web analytics

National’s repeated abuse of democratic process

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, October 19th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, national - Tags: ,

democracy-under-attack

The current National led government clearly regards the processes of democracy is an inconvenience to which it must pay lip service, but nothing more. The first signs appeared very early, with repeated abuse of the mechanism of urgency. This got to the point that even their fans at The Herald were moved to rebuke them:

Bulldozed rush of legislation makes mockery of democracy

It [National] has adopted a bulldozing approach that is disturbingly at odds with democratic Government. Gerry Brownlee would not even name the bills to be passed under urgency, but only the subject areas that they canvassed. Worse, he refused to give Opposition parties advance copies of any of the bills, until just before they were to be debated in Parliament.

The fact that the matters were being dealt with under urgency already meant that there would be no chance for public submission; there is no room in the action plan for tedious details such as the select committee process, by which interested parties get to express their view about proposed legislation. But the public was denied the opportunity to even see the legislation, because the Nats were producing for debate law that had not been completely drafted and officially tabled and therefore, under Parliament’s rules, cannot be formally published.

Extraordinarily, it was left to the Greens to scan paper copies and, in a samizdat-style operation reminiscent of the gulag-era Soviet Union, publish them on its own website. It is a state of affairs seriously at odds with the notion of a Parliamentary democracy.

It is entirely possible that National is in the grip of a first flush of legislative enthusiasm. If so, it will adopt a more measured pace in the new year. If not, there is cause for concern. The Clark administration was often described as taking a “nanny state” approach – but it did consult widely; the Nats, by contrast, are looking remarkably like bullies.

Unfortunately the misuse of urgency continued. The Herald seems to have lapsed back into comfortable quiescence, but No Right Turn is documenting it all for the record.

On top of urgency there is the abuse of the select committee process. One outrageous example was the treatment of Maori over the matter of Maori seats on the new Auckland Council. After the Hikoi Key advised Maori to wait patiently for the select committee: “we are going to go through the select committee process, that’s not a white wash we are actually going to listen to what happens there”. Liar. In the event of course the select committee process was ignored, and Key announced the decision that there would be no Maori seats before the select committee had even finished.

Another attempt to make a mockery of the committee process occurred last week, when National tried to force all submissions to the committee on the ETS to be heard in just one day. In all 160 submitters wanted to speak. National tried to cut that to 27, and to give each of them just 10 minutes to be heard. Universal outrage forced them to back down. But it was a travesty that this tactic was even attempted. Climate change is the most pressing global problem facing humanity, and National’s ETS is so inadequate and poorly conceived that it: “could add 8% of GDP to NZ’s debt by 2030, for a scheme that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment says cannot possibly help us meet even the Nat’s tiny pollution reduction targets”. Apparently to National none of that was even worth a real discussion. The mechanisms of democracy seem to be far too inconvenient for them. We should all just shut up and do as we’re told I guess.

[In case you missed it last week, see also Surveillance state]

15 comments on “National’s repeated abuse of democratic process”

  1. This is not ‘a first flush of legislative enthusiasm’. It is a reflection of the fundamental difference in approach and understanding of democracy between workers’ parties and parties of Capital. The former understand that democracy is hard fought, hard wonm and hard defended. The latter regard it, often, as a irritating constraint on a natural right to rule, and, therefore, something to be used and abused. Never forget that true neo-liberals believe that democracy involves the tyranny of the majority over the individual.

  2. burt 2

    So rOb

    The same rOb who defended Labour passing validations for illegal spending under urgency outside of the normal budget cycle to kill a standing court case against Helen Clark now complains about the use of urgency….

    The same rOb who defended urgency for the passing of the EFA, the same rOb who defended urgency for passing the ETS….

    Suddenly in opposition rOb understands… partisan muppet…

    • r0b 2.1

      Urgency exists for a reason Burt, and its use is sometimes appropriate. National are abusing it. It wasn’t me who first called them on this, it was The Herald. I guess they must be partisan muppets too. I see myself as Gonzo – perhaps The Herald as Statler and Waldorf?

      As for the rest of your lies, same old same old.

