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Politically illiterate authoritarian git

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 3rd, 2009 - 70 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, democratic participation - Tags: ,

There are an interesting couple of posts over at Red Alert about an editorial in the Dominion Post yesterday. Grant Robertson describes it as a bitter diatribe. Trevor Mallard thinks it is a bit over the top. I think that the editor who wrote it is an authoritarian git who really needs to consider why we have due process, and what the consequences are if you don’t follow it.

I’m not even going to bother with the subject of the act concerned. In fact I’m going to remove all references to it in this post (read the links). It is the salient fact that the politically illiterate editor at the DomPost forgot to put into his editorial that is of interest to me.

The process of this act was that it was:-

  1. Pushed through the house under urgency.
  2. There was no opportunity for input via select committee into the process by people and groups that it affected.
  3. It was an ideologically driven bill.
  4. The government knew that they would get widespread opposition to it from people whom it affected the most.
  5. So the minister did an extreme “mommy/daddy knows best” and bypassed the parliamentary process that diminishes opposition to implementation.

Now the DomPost editorial says

Just who is in charge of our public (sector) system?

Is it (the minister) in a Government overwhelmingly voted into office last November? Or (the affected)? The answer should be (the minister).

Wrong. This pathetic excuse for an editorial managed to miss the key fact about the act  entirely. They did not mention the process by which this bill was passed into law. Their rationale is that the government won an election so might makes right. Duh… where have they been for the last couple of centuries? Living in a dictatorship?

There is a phrase that describes this exceptionally ignorant attitude –  tyranny of the majority. It is the single biggest flaw in democratic systems. Typically democracies have systems that ameliorate the effect and to provide limits to the powers of parliament.

In fact it isn’t even a majority. Virtually every democratic government is elected by a minority of possible voters and usually a minority of people who voted. This includes our current one. So in fact democratically elected governments usually lead with authority of a minority and the reluctant acquiescence of the majority.

In New Zealand, a large part of fix for this flaw of democracy is the select committee process. People and groups with an interest and opinion on the subject are able to put their views and suggestions to a group of parliamentarians. The purpose of this process is to allow for amendments to get around problems that the bill drafters did not have enough experience in an area to perceive. It also means that people and groups affected have had a chance to affect the process and therefore to feel more comfortable with whatever the eventual result is – even if they do not agree with it.

In this case a newly elected and inexperienced minister of an incoming government chose to bypass the limits on parliamentary power on this bill, along with the other ones passed early in the term of this government. Parliamentarians in government must at least listen to opinions contrary to their own or they will face consequences of various forms of civil disobedience. You can be sure that there will be more of this on the bills passed bypassing the select committee process.

So to answer the DomPost editorial question above.

The responsibility for opposition to a stupid law lies with a minister (Anne Tolley). Her inept handling of the process of the bill will now cause her to have to deal with the inevitable consequences. The select committee process is there for a reason. By choosing to bypass it, she also chose to deal with the consequences.

Whoever the git is who wrote the editorial at the DomPost should piss off back to the 19th century or its modern local equivalent – the sewer. There the same authoritarian wingnut views run rife. However they have little relevance in a modern democracy.

70 comments on “Politically illiterate authoritarian git”

  1. Tom Semmens 1

    To govern first requires the consent of the governed. Anne Tolley appears to never come across this phrase (although to be fair to the minister, I doubt she has ever heard of Thomas Jefferson either) and it seems she is facing a mass revolt of her peasants. The sour and authoritarian tone of the editorial is entirely predictable and is so aggressive that it should just be dismissed as hardly credible.

    To me, the more worrying thing about Tolley is that she – and her supporters who write Dom-Post editorials – appear to see the entire education system that Tolley should the minister FOR as the “enemy”, who need to be confronted and defeated. And it is that mindset that would have me very, very worried if I were an educational professional.

    • Tim Ellis 1.1

      To govern first requires the consent of the governed. Anne Tolley appears to never come across this phrase (although to be fair to the minister, I doubt she has ever heard of Thomas Jefferson either) and it seems she is facing a mass revolt of her peasants.

      I disagree Mr Semmens. I’m sure Mrs Tolley is aware of the results of the last election, which were an affirmation of the consent by the electorate. I’m sure she also is aware of opinion polls putting the government well ahead of the opposition.

      It doesn’t seem like the teacher unions or the Labour Party are aware of either yet.

  2. the sprout 2

    well put Lynn

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    The problem with the right is that they don’t understand democracy. They think that the government is there to tell people what to do (Dictatorship) rather than showing people what needs to be done and then getting their informed consent (Democracy). Tim has shown this delusional mindset again.

    Anne Tolley appears to never come across this phrase

    She’s probably heard of it but I doubt if she has any idea of what it means.

