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Lucky Labour – disgraceful Speaker

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, October 16th, 2015 - 37 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, housing, law, national, Parliament, quality of life - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday there was another draw of member’s bills, and Labour (leaders!) had the best of it. Here’s I/S at No Right Turn:

Drawn

A ballot for four member’s bills was held today and the following bills were drawn:

  • Education (Restoration of Democracy to University Councils) Amendment Bill (David Cunliffe)
  • Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill (Jian Yang)
  • Electricity Transparency Bill (David Shearer)
  • Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) (Andrew Little)

Of these, the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) is the most interesting. Its essentially a re-run of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which failed to pass on a tied vote back in March. But there’s been a by-election since then, not to mention several dead kids due to poor housing, so there’s now a Parliamentary majority for its passage. And because it doesn’t require government spending, National can’t veto it.

While all three Labour bills are good news, I/S was right that the Healthy Homes (No 2) was particularly great, with National’s loss in Northland meaning there was probably a majority for getting it through. But it seems like the Nats really don’t want healthy homes for renters, after stooping this low (I/S again):

A new low from Speaker Carter

This morning Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) was drawn from the member’s ballot. There is a majority for the bill, and I was wondering how National would try and stop it (since its non-financial they can’t use the veto). And now we know: at the beginning of Question Time Speaker David Carter invoked Standing Order 264(a) (which prohibits bills which are the “same in substance” as a bill already voted on being proposed in the same calendar year) and essentially threatened that he would rule the bill out of order unless it was delayed. The problem? The ruling is bullshit – the bill is not “the same in substance” as the earlier version, at least under the usual understanding of Standing Orders.

Member’s bills have long followed this guidance, both to avoid pre-ballots and to avoid being ruled out of order if they won. … Twyford’s bill allocated the power to set standards to EECA, while Little’s one gives it to MBIE. Both require landlords to follow those standards, but the different regulator makes them different bills.

Carter should have noticed this. The fact that he didn’t tells us that he didn’t bother to read the two bills before ruling and that he is an incompetent, partisan hack who is unfit to be Speaker. The sooner he gets shuffled off, the better.

Little and Labour are clearly not amused, see Labour accuses Speaker of ‘massive political interference’ over veto move. This press release doesn’t pull any punches:

Nats play politics while Kiwi kids die in homes

The Speaker’s decision to not read my Healthy Homes Bill smacks of political interference from a Government that is more concerned with playing politics than stopping children dying in cold damp homes, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“My Healthy Homes Bill offers solutions to this national disgrace now. “But instead of helping to push the legislation through quickly National has clearly had a word in the Speaker’s ear, leading him to make an unprecedented decision to stop the bill being read this year.

“Labour followed the correct process when lodging this Bill and consulted with the Clerk of the House to ensure the wording and aims were substantially different enough from Phil Twyford’s previous Healthy Homes Bill, which failed by one vote, to allow it to be in the ballot. “With National subsequently losing the Northland by-election they are down a vote and there is a good chance the bill will pass. It should not be delayed.

“The ruling raises serious questions about political interference. The Speaker must say whether this issue was raised with him by the Government after the Bill was drawn today or if he himself put pressure on the Clerk,” says Andrew Little.

Political rhetoric can sometimes get a little heated, but I think on this occasion the claim is correct – and bears repeating – Nats play politics while Kiwi kids die in homes.

37 comments on “Lucky Labour – disgraceful Speaker ”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Its been obvious for a long time that the Nats don’t really care at all about ordinary people. Shonkey bows’n’scrapes in front of royalty, laps up praise from Obama, and
    turns his dead eyes away from the people he owes his position to. Disgusting !

    • Detrie 1.1

      It’s like dating a sociopath. They say all the nice things on TV interviews, but behind the scenes are unfeeling despicable individuals – Politics and power before people, especially those they believe didn’t vote for them on election day. Sadly though many likely did vote for them, thinking they would have some heart.
      http://bit.ly/johnkeysociopath

  2. dukeofurl 2

    Was this the same Carter who had his selection to run in a safe seat overturned by nationals hierarchy, as even by their standards it was far too dodgy.