    • Come on Burt

      Labour took 10 months from go to wo to pass the ETS. There were 6 months of select committee hearings.

      National intends to take 2 months go to wo and wanted to have ONE DAY for the hearing of submissions. And this is to give the corporates $70 BILLION worth of credits over the next 40 or so years.

      And the EFA was introduced in July 2007 and passed 5 months later. Compared to the rush jobs that have occurred during this parliament that pace is perfectly leisurely.

      I will not try and explain the need for validating legislation because this will be way over your head.

      Good try though.

      BTW any comments about what this Government is doing rather than what the last Government may or may not have done?

  3. roger nome 3

    oh, good ol’ Burt, the conscientious memory of NZ’s political blogosphere. Too bad it’s a notoriously faulty one…

  4. roger nome 4

    “Worse, he refused to give Opposition parties advance copies of any of the bills”

    It was the same in 1991 with the Employment Contracts Act. I don’t know why anyone expected the born to rule Tories to be any different this time…

  5. Clarke 5

    I think the difference between the Left and the Right is that the Left thinks there is a democratically elected government in New Zealand, where the Right thinks there is a democratically elected dictatorship in New Zealand.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    They dont think of themselves as the “Ruling Class” for nothing, its because they get to make the rules

  7. Tigger 7

    Bully State.

  8. Murray 8

    As the latest polls show nobody really cares what labour voters think.
    Their stupid conspiracy theories only serve to show up labour and drive more people towards national.
    Websites like the Standard are proberly the best tools national has

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    Labour abused the Parliamentary process, National are abusing it more. Personally I don’t give a damn what Labour did because it’s done. I’ll bear it in mind if I ever get to vote again, and will be looking for some acknowledgement that they were too dictatorial… but that’s an attitude adjustment I’d want to see from every party.

    What concerns me now, and what ought to concern everybody now regardless of their party afilliation and regardless even of whether they think the legislation being rammed through this way is the best law they’ve ever seen, is that the Executive is abusing the Parliament.

    Parliament exists separately to the Executive for a very good reason; one that is fundamental to our system and one that, by definition must be allowed to operate properly if we are to lay claim to having a democracy.

    As each successive government gets away with eroding the foundation of democracy, so it weakens the basis on which the next government stands. That government then has the choice of rebuilding those foundations or continuing their erosion.

    Yet the only debateable point since the days of Muldoon has been the speed and extent to which each successive government has further destroyed its own legitimacy through its contempt for the Parliamentary process.

    The only way this will stop is if the media highlight it (so kudos to the Herald, The Standard, NRT and anyone else who does so) and if the people make it clear that they will vote only for those parties willing to respect the process.

  10. JD 10

    I made that point here about retrospective legislation but labour supporters were hell bent on legitimising its use because it was done by labour so I think your calls will fall on deaf ears.

  11. r0b 11

    I made that point here about retrospective legislation

    What point?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Police partnership programme with Fiji launched
    A new partnership programme between the New Zealand Police and Fiji Police will focus on combatting transnational organised crime and enhancing investigative skills, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on the first day of her visit to Fiji. The programme will see: ·       New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Joint statement from Prime Minister Ardern and Prime Minister Bainimarama
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met today in Suva, and renewed their commitment to continue to strengthen Fiji-New Zealand relations on a foundation of shared values and equal partnership. The Prime Ministers acknowledged the kinship between Fijians and New Zealanders, one that has endured over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • $19.9 million from PGF for Kawerau
    A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund will help develop essential infrastructure for an industrial hub in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “The funding will go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub, an industrial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • PGF funds Mahia roading package
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.3 million on a roading package for Mahia that will lead to greater and wider economic benefits for the region and beyond, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at an event in Mahia today. The $8.3 million announced consists of: $7 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • 18,400 children lifted out of poverty
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package.   Stats NZ has released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • 20,000 more Kiwi kids on bikes
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that Bikes in Schools facilities have been rolled out to 20,000 more kiwi kids under this Government. She made the announcement at the opening of a new bike track at Henderson North School in Auckland. “Bikes in Schools facilities give kids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago