal” things they could do that we would find unaceptable. (e.g. revoking every single one of their election promises and doing the opposite of what they promised – perfectly legal.)

    There is no reason to urgently pass all these non-urgent bills. They are trying to pretend they are decisive, “in control” and “men of action”. This is a cock-waving stunt, with the side benefit of not allowing anyone to contribute to “their” ideas before they ram it through.

    I don’t think this is done to squash discussion. (or at least is an incompetent attempt!) The discussion will still happen publically and will now be suffixed with “rushed through the house”. Not as much discussion will happen BEFORE they ram it through. Remember National and Act have a majority anyway – it does not matter what anyone else thinks?!

    The danger (and will be reality IMO) is that their ill-thoughtout bills (drafted in the last few weeks most likely) end up being disasterous down the track and generating bad publicity.
    The spectre of how the bills were passed WILL come back to haunt them at this time.

    Welcome to daddy-knows-best-state!

  10. Zorr 10

    I think that the arguement that I keep seeing online from either the National supporters or the jaded ex-Labour voters that “Helen Clark and Labour did it and therefore now it is time to shut up and take your medicine” is bullshit.

    We should all be better than this and expect much better from our government. If it was unacceptable for Helen Clark to be doing it, shouldn’t it therefore follow that it is unacceptable for John Key to be doing it? Can’t there just be an agreement that we should expect better from our politicians?

    It saddens me to see this as I had been hoping to see something different because I was unwilling to just write off John Key because I have to live with him being the PM for the next 3 years. However, now I just get the feeling it is going to be a very dark 3 years.

  11. insider 11

    Just to nitpick, you can have Question Time and urgency on the same day. Urgency would have to be moved after QT.

    When the house used to go into urgency time was suspended compared to the real world so the sitting day would continue to be the one when urgency started, even if it lasted 3 days. QT is only held once a sitting day so you presumably couldn’t have it every ‘real’ day. Not sure if that still applies.

  12. randal 12

    fiddle dee dum
    fiddle de dee
    if the business was really urgent then the house would not have risen at 10 o’clock
    as it is the labour party let them off lightly
    if the debates that that I heard last night is what we are going to get then no wonder the nats put it up without tabling it first and they are going to cop a real mauling in the house next year with the clots dolts and buffoons they have assembled under the name of a parliamnent

  13. Mr Magoo 13

    I guess I was right on the not yet drafted thing:
    Herald article: (ref: http://norightturn.blogspot.com/ – because I am boycotting the herald)
    “The Government put Parliament into urgency tonight so it can pass bills dealing with taxation, employment relations, bail, sentencing and education before the Christmas recess.

    From tomorrow it will sit from 9am to midnight until the bills have been put into law.

    Some of them are still being drafted and did not have titles when Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee moved the urgency motion.”

    It appears that National and Act THEMSELVES will barely have time to read their own policy before voting it in?!

    Utter insanity.

    Let me repeat: Utter Insanity.

    This process is mocking every NZer and democracy in general. And they said the 2-year ETS policy was “rushed”?!

    This is a sad, sad joke.

  14. Kerry 14

    Has Key been talking to old Robbo over in Zimbabwe???

    Zorr – yes its going to be a very bleak 3 years…….but at least when we arnt crying we will certainly be laughing at the nats…..

    Key = International laughting stock!!!

  15. Graeme 15

    if the business was really urgent then the house would not have risen at 10 o’clock

    Randal – that’s what Standing Orders require on the first night of urgency. They will be going to midnight tonight.

  16. roger nome 16

    It seems like this is par for the course when National’s putting through its anti-worker legislation. i.e. they followed exactly the same strategy when introducing the 1991 Employment Contracts Act.

    From my thesis:

    . The National Government was deliberately opaque and secretive about the document and rushed the bill through , so any resistance to it, internal or external to parliament, was organised in an extremely rushed manner During the parliamentary debate about the Employment Contracts Bill, National was “unable’ to make the bill available to opposition MP’s for them to read (Danin 1998: 23). The ECA Bill was introduced to the House on December the 19th 1990 just before parliament’s Christmas holiday break, and became law on the 15th of May 1991.

    The timing of the release clearly had its intended effect, and a January 1991 CTU poll found that the public had little awareness or understanding of the ECA.

  17. However laws are passed and enacted, the real test is in the working of them. If they don’t work and are misapplied then they earn their passers due reward.. these days they call that ‘lower political capital’. in due course it adds up to no political capital.

  18. QoT 18

    I’m with Zorr – I don’t give a frack if Labour did it, “Teacher teacher he hit me first” was a pathetic excuse for one’s behaviour in primary school and it’s a lot worse when grown adults are relying on it.

  19. Tigger 19

    Hastily drafted legislation is a breeding ground for lawsuits – both legitimately and simply designed to embarass the government (cf Electoral Finance Act). More work for lawyers.

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