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Paid parental leave bill progress towards anti-democratic veto

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, May 26th, 2016 - 49 comments
Categories: babies, families, human rights, labour, law, national, quality of life - Tags: , , ,

Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave passed its second reading last night – bravo to all those who supported it! Unfortunately the bill is progressing towards inevitable veto:

Increased paid parental leave a no-go as Government promises to veto it

Getting 26 weeks paid parental leave for Kiwi Mums and Dads has passed its second hurdle in Parliament, but it won’t get across the line because of a Government veto.

Finance Minister Bill English confirmed on Wednesday that he still intends to use the financial veto to block the bill, introduced by Labour MP Sue Moroney.

The financial veto was introduced by Nats in 1998 and has been modified several times since. It has been used several times before – but always to veto “non-contentious amendments to larger bills”. This will be the first time it has ever been used to to shut down a whole bill.

In this case the use of the veto is anti-democratic, overruling the will of Parliament. The cost of the bill, estimates at $150 million a year, is a drop in the government’s budget which could be easily afforded (today’s Budget is reputed to reveal $1.6bn in “new” spending). If this bill is passed by Parliament it should not be vetoed.

49 comments on “Paid parental leave bill progress towards anti-democratic veto ”

  1. Sabine 1

    Well the Government can give either 3 billion worth of Tax Cuts to deserving Kiwis or the government can give exteneded parental leave to people who are obviously not able to afford to take unpaid leave after having a child. And why would the government help people that have children they obviously can’t afford.

    Clearly, we all see the hard choices Bill English has to make. Paid Parental leave for Worker Drones, or Tax Cuts for deserving people like him.

    Democracy? ah, who cares.

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    I’m probably unusual for a progressive in that I don’t support extending paid parental leave or working for families (and also want to keep the Queen as head of state).

    • AmaKiwi 2.1

      Regrettably the Labour caucus is as anti-democratic as the Nats. NZ First is our best hope for direct democracy.

      For the last 20 years NZ First has always included binding referendums in their party platform.

      By contrast, every Labour leader from Helen Clark to David Cunliffe has denigrated any proposals that would stop a Labour government from being just another elected dictatorship. Labour’s mantra: “Parliament is sovereign.”

      (Note: I have personally asked everyone of them. I have not yet asked Andrew Little.)

      • alwyn 2.1.1

        “I have not yet asked Andrew Little”.

        A waste of time I’m afraid. He will say that he will set up a panel of experts to examine the matter and will request that they report their findings within four years, thus shifting it back until after the next election. Then, should a miracle have occurred and Labour are still in power, a second group will be chosen to examine whether any changes should be made. They will have another four years to return their report. By that time any Labour Government will be out of power and nothing will happen.
        etc, etc, etc.

      • DoublePlusGood 2.1.2

        Direct democracy would just lead to a tragedy of the commons where stupid nonsense like the antismacking referendum would get implemented into law.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1

          There is no Tragedy of the Commons if we have adequate regulation. The poisoning of our waterways by farmers is because we don’t have adequate regulation.

          The anti-smacking referendum is a good example of how well funded interest groups can pervert democracy for their own aggrandisement by loudly proclaiming false information. Considering the lies that the groups who wanted to stop the repeal of section 59 told the managers of those groups should have ended up in jail and the groups heavily fined.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.2.2

          Agreed. I don’t want binding referendums initiated by the public, because I don’t trust the public.

          It seems unlikely we would repeal things like same-sex marriage, but euthanasia and potentially abortion could be targets for the majority to quash progressive change.

          • te reo putake 2.1.2.2.1

            Exactly right, Lanthanide. If the public had their way we’d be hanging criminals and merrily beating our children. We vote for leadership, not knee jerk populism. Sometimes the leadership isn’t great, but it’s better than being ruled by talkback radio.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.2

            Euthanasia and abortion are majority supported by the populace in general. It’s a few loud minorities that are holding the MPs back from making the decision to allow them and, of course, the MPs own biases and ideology.

            This can be said for many policies. Marijuana legalisation is another.

