Select committees are very important parts of the Parliamentary process. They take Bills that have gone through first reading, hear submissions, and recommend alterations. Ministers do not (usually) sit on them and they are not meant to be mere rubber stamps for the government. But Hone Harawira’s removal from the foreshore committee shows this government doesn’t care about all that.
No-one seems able to recall another instance of a party pulling one of its select committee members against their will.
How insulting is it of Tariana Turia to say that Harawira was removed because she wanted someone with an ‘open mind’ on the committee? Is Harawira’s mind any more closed that Flavell’s? No. Both have an opinion on the Bill as it stands. Both are quite capable of listening the submissions and coming up with recommendations.
The truth is that Turia and the rest of the government don’t want a real select committee process. They just want a rubber stamp on their Bill.
This isn’t the first time that the Maori Party and National have colluded to frustrate the role of select committees. Local Government Minister John Carter was put on the select committee for the supercity legislation, a clear breach of separation of powers convention. And who can forget the pathetic display as Rahui Katene attempt to repress her own minority report against the Government’s gutting of the ETS after Turia made a last minute deal behind her back to support it.
Turia is a sell-out. And, along with National, she clearly puts no weight on the Parliamentary rules that are designed to aid good lawmaking.
As for Harawira, Turia says it’s up to him whether he stays in the Maori Party or leaves. There’s only one option if he wants to stand true to his principles.