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More Power to the man

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, July 1st, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: human rights, law and "order" - Tags:

So often, Parliamentary debates are pointless and pro forma. What a revelation, then, when Simon Power was so swayed by the Left’s MPs’ arguments that he hand-wrote an amendment to his Courts (Remote Participation) Bill guaranteeing defendants the right to choose to appear in person. A good day for rights. A good day for Parliament. Power for PM?

23 comments on “More Power to the man ”

  1. toad 1

    Yes, a very good look. Well done, Simon Power. I just wish he would similarly open his mind to the Law Commission’s and the Green Party’s arguments for drug law reform though.

  2. Pete 2

    Fantastic to hear, was positively reported on NatRad this morning:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mnr/2010/07/01/government_changes_court_video_law_at_last_minute

    Maybe Power needs to have a chat to Goudie:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1006/S00481.htm

  3. Lew 3

    Wonderful. Always had a bit of time for Simon Power as a principled Tory, but he’s outdone himself here. A politician who’s amenable to argumentation and prepared to back away from a bad idea, a rare bird indeed.

    Must be one hell of a debate.

    L

  4. vto 4

    oh i like that

  5. I am shocked. Reasoned debate wins and a rational decision is made.

    I wonder how the rednecks will respond to this?

    • toad 5.1

      Apparently, even David Garrett supported the amendment. His support base will be very disappointed in him.

      • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1

        ACT were very quiet in the sections of the debate I saw. I guess there was a difficulty in reconciling the libertarian beginnings of the party with the lock ’em up values they espouse today. I’m sure I saw smoke coming out of Roger Douglas’s ears as he tried to get his head around it!

        This was such an astonishing proposal that even the Tories were struggling to justify it. To recap, the original proposal would remove a right that has been in common law in English speaking countries for centuries. And it also removed the right of the victim to look the defendant in the eye, as well.

        Even as amended, I can see appeals coming where defence lawyers will claim that defendants were conned into giving up their right to appear in court due to bad advice, misunderstanding the process, etc. and therefore their convictions should be set aside.

        It’s a thoroughly piss poor piece of legislation and I hope it gets further emasculated as it moves through parliament.

  6. Bill 6

    Am I picking his up correctly?

    A Bill is put forward that contains detail so desperately bad it occasions the minister responsible to make an ad hoc, on the spot change. And instead of questioning the general competence of the minister who put such dog bollocks on the table in the first place, people think this makes the minister a great man?

    You cannot be being fucking serious.

    Please tell me our expectations have not been brought this low.

    • Lew 6.1

      Bill, the former is par for the course. The latter is rare and precious.

      L

      • Bill 6.1.1

        And that justifies a general fawning, how Lew?

        I couldn’t give a monkey’s if bad Bills being tabled are par for the course. I cannot see how this one being so bad as to warrant a ‘back of the envelope’ alteration can lead anyone to conclude that Power is a cut above the rest.

        What might appear as a ‘rare and precious’ moment was occasioned by a woefully inadequate Bill being tabled that the minister had obviously given no fucking thought whatsoever to. That’s either laziness or incompetence.

        So yeah, on the back of that, lets make a call for Power to be PM. Whatever.

        • Lew 6.1.1.1

          Surely you agree that good behaviour, however rare, ought to be praised and encouraged, just as bad behaviour ought to be criticised and punished?

          L

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.1

            How low have we come in our expectations of parliament and politicians that what would be considered as bog standard behaviour in many other walks of life becomes a reason to exalt?

            These guys are paid really quite handsomely to perform certain duties of office. They repeatedly claim that their experience and professionalism make them more suitable for the job than (say) me or you. They claim superiority and peddle on it.

            And people buy into it that. And are now suggesting that bog standard behaviour should see them, not simply awarded a ‘get out of jail free’ card for fucking up really badly on the fundamentals, but touted as suitable for the highest parliamentary office? Gee.