            The We know what’s best for you argument is always a bad argument as it’s not actually an argument but an excuse to maintain dictatorship.

            • DoublePlusGood 2.1.2.2.2.1

              And yet the public would also probably vote to remove the unemployment benefit in a direct democracy referendum.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Unless such went against the Bill of rights.

                But, to be honest, I don’t think that they would. Also, I think we’d probably have a better chance of getting a UBI through direct democracy. Again, it’s a policy that seems favoured by the majority (only seen the unscientific polling which was in favour).

          • AmaKiwi 2.1.2.2.3

            @ Lathanide

            “I don’t want binding referendums initiated by the public, because I don’t trust the public.”

            You trust John Key? Donald Trump? You trust a NZ version of the extremist groups gaining power all across Europe?

            In the end someone gets the final say. I have more faith in my neighbors and my ability to talk sense to them than I do in the 1% to do anything except stuff their pockets at my expense (while they record all Nickie Hager’s and my conversations).

            How bad does it have to get before you admit that elected dictators are dangerous?

      • Macro 2.1.3

        Sorry – but if this is what you call democracy – I want nothing of it!
        This is just stupid behaviour by NZ First. This was a Bill designed to increase transparency and accountability in government and just because one party has a snitch against another they act like kids in the playground. Once NZ First grow up and start acting for the benefit of NZers then they will gain more respect.

  3. jcuknz 3

    I would think it is quite reasonable for those having to find the money have the final word.
    In any case there are too many children being procreated in NZ ..ie a woman of 28 with eight or is it ten children is the latest headline case … completely irresponsible. There are numerous examples of smaller families. couples should have the number of children the family income can properly support without govt subsidies. With assistance being provided when family circumstances change for reasons out of their control.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      @ jcuknz

      I think the issue is the importance of infants being cared for by their parents. I don’t think the issue is population management.

      “There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.” If the shoe was properly insulated, did her children smell like dirty socks? Why didn’t WINZ help her? Is this writer “one toke over the line, sweat Jesus”? Go ask Alice.

      • jcuknz 3.1.1

        Sorry Amakiwi but the thread is about democracy rather than child welfare and my key point was it is the funder who has the final word rather than half baked idealism … which may or may not have a basis.

        • AmaKiwi 3.1.1.1

          @ jcuknz

          “my key point was it is the funder who has the final word rather than half baked idealism”

          Jcuknz, you and I are the funders. You and I have NO say.

          It is OUR country, not Parliament’s.

          • jcuknz 3.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps I should have used the word ‘allocater’ rather than funder, but I am sure that could be twisted too.
            If we cut out WFF subsidies to those that might expect them in the future [ note grandfather principle beloved by the left] then families could make a sensible choice to use contraceptives or not.
            When I and my wife raised our family’s single child the benefit was for the child but silly polies changed it. We as a unit have had a much better lifestyle than neighbors with less income and more children. even though we were limited at the time, all the time including today, but sensible people cut their cloth to suit their income.

    • Sabine 3.2

      i too would approve of vasectomies of all man that are of the legal age to have sex.

      When they, in the future, can prove that not only can they help make babies, but also can afford them – even after they split from the mother and child – can they have a vasectomy reversal.

      And of course i would like to see free visits to doctors for the ladies, so that they can get the reproductive healthcare they need, that would also include a. free access to the pill (cause condoms just don’t feel right you know), free access to any other pregnancy preventing device, free morning after pill, free and easy access to abortion.

      And of course i would like to see education that focuses on sexual reproduction irrespective of ‘abstinence only’ or in ‘marriage only’ type situations. How are babies made? And how do we prevent baby making?

      And of course we should also stipulate a minimum income that people have to have before they can apply at the Ministry of approved Children for their bub.

      That should have covered it all ? No?

      edit: And of course I would propose Ms. Bennett as the Minister for the Ministry of approved Children.

      • jcuknz 3.2.1

        The responsible society needs a responsible populace to work. Having more children and expecting the govt to pay you to look after them for longer is irresponsible if there is not the money available. English has the difficult task of balancing the books for the good of everybody rather than just one segment.

