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Good-bye rule of law

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, April 15th, 2011 - 10 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, Parliament - Tags:

I was going to write about how ludicrous it is that National is abandoning the idea of a warranty or bond system for builders in the new Building Act designed to stop a repeat of the leaky homes debacle, given that we’re about to embark on the largest rebuilding programme in the country’s history. But then I realised it no longer matters what laws say.

Now that Gerry Brownlee is king he can change nearly any law in any way he likes, and retrospectively too.

So what does it matter what Parliament passes or doesn’t pass? Whatever a law says, in a day, a month, or a year with a stroke of a pen Brownlee can make it something completely different and make it that it was always so.

A central tenant of the rule of law is that the people subject to law are able to know what it is. We no longer have that essential right. What you do today that you thought was legal may retrospectively become illegal tomorrow.

Enemies of Gerry Brownlee be wary.

I’ll end with a bit from Kennedy Graham’s speech yesterday:

I do this more in sorrow than anger but it is deep sorrow. Because it is arguably the most fundamental issue that can come before this House. That is to say, the granting of excessive powers to the government, to the cabinet, and to one person, the minister.

“In general”, says the Law Society, “Henry VIII clauses are contrary to the rule of law and good legislation principles.” Let that be written into the record of this House, just as we’re about to adopt these powers, let is be written in that is is contrary to the rule of law and good legislation principles. Contrary to the democratic imperative, as Dean Knight puts it.

Let us be clear and honest and transparent about what we are doing here. Those of us who are chatting to ourselves, those of us with our heads down – what do we have to say to the people of New Zealand when we are about to adopt these laws tonight? “Contrary to the rule of law”? To hell with it. To hell with it , we’ve got an extraordinary event, we’ve got an emergency on our hands, we’re going to rebuild Christchurch, so we’ll just override the democratic imperative. Simple as that.

Where there is a need for legislative amendments or suspends in order to facilitate the rebuilding effort, a better alternative would be for Parliament to dedicate House time for special legislation to deal with those matters as they arise. That is what we proposed in the Green Party. We are talking to deaf ears. And I think that the time will come – with respect to the minister and his officials and his government – the time will come when we will regret that.

10 comments on “Good-bye rule of law ”

  1. Tel 1

    How about a game of join the dots:
    Christchurch rebuild. Leaky homes. Hammer hand invasion of the construction industry. Incompetent Architects still in business by winding up limited liability companies. Architects earning CPD points to gain LBP by doing courses on how better “manage” their business. Gradual loss of trade skills has now lead to the blind leading the blind. Designers and Architects powerless to enforce design criteria under the upcoming LBP scheme. Complicated ineffective NZ Standards with weak minimum standards. Minimum standard are nearly always the target to be aimed for due to our construction costs. Sloppy workmanship. Too easy to sell untested, unsuitable for use (in NZ) products by cut and run supply companies that provide no long term support. Large building supply companies earning massive profits selling over priced shit. No warranty!
    Then again, maybe it’ll all work out just fine, and my 30 plus years of construction experience is just blinding me to the obvious truth that the Big Brown-lee-Rat and the market will sort it all out.

    Anti spam: Continually! This is true. NZ appears to be continually stuck in some form of unsustainable mobius strip of building crap, we then float in the simmering pot like the rest of the frogs http://thestandard.org.nz/boiling-the-frog/ and wonder why it all goes horribly wrong.

  2. ianmac 2

    In the Middle East people are protesting at huge personal risk, to gain a foothold on the right to democracy. Families and rebels are dying for the cause.
    In NZ there appears to be total disinterest in losing democracy under cover of the Christchurch Earthquake. However the moves against democracy by this Government predate the Earthquake. Like the abolition of the Ecan, and the abuse of Urgency.
    Why is there such disinterest in NZ? Are we too trusting?
    Is John Key the face of trust?

  3. JonL 3

    “In NZ there appears to be total disinterest in losing democracy under cover of the Christchurch Earthquake”
    It’s not just the Christchurch EQ…..they just seem totally disinterested…..period! As a participant in several other forums, it seems that those who can see what is going on, yell the loudest, are expats, living overseas……the locals, generally, don’t seem to give a toss, or, actually defend the process, with a mix of bilious hatred and shout down, toward anyone who actually gives a damn! The stupid thing about it is, most of these tossers are no better off than anyone else, but they all like to think they are – like rats squabbling over a tiny crumb of cheese, whilst the main block is sitting next to it!
    I totally despair of what has become of New Zealand – as do others I’m in contact with around the world……

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Interesting thing to realise though, it will only take two or three terms of a gutsy no holds barred Labour led Govt to sort NZ out for the many, for the next 25 years.

      • Shane Gallagher 3.1.1

        Yeah and there lies the problem; “gutsy… Labour..Govt”.

        As the Tui ad says… Yeah, right.

    • rosy 3.2

      summing up my view of our loss of democratic freedoms and the public response…

      It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election for Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.) 

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Liberty and the rights that come with it aren’t there by chance but by working everyday to maintain them and not letting those that would enslave us take them away.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Labour has now firmly put itself in the camp that will take them away.

  4. Marina777 4

    What goes around……………….comes around!

  5. Eddie 5


    you think it’s good that Brownlee has been made your dictator because you think, incorrectly, that labour did it too?

    truly bizarre.

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