            If a footballer was particularly sporting we might acknowledge the unusualness of that in today’s sporting environment. But we wouldn’t suggest they become the head of the country’s football association. And if the footballer was particularly sporting in a situation where he had done something stupid, our acknowledgement would be that much more muted or even absent.

        • Bright Red 6.1.1.2

          Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of having debates if you damn someone for being wrong and then changing their mind as the result of the debate?

          It would have been churlish of Marty to respond to something good and rare by saying ‘whatever, you guys shouldn’t be fukking up in the first place’.

          If Power had behaved as ministers normally behave prisoners would now not have the right to appear in person at their trials. That the Left were able to sway him is something to be celebrated by the Left. It’s a victory for the Left and it’s to Power’s credit that he wasn’t too pig-headed to listen to good argument.

          It was a bad law but Power wasn’t above admitting it and the Left convinced him, resulting in a beter law – that’s how Parliament should work.

          “So yeah, on the back of that, lets make a call for Power to be PM”

          Power for PM = joke, I would have thought. Also, I would rather him than Key.

    • Bright Red 6.2

      obviously it should never have gotten to the house in the first place, but you can say that about most National legislation and a good deal of Labour legislation.

      The fact that a minister actually listened to reasonable objections raised in a debate and acted is nearly unheard of.

      Mostly debates are just sound and noise signifying nothing, Parliament is too often little more than a rubber stamp for a government with a firm majority.

      • Rex Widerstrom 6.2.1

        it should never have gotten to the house in the first place, but you can say that about most National legislation and a good deal of Labour legislation

        Which is why urgency is almost never justifiable. In the 93 – 96 Parliament, when a plethora of silly parties could bog down legislation, lost of consultation took place. I was forever in meetings, often on subject I didn’t understand with any depth (Winston was off speechifying and Tau wasn’t interested unless it was exlcusively a Maori issue) but even then I could sometime spot a flaw in a draft Bill simply by the application of common sense.

        Legislation during the last Labour government, and certainly this NACT one, has all the hallmarks of being cooked up by a very small group of people, all too vested in their own self-importance to admit to the possibility of their work having any imperfection.

        And you know who that just destroyed? Kevin Rudd and his “kitchen Cabinet” of just four Ministers who did the policy and his young and smug staff of 30-somethings who did the politics.

        Yes, bad legislation is par for the course and Power deserves no plaudits for having submitted it in the first place. But praise where it’s due – he was humble enough to admit it, and make changes and, as Bright Red says, that’s unheard of.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Unfortunately this will be used by lawyers , who would ‘advise’ their clients, so as to maximise delaying tactics

  8. ianmac 8

    The “plot” by trolls on this and other sites to destabilise Mr Goff’s leadership. We should shout long and loud that Mr Power for PM! Key is a tired spent force. He is fickle and inconsistent and should step aside and let a real Leader take over. Power for Power.
    It is for the National Party’s own good of course.

    • Armchair Critic 8.1

      Too right, if we have to have a National government can we at least have the best of the bunch for PM? And IMO Simon Power is the best of the bunch.

  9. BLiP 9

    Well done r Power – I’m surprised but pleasantly so.

  10. Tui 10

    I heard him interviewed by Kathryn Ryan this morning. Impressive. How are the numbers stacking up ?

    • ianmac 10.1

      About 17 votes for Key and 37 for Power.
      Clearly Key has lost the plot and the confidence of the caucus.
      All Power for Power.

  11. Maggie 11

    While agreeing that the appalling clause regarding video trials should never have gone forward in the first place, you have to admire Power for having that guts to front up in the Chamber and admit that, for now at least, he has changed his view. Kudos should also go to Lian Dalzell, Kennedy Graham and Hone Harawira for reasoned, intelligent, empassioned speeches which helped turn the tide.

    In a Cabinet crammed full of dimwits, Power stands out as intelligent, pragmatic and articulate. A pleasant change from people like Key, Paula Bennet and Pansy Wong.

    As for being party leadership material, Power’s liberal atitudes might not go down too well with corporate donors and the rural rump, though.

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