    • grumpy 3.1

      Draco T Bastard said

      “The problem with the right is that they don’t understand democracy. They think that the government is there to tell people what to do (Dictatorship) rather than showing people what needs to be done and then getting their informed consent (Democracy).”

      Oh? You mean like the anti smacking law.

      • outofbed 3.1.1

        There is no such thing as “the anti smacking law”
        Do you mean the repeal of sect 59 which parliament passed by a huge majority ?
        If so then that seems highly democratic

        • grumpy 3.1.1.1

          So you think that a majority in Parliament equates to democracy?

          Isn’t that what this blog was all about?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        The repeal of s59 was badly handled and the nutjobs managed to divert the needed discussion into lies about nanny state and their leading referendum. The facts of the matter weren’t properly aired resulting in the people not being properly informed. At that point the government did the only thing it could do – repealed s59 anyway as it was an unworkable law which was allowing people to abuse their children and not be held to account.

    • Swampy 3.2

      The Labour Party and Greens pushed a law through Parliament, the anti smacking Bill, over the wishes of the majority of the electorate a couple of years back.

      Your lot have justified that it is OK for Parliament to ignore the will of the people on this measure.

      The only difference here is that the boot is on the other foot.

      • lprent 3.2.1

        Ummm you forgot the National party. From memory the act passed with about 103 votes including the Nat’s and only 8 MP’s voted against it. A opponent clown forgot to turn up for the vote, so the nay’s missed out on a vote.

        So the campaign of fear by a minority probably won’t overturn the act

      • lprent 3.2.2

        The post was about select committees. The S59 repeal went through select committee. This bill did not.

  4. So if you *believe* you are right, that entitles you to undermine govt policy?

    The teachers are the one union who do not deserve your support. The experts of assessment and performance are still unable to accept that teachers’ performance can be measured.

    Educational changes are largely driven to meet the ideologically needs of teachers, rather than those of the students or the parents.

    And most funny of all, those who are paid to provide constructive criticism and feedback to students are the least receptive to constructive criticism.

    Now I do realise that the soft left needs to show solidarity with the teachers unions who provide significant funds and a pool of talent (I will resist further comment) for Labour.

    As for the tyranny of the majority …er, I thought the line was “democracy under attack”? So it is only democratic when you agree with it?

    • BLiP 4.1

      You seem to be saying that democracy is doing what you’re told whether or not you agree – just following orders, eh?

      • Daveski 4.1.1

        Not at all BLiP.

        But why stop at teachers? If IRD staff “believe” you’re paying too much or not enough tax, then shouldn’t they have the right to undermine the Govt’s policy?

        Naturally, all other state employees are under strong controls about being politically neutral. Not the teachers.

        Democracy is about a procession that ensures if you don’t like what someone does, you can vote them out. Govt is about making decisions that if lawful should be enacted.

        • Bright Red 4.1.1.1

          teachers are not subject othe public service code of conduct, IRD staff are. The distinction is made because teachers (and doctors etc) operate at arm’s length from the government, they just happen to be funded by the government, while core public servants are involved in the development of policy.

          • BLiP 4.1.1.1.1

            Democracy is about a procession that ensures if you don’t like what someone does, you can vote them out. Govt is about making decisions that if lawful should be enacted.

            Demoracy does not happen on one day once every three years. It operates 24/7. As much as National Ltd would prefer the teachers were instruments of will, they are, actually, participants in society.

            As it happens, I really do think that if IRD staff, or any other worker, has good reason to not follow instructions it is beholden upon them to withdraw their labour until convinced, by fair means, otherwise.

            • Daveski 4.1.1.1.1.1

              You’re missing the point.

              It’s not undemocratic to make decisions you personally don’t like.

              I’ve resisted the “they did it too” line because it’s not helpful but the point is that the Government is democratically elected to make decisions that some people will oppose.

              The problem here is that the teachers believe they know better and everyone should bow to them. That is the abuse of power that is the problem, not the select committee.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.2

              The problem here is that the teachers believe they know better and everyone should bow to them. That is the abuse of power that is the problem, not the select committee.

              False dichotomy alert! They can both be problems.

              It may well be that the policy, while supported by the duly elected government, is fundamentally flawed. The way that a government detects these flaws is important.

              They can pass flawed legislation creating a bed that has been shat in. This then requires fixing so that unsullied beds of the future remain shit free, the current bed however remains shat in.

              Another approach in our system is to have a select committee process so that experts and stakeholders can point out flaws in the proposed legislation in the hope that the government will do their number twos before bedtime.

              You keep saying that the teachers problem with this is ideological. I’m unsure what you mean by that, but I hope that you just aren’t dismissing their concerns because you don’t like them disagreeing with the government.