        By the bye English lost my vote over selling state housing rather than this veto.

        • Sabine 3.2.1.1

          so you don’t like my suggestion that controlling the fertility of man is as much needed as controlling the fertility of women?

          I mean if women only had sex with women we would not have the issue, same goes for the blokes of course.

          it is that rampant sex between heterosexual couples that makes babies that you may consider surplus, but clearly, as I stated, Vasectomies for all 🙂 That would do it very quickly. After all a women needs 9 month to make one baby, man on the other hand can just go around and procreate with impunity and no one would be the wiser ey?

          To boot your comment about the homeless lady with her children is moot, as parental leave applies to women and man that are in paid employment and have worked for a minimum of at least 10 hours per week for a certain time.

          As for you not admiring and voting for the double dipper from dipton, you will come around again next years when its time for another round of beneficiary and poor people bashing and tax cuts. Surely you will be fine.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2

          The responsible society needs a responsible populace to work.

          Not really. Or, to be more precise, a few thousand years ago sustainable societies only required about 4 hours per week of work from everyone.

          Having more children and expecting the govt to pay you to look after them for longer is irresponsible if there is not the money available.

          That is so wrong on so many levels.

          First, all of society always pays for the children and the adults as well
          Second it’s not money that’s the problem but actual physical resources. It’s out of these limited resources that a society ‘pays’ for both adults and children
          Thirdly, a society needs to maintain itself and so it needs to have children. A society that doesn’t have children is a dead society. Your prescription would actually result in that dead society

          Now, we actually have the resources available to feed, house and clothe all the people who live here and the children that they have.

          So, why are you insisting that we need poverty?

        • AmaKiwi 3.2.1.3

          jcuknz

          Economic genocide NZ style.

          The elite create an economy in which even full-time workers live in poverty. If these workers dare to have children, make sure their children are malnourished, poorly housed, and less educated than the elite.

          In the Occupied Territories, we recognize it for what it is, economic genocide.

          It’s economic genocide here, too.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.3.1

            +1

            Exactly. It’s the war upon the poor that the rich always engage in.

      • Lanthanide 3.2.2

        Vasectomy reversal is not always without complications, and is sometimes impossible.

        So your policy will not be implemented until a 100% safe and reversible procedure is available.

        If you’re considering long-term easily-reversed contraception, then IUDs are a more feasible avenue with today’s available technology. But even then, IUDs aren’t suitable for all women.

        Also any policy like this would likely lead to a reduction in condom use and hence increase in STIs.

        • Sabine 3.2.2.1

          so in short Lanthanide,
          lets do nothing and continue to shame women for having children, and never ever mention the men that have helped make these children?

          And don’t you think it is about time that we hold man accountable for the children they father or are we just to accept that some men are official Samenschleudern* and nothing can be done about it, and we don’t ever hold them responsible, but we will shame the women for having the children, or we will attempt and shame her for having an abortion?

          And the cost of pregancy prevention is to be carried by women only? Not only the financial cost but also the cost of side effects of the pill, iud’s and the like? No frankly i think a vasectomy is the best bet.

          *Samenschleudern loosly translated is a semen sprinkler and refers to men that have several children often with several women (who often now nothing of each other) and who do not help in the upkeep of their children.

          • Lanthanide 3.2.2.1.1

            I think you need to try and read my comment again, and see what i actually said, and not what you imagined I said.

    • AB 3.3

      “a woman of 28 with eight or is it ten children is the latest headline case … completely irresponsible”
      Yes- so what do you want to do about it?
      a.) pull the plug on social support due to the irresponsibility so that kids go hungry/homeless and are likely to become similarly irresponsible?
      b.) compulsorily sterilise beneficiaries after ‘n’ children (‘n’ to be defined) ?
      c.) recognise that fertility rates fall with growing affluence so ensure there is well-paid work, education, and support for parenting and hope to fix it a generation or two down the line?

      a.) is favoured by Tories, b.) by fascists and c.) by social democrats. Take your pick.

