Petition against the veto of the paid parental leave bill

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, June 18th, 2016 - 19 comments
Categories: babies, democracy under attack, families, human rights, law, national - Tags: , ,

The indefatigable I/S at No Right Turn (who very kindly let’s us repost his material here) has started a petition:

Withdraw the financial veto certificate against the paid parental leave bill

To: Bill English, Minister of Finance

We request that you withdraw the financial veto certificate against the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill.

Why is this important?

The crown financial veto is an archaic provision in Parliament’s Standing Orders which allows the government to veto spending it does not agree with. This week, it was used to veto a bill extending paid parental leave which had the majority support of Parliament. The government could not vote the bill down, so they have issued a financial veto certificate against it.

The certificate will prevent the bill from being voted on. However, Standing Order 327(5) states that a Minister may withdraw a certificate at any time.

The use of the financial veto is undemocratic and unconstitutional. In our democracy, Parliament makes the laws, and it is not the government’s place to tell it what it can and can not legislate on. If Parliament passes a law that the government does not like, the government simply has to lump it. And that applies to laws involving money as well. If the government feels strongly that such a law should not be passed, it has a democratic alternative available: it should declare the issue to be a matter of confidence and stand or fall on the result.

You can sign the petition here.

19 comments on “Petition against the veto of the paid parental leave bill”

  1. ianmac 1

    Signed yesterday. The action to veto is really to stop an Opposition Bill being passed, but there is some risk for National as babies resonate with most people.

  2. Just signed – thanks i/s for doing this. We must empower parents not disempower them as the gnats want, although I really think they just went petty (cos they could) with this veto and it provided a convenient distraction from poorpaula

  3. Lanthanide 3

    To say using the financial veto is “unconstitutional” is silly. The Standing Orders form part of our constitution, and the standing orders allow use of the veto.

    It’s rather silly to suggest that it is unconstitutional to use a mechanism that was granted by a constitutional document.

    This particular standing order has been in effect, in one form or another, since 1995. In all that time, there doesn’t appear to have been any significant appetite from Parliament to remove or substantially limit the provision.

    You can say it’s unfair, or that you don’t like it, but saying it is unconstitutional is plainly incorrect.

    http://www.minterellison.co.nz/files/Publication/2af09ba1-596a-4013-943d-d334fefe6715/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/404f4f94-31a5-49dc-9d7c-d7c9ab264bd8/Public_Law_Factsheet_Crown's_Financial_Veto.pdf

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/features/00NZPHomeNews201407291/review-of-standing-orders

    As the Standing Orders are effectively constitutional rules, the committee aims to arrive at a package of proposals that enjoys the overwhelming support of members around the House, even if unanimity cannot always be reached. This process involves “give and take” among parties, to ensure that changes do not give unfair advantage.

    It may be that the review of the Standing Orders at the end of this term of parliament will make changes to the current provisions for using the financial veto.

    But until that happens, the current usage of the financial veto is entirely constitutional.

    “The crown financial veto is an archaic provision in Parliament’s Standing Orders”

    Calling it “archaic” is also wrong, since it was last updated in 2008. The standing orders are a living and evolving set of constitutional rules, calling something “archaic” that was updated less than 10 years ago is simply incorrect.

  4. fisiani 4

    Sign the petition and feel triumphant. Yet another victory. Petitions are so powerful. Governments quake when they are presented.

    • KJT 4.1

      So much for Democracy? Eh!

      • fisiani 4.1.1

        Petitions are democracy at it’s finest. Spend your week raising signatures. Feel morally superior. It will ultimately be otiose but enjoy the hedonic casuistry.

        • John shears 4.1.1.1

          Fisiani you are one to talk of otiose, you serve no practical purpose
          and you are definitely not required especially on this site.
          Go Suck a Jube.

        • Doogs 4.1.1.2

          What a wanker.

    • Hanswurst 4.2

      Or alternatively, don’t sign it, come and spout some weak-kneed, right-wing inanity on The Standard, and come away feeling strangely ineffectual.

  5. DH 5

    I won’t sign it. I agree with the veto. The cause is worthy enough but the timing sucks. This is not the time to spend yet more taxpayer funds on the middle classes, there are far more pressing and deserving needs for it.

    • Ben 5.1

      I agree. The vote was 61 to 60, so not a resounding result in either direction. If the vote was say, 100-21 in favour (MPs crossing the floor) then the case for a veto would be weak.

      • Hanswurst 5.1.1

        How about we introduce an opposition veto for all of the similarly contentious government bills, then.

  6. Jenny 6

    Faced with a similar situation over nuclear ship visits, where the National government found itself out voted, Muldoon called a snap election.

    The veto needs to go. It is incompatible with democracy. Or majority rule.

    If the veto power remains all we are left with will be a succession of elected dictatorships.

  7. Mosa 7

    The National govt doesn’t recognize democratic principles unless it suits their agenda that being the 2017 election campaign.
    The timing of PPL is fortuitous for English as he will ride out the protests and make it a centre piece of “National”cares about families in next year’s budget/campaign where the money will magically appear to pay for it, they know it’s popular and have to be on the winning side even if they take a slight kick for the veto.
    It will all be forgiven and forgotten in the “feel good campaign” in 2017.
    We have been had all over again.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    I’m not sure that we should sign it.

    Bill English really can’t afford it – this guy is the screaming incompetents’ screaming incompetent – his wife has to balance his chequebook for him and he had to double dip just to make ends meet his household budget is so out of whack. He has cost us $120 billion since he was allowed to creep into an office for which he has no qualifications whatsoever.

    Our finances are a shambles – we can’t even afford to rebuild Christchurch, and it was insured.

    If we had a competent finance minister or a growing economy of course it would be a different story. But we don’t – and Bill is trembling in his hire-purchased boots.

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    Signed, and shared.

  10. Sabine 10

    Signed and shared.

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