          • Swampy 4.1.1.1.2

            “they just happen to be funded by the government”

            Wrong, they are employed under the State Sector act for political patronage reasons of the Labour Party, even though university lecturers and a lot of other people in similar positions are not.

    • lprent 4.2

      You didn’t read the post did you? You just read the links in the first paragraph.

      You notice that I didn’t mention teachers once in the post, because they were not what the post was about. It was about select committees and why they are there.

      Either that or the words “Select Committee” are invisible to you.

      What I said (in different words) is that if you try to shortcut the protections that are in place against abuse of the powers of parliament, you will get resistance.

      That isn’t exactly a left / right issue. Although it has been noticeable that this government has been abusing the process quite a lot.

      • Daveski 4.2.1

        Err … yes. But you’re kind of tilting at windmills aren’t you because select committees are not about “democracy” but about the semblance of consultation.

        However, to say that the teachers’ resistance is due to abuse of the power of parliament doesn’t stack up. The teachers would oppose it and have done so on ideologically ground. I can accept one part of that – the league table and teaching to an outcome – but the broader thrust of my argument is that the teachers are the one’s trying to renegotiate the powers of parliament.

        • BLiP 4.2.1.1

          select committees are not about “democracy’ but about the semblance of consultation.

          Eeeeek . . . we agree on something! But, at least via the semblance of consultation the government has no excuse when the failings of its policy as highlighted during the consulting come to fruition.

          • Daveski 4.2.1.1.1

            So again we come back to if the select committees are told super shitty is bad and standards are bad, they should listen because that’s democracy in action 24/7.

            But the same select committees should NOT listen to the wingnuts (gawd, I’m starting to use that term) and other ranters who want the right to whip their kids into shape?

            You don’t see a fundamental problem in what you (and Lynn) are arguing.

            • BLiP 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Accepting that the select committee process is a charade, it does provide a forum for the presentation of arguments for and against intended government policy. By short circuiting the process, National Ltd have said to the teachers “what you have to say about education is unimportant” and, thus, picked a fight.

              I’m not saying National Ltd should have acted on whatever might have been presented at a select committee, only that they have brought upon themselves the actions of the teachers. Just as they have stirred up the spluttering rage of those fathers who want to spank their daughters. I might have less sympathy for the teachers had I heard their arguments against Chopper’s social engineering but now I have to wonder: what is she trying to hide.

              National Ltd’s arrogance has got itself into this situation and is attempting to get out of it by bullying. Marginalising dissent and putting the boot in as per Basher Bennett is unacceptable. The DimPost editorial has become a part of that process and is equally unacceptable.

            • lprent 4.2.1.1.1.2

              To use your extreme examples.

              First off the s59 repeal bill went through select committee. At the end of it a few amendments were made on the basis of what was heard. The super-shitty bill went through select committee. On the basis of that we’re expecting a significant set of changes to be made.

              In both cases the government and proposing party/MP (will) change(d) the bills on the basis of consultation. Furthermore what went on in the post select committee process was/will be used in the coalition negotiations afterwards

              The bill in this case didn’t go through select committee. One group affected are saying that the legislation is crap. The implementation of the legislation has in fact been delayed because it was on a unrealistic timetable, sounds like it may be impossible in the current form, and the people charged with implementing it are saying that it won’t work.

              In other words, it appears that not going through select committee results in crap legislation that doesn’t get implemented. In previous cases of stuff not having a good working over in select committee, there have been some outrageous foreseeable bugs and undesired side-effects. That is why select committees have become more important in governing over the last 30 years.

              Politicians are not particularly good at writing workable legislation. That is why it goes through select committees. It helps a *lot* with quality control.

              That is why competent MP’s use the select committee system. Incompetent ones try to bypass it.

            • Swampy 4.2.1.1.1.3

              Replying to lprent below:
              we are told that the select committee is not going to recommend in favour of Maori seats. Yet this is trumpeted as “democracy under attack”.

              The S59 bill process ignored the majority of submissions and all the known widespread other protests that opposed the core tenets of it. Something that most lefties have continued to gloss over ever since.

              “the people charged with implementing it are saying that it won’t work.” This is an ideological argument. It is the teachers union saying they are ideologically opposed, just like those idiots who
              booed John Key at a child abuse conference when he was asked about the boot camps policy. (Which has come out and turned out to be a lot more moderate than it was portrayed during the election campaign).

              In other words the teachers union believes on ideological grounds it has a right to promote disobedience and rebellion among its members.The union has forgotten that they are public servants obligated to serve whichever government is in power and also employed by school boards who represent parents of a school who are interested in furthering their childrens’ education and not in the ideological agendas of left wing unions.