  3. Nor Argle 3

    I have to disagree here. While Carter is a horrendous speaker, I think in this case he was trying to do the right thing.

    If he really was playing politics, he would of just declared the bill out of order, right then and there. The fact that he said that he would only do so if Little read his bill during the calendar year, indicates to me he was trying to be fair. Since Parliament is likely to only sit for another month, this was likely to happen any way.

    (Also I/S at No Right Turn was completely off the mark on this issue. Carter highlighted the differences between the two bills in his ruling, so he must of read both of them. He just ruled that having changed the regulator is not a substantive difference (Which while debatable, is not a unreasonable opinion to hold.))

  4. Observer (Tokoroa) 4

    A sad aspect of National’s disregard for these Bills is that the Greens will be delighted to see Labour’s treatment at the hands of the Speaker and John Key.

    Given the importance of health and warmth in family homes in our wet cold climate, it is disgraceful that the numerous Green camp on this site will take gleeful pleasure.

    But of course national only play with Labour. The greens consistently hate Labour.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      🙄

    • tracey 4.2

      Can you give ten examples to show that “The greens consistently hate Labour”?

      • Observer (Tokoroa) 4.2.1

        Hello Tracey

        II take it you fully endorse Colonial Vipers shameful dismissal of Andrew Little’s recent remarks on Radio New Zealand.

        In brief, Little said that if the TPP Agreement is passed, and if a Corporate Body attempted to undermine the Sovereignty of New Zealand’s Parliament, Labour would flout the attempt.

        Colonial Viper and the legion of Green commentators rubbished Little’s stand. Lacking finesse they dressed their remarks in Fuck and shit .language. As they usually do Tracey.

        While I flout your pretence of saying there are not even 10 anti labour posts on this site, I will invite you to answer if any serious Nation would allow any foreign corporate body to crush their Sovereignty.

        Would Canada hand over it’s sovereignty? USA perhaps?

        Apparently the Greens here would …..

        [lprent: If you’d read the site for even a little bit of time, you’d have found out that CV is a active Labour party member. I have no idea if Tracey has any political party affliations as a supporter or member. I’m a semi-detached member of the NZLP.

        But clearly you are a life member of the “idiots with a polite language fixations” society. Read our policy rather than trying to invent rules for us. There are no restrictions on language. We want robust debate. Moderators draw the line on pointless abuse or comments that exclude others. But outside of legal restrictions we couldn’t give a shit about fucking Mrs Grundys like you who can’t argue without moaning about the behaviour that is permissible on this site.

        However, you will note in the policy, that we don’t like lazy critics who try to tell us how we run our site. This is your warning about repeating that stupid behavior. ]

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          🙄

          CV is a Labour Party member.

          This site is not affiliated with The Greens or Labour.

          I note you failed, like an abject total failure, to come up with a single example of the Greens bagging Labour. Were you lying or just incompetent?

          • Observer (Tokoroa) 4.2.1.1.1

            Hi there OAB

            The Greens are so lucky to have you. The Greens are lucky to have the voluble CV too. For your info, voluble is not the same as valuable.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Hey, lying person, I am not affiliated with the Greens. If you don’t tell lies, your argument will fall over and show everyone what a failure you are.

              What a dilemma.

    • Sacha 4.3

      The Greens campaigned on a rental WoF policy years before Labour adopted it. Nobody except slumlords and lazy speculators will be happy about this.

    • Stuart Munro 4.4

      The Green attitude to Labour is not hatred – more like disappointment – more in sorrow than in anger.

  5. reason 5

    National do not want to help poor kids by spending any money ………

    National want to help poor kids by letting charter schools make money from their education ……………

  6. Tracey 6

    “Labour followed the correct process when lodging this Bill and consulted with the Clerk of the House to ensure the wording and aims were substantially different enough from Phil Twyford’s previous Healthy Homes Bill, which failed by one vote, to allow it to be in the ballot. ”

    Twyford needs to immediately, if he hasn’t already, release the documented communications between he and the clerk.

