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Let them have gardening leave…

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 pm, August 17th, 2020 - 25 comments
Categories: election 2020, Politics - Tags:

Over at No Right Turn, Idiot Savant points out the following about the month delay in the election when talking about the parliamentary implications (my bold).

Parliament will now resume on Tuesday, though it has a pretty light Order Paper. Most of its business will likely be accountability – I expect an urgent debate on the current outbreak – and any necessary Covid legislation. We’ll also get another Member’s Day, which should see Ginny Andersen’s miscarriage leave bill advance. But having done the usual end-of-term rush to clear away business, there’s now less for them to do unless another crisis happens. A bunch of retired MPs will now have to come back to work as well, which they will no doubt hate. But at least with current border restrictions, they are unlikely to have fled the country.

No Right Turn: “Delayed

I was contemplating this and thinking that it is a colossal waste of time for the Members of Parliament who have retired from the fray to be dragged back into parliament. Sure the current government and ministers have work to do. Even the MPs who are trying to get voters to stay in the next parliament do as well. But retiring MPs? That seems unlikely.

I can’t see how there is any real legislative work that could be realistically proceeded to fruition. Any that could have been finished would have been done before Tuesday last week. There are a sizeable cohort of MPs who were retiring. I’m not sure if this Newshub display is all of them, but that is nearly a sixth of parliament in the photo.

Newshun: “NZ Election 2020: MPs retiring from Parliament at election

What will happen is that any plans those MPs leaving had during that extra mouth are put on hold. While we may have to pay them because Judith Collins and Winston Peters would like more time to shore up their poll numbers, I suspect that most will simply not want to be in parliament.

I think that the parties should just pair them off. Let the electorate MPs resign if they want to – it is too close to the election to hold by-elections. Don’t bring any bills forward that would be contentious – which is pretty much where the legislative program is already. We’re in holding pattern until the election anyway because the political system has been largely shifted into election mode already.

I really can’t see the point in a sham display at parliament while we wait for the delayed election. But I’m sure that there will be some emotional puritans out there who’d disagree. So tell me why you’d think differently – and why it is worth it.

25 comments on “Let them have gardening leave… ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Was Maggie Barry on gardening leave?

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Is Sarah Dowie really writing the screen-play for a movie, "The Witches of Southland", and Paula Bennett penning a stage-show, "The Westie-side Story"?

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    The only ones who need to be in parliament ATM are those that make up cabinet and the only reason for that is administrative stuff that's going to come up.

    All the rest can stuff off home and try not to pass around the virus.

  4. Pat 4

    Is there any requirement/enforcement of MPs attendance in the house?…and if so is it enforced by the Whips or tghe Speaker, or who?

    Could see a situation where retiring MPs simply fail to attend and no one takes issue.

    • Craig H 4.1

      In the Electoral Act, vacancies/removal are covered by section 55, but MPs are only removed due to absence if they are absent for a whole session without leave. A session is usually the whole term of Parliament and a session ends usually by dissolution of Parliament or occasionally by prorogation of Parliament (last occurred in NZ in 1991) – Parliament website explains further.

      Parliamentary Standing Orders cover absence including leave and "punishment" for lack of attendance without leave – to be recorded in the journals as absent. Permission to be absent is given by the Speaker for independent MPs and MPs of parties with only one MP, and by Party Leaders/Whips for other MPs.

      To actually answer the question (Pat at 4 – issues replying directly for some reason), nothing happens other than MPs being recorded as absent if leave hasn't been given.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        Thankyou…i have since searched for an answer and found that apparently they can have pay deducted but only if they are considered absent without approval…and that approval can be provided by either the Whip or Speaker…it would appear that there needs to be a complaint before action.

        And in extreme circumstance they can be removed though that hasnt happened in recent times.

  5. PaddyOT 5

    Perhaps with any new developments from Covid19 re-emergence, the Government has constitutionally diminished power. Parliament is needed to legislate any of Government's major measures, new spending an example eg. " Without a parliament any government would run out of money pretty quickly. Only Parliament can approve the bills that provide cash to run the country."


