National is finding new exploitative ways to try save their by-election campaign in Mana.
Last week, Parliament’s Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee announced that the House will go into Urgency between 16 and 18 November. Urgency is the government’s way of speeding up legislation by enabling the House to sit for longer hours. It was recently used to pass the Hobbit Act.
But it’s clear that National has a secondary agenda.
Instead of granting Urgency during the first week of the next sitting session, Brownlee chose the second week. This seems odd given that if there were bills that were truly urgent, surely National would take the first opportunity to try and pass them.
So why would National call Urgency in the second week?
The second sitting week is also the final week of the Mana by-election campaign. Certainly, Urgency will tie up many Labour MPs who were otherwise planning to spend the final few days on the campaign trail in Mana. National will also be aware of Labour’s added difficulty of getting regular supporters to canvass during the working week.
However, National’s sole asset in Mana is John Key, who makes rare appearances in the House at the best of times. Urgency will barely stand in the way of Key’s enduring strategy of one-man photo-opportunities.
So for the most vital week of the by-election campaign, National will manipulate parliamentary process to help their campaign for Mana.
Obviously, this is grossly inappropriate. It’ll be interesting to see what lame bills Brownlee decides are ‘urgent’.