  7. tracey 7

    “Labour followed the correct process when lodging this Bill and consulted with the Clerk of the House to ensure the wording and aims were substantially different enough from Phil Twyford’s previous Healthy Homes Bill, which failed by one vote, to allow it to be in the ballot. ”

    Twyford needs to immediately, if he hasn’t already, release the documented communications between he and the clerk to show the substantial differences as viewed by the clerk? If it is just a difference in the Dept overseeing it, and everything else is the same, then I can see why the speaker made that ruling.

    Is there any discretion attached to the Rule or was it mandatory if the Speaker felt it was substantially the same?

    • Melb 7.1

      The bills are linked to here.

      Comment from discussion .

      • tracey 7.1.1

        So that leaves the issue of whether the Speaker had any discretion in his decision.

        However, it seems they knew if could be a problem, hence their consultation with the Clerk of the House. I wonder if such communications are covered by confidentiality? Of course both parties could waive it if it were.

        “Agencies supporting Parliament
        Office of the Clerk
        The Office of the Clerk is the House of Representatives’ secretariat. We help the Clerk of the House to provide the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives with specialist parliamentary procedure and legal advice, and professional and administrative services.”

        “What we do

        The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives is the legislature’s secretariat. It is an Office of State, which provides specialist advice on procedure and parliamentary law ”

        http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/parl-support/agencies/ooc/who/00CLOOCAdminAgenciesOOCAboutWhat1/what-we-do

        • dukeofurl 7.1.1.1

          I think they will say, The Clerk offers only advice, and the final ruling is the Speakers choice.

          • tracey 7.1.1.1.1

            “to provide the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives with specialist parliamentary procedure and legal advice,”

            Like Departments, the Clerk, is the expert, not the Minister or Speakers.

            The Speaker ought to be taking the advice of the Clerk on specialist parliamentary procedure. Theoretically it would be the same advice Twyford, or his Whip received.

            I get that is what the Speaker would say, but the decision has to be base don something. In this case a disagreement with his Clerk Office on what “substantially” means. If they have to, Labour needs to force the Speaker to get to the point where he more or less says cos I said so”.

            • Melb 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Well when even I/S lists the new version of a bill as “essentially a rerun” how are you arguing that the two are not the same in substance?

              Because that is the crux of the issue – are the bills too similar or not?

    • alwyn 7.2

      Even No Right Turn accepts that they are basically the same bill.
      As he said in his post, and as it is quoted above
      “Its essentially a re-run of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which failed to pass on a tied vote back in March.”
      If it is only a re-run of a previously considered bill, as he seems to think, then Carter was correct to rule it out of order.
      I would also like to see what correspondence, if there really is any, exists between the Labour Party and the Clerk of the House.
      Come on Labour, show us.

      • Sacha 7.2.1

        Using the same name for both bills wasn’t so smart either.

      • r0b 7.2.2

        You need to read NRT’s second post on the technical differences, and also the Labour press release: “Labour followed the correct process when lodging this Bill and consulted with the Clerk of the House to ensure the wording and aims were substantially different enough from Phil Twyford’s previous Healthy Homes Bill … to allow it to be in the ballot.”

        The correct procedure was followed, the Speaker overruled his own officials for partisan political reasons.

        • alwyn 7.2.2.1

          “consulted with the Clerk of the House “, you say.

          Well why don’t they just release any correspondence that exists on the matter and prove it? Then we might have something to justify claims about ” the Speaker overruled his own officials for partisan political reasons”.

          Incidentally I don’t see anything in NRTs second post that really changes the opinion given in the first post that it was essentially the same bill and the wording change made was only a cosmetic difference.

          • tracey 7.2.2.1.1

            Look at you, arguing my point for me 😉

            • alwyn 7.2.2.1.1.1

              Ah well. As the Bible says in Isaiah 11.6.

              ” The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. “.

              I think it would probably be a short lived truce though.