  4. ianmac 4

    Depending how the MSM reports the pending veto, it could result in a disappointment to a huge numbers of parents. A parent at home for the longest period would be so good for babies. But this Government cares not for family welfare.

  5. srylands 5

    “The financial veto was introduced by Nats in 1998 ..”

    No. It was introduced in 1995. Prior to 1995, private members were prohibited from introducing Bills that involved public expenditure. In 1995 the National Government changed standing orders to allow public members to introduce such Bills. But the Financial Veto was the quid pro quo.

    If you think the Veto is anti-democratic, you could lobby the Labour party to adopt a policy commitment to amend Standing Orders to prohibit the use of the veto on a whole Bill.

    Good luck with that.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Seems like a reasonable quid pro quo to me.

      I’m struggling to see how this is ‘anti-democratic’ – a democratically elected government is exercising its sovereign right to govern.

      It would be nice if we had a second house of Parliament, but we don’t.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        It would be nice if we had a second house of Parliament,

        Really, why do people always think that having a second house of parliament is going to solve anything? There’s plenty of them operating around the world and they don’t solve a damn thing.

        The only solution is for the policies to come from the people themselves and then have parliament implement them. Get rid of the bloody dictatorship that we have.

        • Enough is Enough 5.1.1.1

          Talk me through this Draco…

          In this solution of yours would every new law require the majority of the people to agree? Would we need a referendum for every law change?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            Would need a referendum and agreement on every policy change but not necessarily a law change if the law change still fits within the general policy. A clarification of an existing law would not need the referendum and agreement. A change in policy, say recreational drug policy, would though.

            The Bill of Rights would be supreme law and no policy or law would be able to go against it. That said, I’ve got ideas on how to set the Bill of Rights via referendum which, of course, would be the first thing done.

            Although the people would set the policies it would be parliament that actually wrote the laws to implement those policies so as to maintain consistency. They’d also be duty bound to not to implement a policy if it contradicted another policy or it went against the Bill of Rights and to make sure that the research that we need to make policy decisions is available to us.

            And before you go on about how much work that would be you should note that overall policy doesn’t change all that much. Perhaps policy is the wrong word and what I’m looking for is more General Principles.

            • Enough is Enough 5.1.1.1.1.1

              You would have too seriously regulate marketing though wouldn’t you?

              The rich would dump endless resources on spin and marketing to get the result they want.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yes but we already do that with limits on campaign spending so it shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle to minimise such manipulation.

          • AmaKiwi 5.1.1.1.2

            @ Enough is Enough

            “Would we need a referendum for every law change?”

            Deterrence is the purpose of binding referendums.

            As I understand the Swiss system, when parliament passes a law people can give notice they seek to challenge it in a referendum.

            They have 3 months to collect signatures.

            If they don’t get enough signatures, the bill becomes law. If they get the signatures, a referendum is scheduled.

            Please note, fewer than 10% of Swiss referendums which challenge an act of parliament succeed in overturning parliament’s bill.

            Deterrence is the purpose of referendums. Parliament is deterred from passing unpopular laws because they know they will be challenged in a referendum.

        • AmaKiwi 5.1.1.2

          + 100

          If the elite can buy off one house of parliament, they can afford to buy the second house as well.

          A $1 million campaign contribution and other concealed “gifts” to politicians is chicken feed to a crook with hundreds of millions hidden in a NZ overseas trust.

      • Ed 5.1.2

        A democratically elected government can pass any legislation it likes, so long as each Bill is supported by a majority of the House. If it does not have the support of a majority of Members of Parliament, the Bill would be lost. National could presumably invoke “confidence and supply” in relation to this Bill and regain the support of one member to ensure that the legislation is not passed – but either their agreements do not allow for that situation, or they have not been able to persuade a majority of MPs to defeat the bill. The Standing Order provision is anti-democratic.

        • Lanthanide 5.1.2.1

          “A democratically elected government can pass any legislation it likes, so long as each Bill is supported by a majority of the House, and can veto any other legislation on financial grounds if required.”

          FTFY.

      • AmaKiwi 5.1.3

        @ Lanthanide

        “a democratically elected government is exercising its sovereign right to govern.”