  6. observer 6

    If an MP resigns they cannot un-resign. That is different from announcing an intention to resign/retire.

    So Falloon is gone and cannot legally return, under any circumstances at all. But (e.g.) Nikki Kaye or Iain Lees-Galloway could still return.

    Parliament has not ended, and it is possible (however unlikely or undesirable) that it could be extended again. An intended election date has been announced, but until the dissolution of Parliament, that date is no more guaranteed than Sept 19 was.

    MPs get paid for 3 months after the election. So they have just picked up an extra month's salary for doing nothing. They can do some work now. If I have a problem, I want my local MP for Auckland Central to pick up the phone and help. I don't expect to be told there is nobody in the office until November.

    • PaddyOT 6.1

      Observer , genuine question

      How in this new NZ scenario of a parliament reconvening after closing for an election , do the two rules below operate on those who retired/resigned? No one was "expulsed" .

      The Cabinet Manual states that in New Zealand, in the period immediately before a general election, the Government is not bound by the caretaker convention (unless the election has resulted from the Government losing the confidence of the House). MPs are then still MPs.

      Chapter 8 Parties and Government – New Zealand Parliament.

      Under section ,
      "Parliamentary party membership"

      Rule A: "The House is concerned with the parliamentary membership of the parties, which are recognised for parliamentary purposes. These details must be advised to the Speaker.[67] The Speaker must also be informed of any change in a party’s parliamentary membership.[68] A party’s membership may change during the term of a Parliament as a result of a member ceasing to be a member of Parliament (by death, resignation or disqualification), of other members being elected to Parliament in its interest, of a member resigning from the parliamentary party but continuing to sit as a member of Parliament, or of a member being expelled from the parliamentary party. The last two instances raise consequential issues as to the member’s continuing status in the House.

      But in all cases parliamentary membership is determined entirely under the House’s own rules, its Standing Orders.[69] "

      Then B: Under, "
      "Resignation from the parliamentary party." another example is given-:

      From 21 December 2001 to 17 September 2005 (polling day for the 2005 general election) any member who resigned as a parliamentary member of the political party for which the member was elected automatically vacated his or her parliamentary seat.[77]


      • observer 6.1.1

        AFAIK only Andrew Falloon has resigned. All the others have announced they will, but none have yet, so they are still MPs.

  7. ScottGN 7

    Presumably the Auckland MPs (assuming they are at home) won’t be travelling to Wellington anyway.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    It is suggested, albeit somewhat obliquely, by an exceptional political commentator, that congregating in parliament facilitates their progress toward their eternal reward. Argozoth seems to have an important ecological role – we shouldn't hinder him.

  9. Corey Humm 9

    I'm looking forward to Amy Adams unretiring again.

    • lprent 9.1

      Actually I’d agree – she was competent. I’m pretty sure that she won’t. And I’m sure that having nothing much to do apart from watching Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee grandstanding won’t impress her.

  10. PaddyOT 10

    Parliament TV saying House sitting at 2pm tomorrow. The coming face to face again after the knifings should be somewhat tense.

    Spithoods maybe in order.


  11. tc 11

    I’ll miss Hughes. Straight shooter who called out the current lack of progression pre covid, enjoy the whanau Gareth.

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      Perhaps he and his family are already roaming free on Quarantine Island – it would be cruel to drag him back into the House!

  12. Gabby 12

    I shouldn't imagine gnatsies would be able to contemplate the notion of being paid to do nothing with anything but horror. They would rather resign en masse. Surprised Big Brown hasn't demanded it of them yet.

    [If you stop these BB remarks, maybe others are less likely to make similar lowbrow comments, yes? Thanks – Incognito]

  13. RedBaronCV 13

    Make them turn up – if they are annoyed enough with any luck they may start dishing any dirt on the nacts. Besides won't Judith want the pulpit?

  14. Ed1 14

    Social distancing suggests they should not want more than about half MPs there anyway. All that the government need is one more in attendance than the Opposition.

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