Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, September 8th, 2016 - 111 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, national, national/act government, phil twyford, Politics, same old national - Tags: Iain Lees-Galloway
It may have been brief and passing but yesterday National lost control of Parliament.
And it was all their own fault.
Two days ago the out of control Nick Smith introduced a bill to do two things, extend the special housing area provisions by a further three years and stop land acquired under the Public Works Act for housing purposes from being offered back to the original owner if the Government decided to flick the land to a private developer rather than develop the land itself.
Fair enough that he should try and change the law but he introduced it as an urgent bill, which means no select committee scrutiny and no chance of public input. It was meant to be done and dusted quickly.
The first part of the bill, extending the SHA provisions was something that Labour could live with. But the second, removing buy back rights under the Public Works Act, should have gone through a select committee process as an absolute minimum. I described the provision as banana republic stuff a couple of days ago and stand by that. It is extraordinary that National and Act, parties who profess to respect private property rights, should be extinguishing someone’s rights in such an underhand and summary way.
But this created a problem which the Government appear to have overlooked. The two parts meant that the bill was an omnibus bill and this allowed Labour to then put up further parts by way of amendment.
Which they did. For one day plus the housing crisis was debated as the opposition put up measure after measure.
The amendments put up by Labour and the Greens and New Zealand First included:
Each measure was voted down, usually by the narrowest of margins.
But for one beautiful day the House of the Peoples representatives debated and discussed the housing crisis that inflicts our land and almost enacted policies that would address this most urgent of problems.
Iain Lees Galloway summed up the debate perfectly.
Roll on the elections 2017.
National has lost control of the House. Day being spent debating Labour housing policies. What it will be like when we #changethegovernment
— Phil Twyford (@PhilTwyford) September 7, 2016