              Alternatively I could quote William Booth, Salvation Army Founder.
              “Why should the Devil have all the good music”.

              • tracey

                I think we have managed to agree on a few things over the time here alwyn, and in a courteous way?

        • Smilin 7.2.2.2

          What we have come to expect from Nationalcorp
          What always concerns me is the blatant actions of National to pervert the efforts of MPs to promote bills in the house, by the primary speaker being influenced, manipulated, it would appear on numerous occasions by National and its cohorts to gain the upper hand on major bills drawn .
          Maybe if there was speakers who were not members of the house but qualified in adjudication specifically designed for the parliament then the bias so often used to control opposition to the govts undemocratic denials of the bills based purely on maintaining their perceived majority in being right and just, even though there are many in this country who oppose what they do as it happens in the house
          We unlike many parliaments do not have the luxury of an upper house and in my opinion the presents govt has shown just how vulnerable our governing process is to becoming severely dysfunctional and blatantly undemocratic and really with this government not fit to govern this country

      • RedLogix 7.2.3

        Inclined to agree alwyn.

        Labour mis-handled this again, left the Speaker a loop hole a mile wide to leap through and are now ramping up the snarly rhetoric.

        I totally agree that the entire domestic rental business in the country is desperately overdue major, wide ranging and courageous reform. Bills like this which only tackle parts of the problem are not especially helpful.

        Labour – bonus points for trying on an important issue – yellow card for flubbing it again.

  8. Bob 8

    This looks to me like Labour had a great opportunity to land a serious blow to National on this and completely ballsed it up by going straight into innuendo:
    “But instead of helping to push the legislation through quickly National has clearly had a word in the Speaker’s ear, leading him to make an unprecedented decision to stop the bill being read this year”, proof of anyone having a word in the speakers ear? And ““The ruling raises serious questions about political interference. The Speaker must say whether this issue was raised with him by the Government after the Bill was drawn today or if he himself put pressure on the Clerk,” any proof of political interference?

    How about getting facts together (take the Clerks notes to the Speaker with a please explain, use these details to either say ‘The speaker is directly undermining the Clerk of the House, here is the proof’ or ‘After discussions with the Speaker, he has agreed with the Clerk of the House and over-ruled his previous decision, his initial move to exclude the bill clearly shows his clear political bias, we would like the Speaker stood down effect of immediately’ and laying a potentially significant blow, rather than flying off the handle with no proof. Labour have cried wolf too many times, no-one listens anymore.

  9. Ed 9

    I would like to see a bill put forward by every individual Labour and Green MP, with each bill having different provisions – such as the date by which houses may be compliant, the definition of standards heating, insulation, indoor temperatures, ventilation, draft stopping, drainage etc (they need not be large differences, and are subject to change through the select committee process anyway), on exemptions for certain dwellings (eg homes with a rental agreement where the rent is over a particular dollar figure, etc.

    I don’t think that Labour was in error at all – they just didn’t expect the Speaker to “game”the system in this way. The comments about a split between opposition parties do not appear to have any substance – just innocent left supporters finding government supporter spin superficially attractive.

    As others have pointed out, it is still likely to be discussed next year, but the delay is disappointing.

  10. Goldie 10

    I used to work at Parliament. The Speaker’s decision would be made on the advice of the clerk of the House.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      This speaker pays scant regard to precedent, process, and standing orders. So no, he “wouldn’t”.

  11. Bea Brown 11

    There is a new clerk who may not have spotted any problem.

  12. Observer (Tokoroa) 12

    To Stuart Munro

    I don’t think the Greens realise just how negative they are, I would have thought they could have been pleased with parliamentarians trying to get important health and family Bills through a selfish money centric Government.

    But no. For the Greens it is Labour’s fault.

    Why are the greens so disappointed with everybody but themselves?

    Seems so immature to me. However. I exclude the immediate past Leader Russell Norman from that criticism. He was an outstanding Green.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Hey, lying person, your argument’s a failure. You just tried to prop it up with a bunch of lies about me, and you failed. Running away to the bottom of the page like it never happened much?

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