        You hit the nail on the head. Parliament is the sovereign, NOT the people. Once elected, the people have no control over parliament what-so-ever.

        In a democracy, the PEOPLE are sovereign, not the people they elected.

        Example: The referendum to stop the sale of OUR power companies. The people democratically voted to not sell. The sovereign (parliament) told us to fuck off.

  6. Nick Morris 6

    This is the one the Govt will include in the Budget.

    A gormless media will headline: “Stealing Labour’s Thunder” and this Throw-out-a-few-baubles Budget will win widespread praise among the pundits who will chortle “Labour has nowhere to go!”

    That’s how it works

  7. save nz 7

    Great bill. Hope it passes. Pretty much all health advisers advise 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding of infants if possible. That is pretty hard to do if you have to go back to work.

    It is about time people started voting for living a fulfilling life and more quality of life including relationships, not just making more money for business and consumption.

    Nowadays businesses and shareholders as entities, seem to have more rights than humans. In particular if they don’t even live in the country or community.

    • AmaKiwi 7.1

      save nz

      “Nowadays businesses seem to have more rights than humans.”

      Precisely.

      Big businesses pay to elect governments who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  8. Jenny 8

    Not only is the veto law antidemocratic it is treasonous.

    The history of the veto law was the establishment’s response to one of the greatest victories for democracy in this country.

    In 1984 parliament had the numbers to over rule the Muldoon government’s support for nuclear ship visits.

    A private members bill put forward by Richard Prebble (of all people) to ban nuclear capable and powered warhsips had gathered the numbers to overturn the government’s one seat majority, gaining the support of Marilyn Waring, National. And Mike Minogue, National.

    To prevent this bill being passed Muldoon adjourned parliament and called a snap election.

    We all know the rest. (or we should).

    This legislation when it was finally passed in 1987 just before the election was a singular victory over the projection of US power in this part of the world.

    Admired around the world and particularly across the Pacific The Fiji Labour Party under the leadership of Timoti Bavandra took up the batton and campaigned on a progressive program part of which was to make Fiji also nuclear free. (other progressive Fiji Labour policies was the introduction of a state house building program and social welfare reforms)

    Top US generals flew to Suva to meet with military officer Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka.

    We all know the rest. (or should)

    In New Zealand, in an act of revenge and to prevent a recurrence of the events of 1984, the forces of reaction and war inside the National party, on returning to government passed the veto law.

    The use of the veto law ties in with all the other treachery that this government has championed; from the TPPA, which surrenders our sovereignty to overseas multinational tribunals with no right of appeal. To engagement in bloody US invasions. To subservience of our spy agencies to US interests under 5 Eyes, and PRISM and XKeyscore Score, which used meta data techniques to illegally spy on all New Zealanders, information that was then illegally shared with the 5 Eyes partners.
    And inevitably, to top it all off, the government’s intention to resume US war ship visits.

    This government’s treasonous nature, sensed at some level by most New Zealanders, is one of the reasons that the government’s campaign to rebrand, NZ Inc. failed so miserably.

    Most people sensed that this symbolic change in our flag represented a symbol of moving away from the traditional values that New Zealand was world famous for, including such things as in this case increased paid parental leave, social welfare, state housing for all who needed it etc.

    So what should we do about this obscene affront to our democracy to prevent a recurrence?

    The opposition is not powerless.

    Every opposition party that support Sue Moroney’s bill, for paid parental leave, shall tell this government that if they abuse the power of veto to kill this bill then they will make it an election campaign promise to abolish the undemocratic veto law and return the democratic primacy of parliament to our government.

    And explain to the voters why;

    • John shears 8.1

      @ Jenny Well said thank you.

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        Thank you John, for your vote of confidence.

        Much of the information of how we came to have a veto over parliament, came from my memory of living through the historic event that saw parliament over rule the Muldoon government’s support for nuclear ship visits.

        New Zealand’s Nuclear Free status is something that the US has been trying to water down ever since it was first imposed.

        New Zealand now has a government proven to be one of the most subservient to US interests in a very long time.

        Our nuclear free status has been a sore point of discussion raised by US political leaders whenever they meet our leadership. Remember National Party leader of the time Don Brash promising the Americans that this policy “Would be gone by lunchtime”. And now how John Key is now preparing to do a rerun of the USS Buchanan gambit in November as the thin end of the wedge to water this policy down.

        Even earlier, no doubt due to intense US pressure to do so, David Lange issued a statement that, “New Zealand’s Anti-nuclear policy was not for export.”

        But too late the genie was out of the bottle.

        The anti-nuclear movement in Fiji was particularly strong, led by FANG the Fiji Anti-nuclear Group. Suva harbour’s sea walls were covered with Fang anti-nuclear grafiti greeting every US warship visit, no doubt much to US dismay.

        Following New Zealand’s stand, the Fiji Labour Party led by Timoci Bavandra promised to ban nuclear ships as well.

        And on being elected Bavandra’s government imposed a total ban on all nuclear warship visits to Fiji.

        Much to the chagrin of the US and despite David Lange’s statement that New Zealand’s Nuclear Free policy was not for export, the campaign to make the whole South Pacific region a Nuclear weapons Free Zone became a real force.

        Enter US General Vernon Walters known as the “Coup Master” for his role in the Chilean coup and in particular his complicity in the murder of US journalist Charles Horman dramatised in the movie “Missing” starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

        The “Coup Master” General Walters flew to Suva and met with Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka.

        Two weeks later Colonel Rubuka staged a coup storming the Fijian parliament and arresting all the Labour Government MPs. Rabuka also suppressed FANG and the union movement. As well as storming parliament Colonel Rabuku sent armed troops to occupy the University of the South Pacific campus which had become the organising centre for a Nuclear Free Pacific.

        How to Stage a Military Coup

        More aid came in the shape of Lieutenant-General Vernon Walters, who arrived in Suva on 30 April 1987 – two weeks after the election and two weeks before the coup. Walters had a very public career as US Ambassador to the UN and former Director of the CIA. He also had a somewhat less well-known career as a coup plotter, starting with Iran 1953 (Chapter 3) and progressing through Brazil 1964 to Chile 1973 (Chapter 6). The writing was on the wall of the arrivals hall at Nadi International Airport.

        After a short, uncomfortable meeting with the new prime minister, General Walters moved on to hector Foreign Minister Krishna Datt about the no-nuclear-ship policy. No doubt the envoy lectured him about the American policy of ‘strategic denial’ under which Washington was determined to prevent, by whatever means necessary, South Pacific island states from entering into any foreign relationship of which the US did not approve. Next on the schedule was a protocolbusting meeting with Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka; the minutes of that encounter have never been published.

        https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=RrEtAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT167&lpg=PT167&dq=General+Vernon+Walters+Colonel+Sitiveni+Rabuka&source=bl&ots=oMpEzA7HOM&sig=7gTMPrmCCExYlpcAgE_qQhXTDtw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjN4qyVz5XNAhVFKaYKHbbfBVMQ6AEIOzAG#v=onepage&q=General%20Vernon%20Walters%20Colonel%20Sitiveni%20Rabuka&f=false

        When Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka and his military conspirators stormed Fiji’s Parliament House on May 14, the one-month-old coalition government of Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra ended abruptly. Upon taking office after the April 12 election, Bavadra (a medical doctor) instituted a progressive program of domestic and foreign policy reforms in the wake of the 17-year rule of staunchly pro-Western Sir Kamisese Ratu Mara. Domestically, Bavadra expanded medical care, resolved to protect Fijian timber resources (which were often sold by the Mara government without the owner’s consent), created an Institute for Fijian Language and Culture and promised greater access for Fijians to Fiji Development Bank loans that had been going to foreign-owned businesses. “We have done in four weeks for poor people,” said Dr. Bavadra, “what Mara’s Alliance Party could not do in 17 years”. But most controversial was the nascent government’s nonaligned foreign policy, which banned port visits by nuclear-laden warships.

        https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/fiji/not-so-pacific-pacific

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  • Call for expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench
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