              • lprent

                The point about the post was that at least those bills went through the select committee. This one didn’t. It has serious flaws and is unlikely to get implemented.

                Boot camps – yeah. So moderate now that it appears to be non-existent. It has gone from being the great hope of youth in the campaign to be a few hundred kid volunteers doing something that they can do in scouts.

                It was just a PR exercise

                • Swampy

                  They are still having something tough for the worst cases.

                  How would it wreck your argument if it came back from select committee unchanged.

      • Swampy 4.2.2

        It hasn’t been any more noticeable than when Labour were in power. They have brought in many unpopular laws, pretended to “consult” through the select committee process and then just gone ahead and ignored most of the submissions anyway.

        It’s interesting the select committee on the Supercity has not recommended for Maori seats yet you claim that this is “democracy under attack”, well the select committee has followed its process. At the end of the day the use of urgency to pass this law was simply a means of speeding it up.

        I would have to argue that any government can do as they please if they have a majority for a piece of legislation, regardless of whether they make use of the select committee process or bypass it. As such saying that that is the cause of the problems is incorrect. It would not have caused a different outcome if the select committee process resulted in the same law being passed.

        • lprent 4.2.2.1

          I have not claimed any such thing. In fact I have not mentioned anything about Maori seats for the super-shitty ever. It isn’t something that particularly concerns me. I figure that will be a self-correcting problem because Maori will correct it with the weight of votes or through the defense of local assets.

          Tell me – do you actually ever read anything here. Working back through these comments and answering each one it seems to me that you’ve simply grabbed a bag of lines and dropped them where-ever it looks like there may have been a match.

          I’d suggest that you don’t do that. That is defined as troll behaviour in our policy. You have to seal with the posts and comments – not drop arbitrary lines in our comments section.

          Next time I see it, I’ll start in sysop mode, and probably ban you permanently

  5. “It is the salient fact that the politically illiterate editor at the DomPost forgot to put into his editorial that is of interest to me.”

    The Dom Post’s editor is a woman.

    • lprent 5.1

      Ok… It doesn’t exactly say that on the editorial, or for that matter who wrote it.

      In the end I really don’t care. Whoever it was needs to think about what in the hell they are writing. That editorial was appalling because it was pretty clear that they hadn’t looked at the history of the bill.

    • Bright Red 5.2

      editorials are rarely written by the editor.

  6. Civil Servant 6

    “You seem to be saying that democracy is doing what you’re told whether or not you agree just following orders, eh?”

    When your in the civil service yes. We have it drummed into our heads all the time we are supposed to be neutral and there to implement the policy of the current government, despite our personal feelings. We are pointed to that chap from Tree Lords as an example of what happens when you move beyond your role. You know the one who was sacked by the last government for Lobbying against government policy.

    Teachers are civil servants so I don’t see why they should get a free pass on this.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      If you were really a civil servant you would know the difference between being a member of the core public service and subject to the code of conduct and being a teacher or doctor, who while employed by the state is not a member of the core public service and not subject to the public service code of conduct or its neutrality requirements.

      either that or you are a civil servant and just ignorant.

      • Civil Servant 6.1.1

        “not subject to the public service code of conduct or its neutrality requirements.”

        I know teachers are special and are told this and I also know sometimes they are told the opposite. Still doesn’t negate my point.

        Teachers are civil servants so I don’t see why they should get a free pass on this.

        • Bright Red 6.1.1.1

          they’re not bound to political neutrality because they’re not bound to the public service code of ethics. Sorry, but that’s reality, that means they can speak out if they like under their rights in the BoRA.

          Come on, you’re meant to be a public servant, don’t they teach you about this stuff anymore?

      • Swampy 6.1.2

        Teachers are public servants in everything but name, as such they should be subject to the same codes.

        Either that or they should be taken out of the State Sector act, which they are only in because of the Labour Party’s close association to the Teacher unions.

    • lprent 6.2

      Bypassing select committees was the topic. Do you think it is a good idea?

      I do not think that there should be any particular difference between civil servants and anyone else for what they do in their spare time. The employer only pays for their work time.

      However diversions into areas outside the post are pretty irrelevant. I didn’t mention either teachers or civil servants in the post.

      Interested parties include parents who were also denied a chance at the select committee. I’m sure that there would have been quite a few who would have been happy to have a say on the bill.

      • Civil Servant 6.2.1

        “Bypassing select committees was the topic. Do you think it is a good idea? ”

        When implementing a policy you were voted in on, I have no problem with bypassing select committee. Why do you need to relitigate a fight you have won at the ballet box?

        I have more problems with bypassing select committees on bills introduced without any sort of prior warning like an election campaign.

        • fraser 6.2.1.1

          “When implementing a policy you were voted in on,”

          so (expectant politician voice) “if i win an election, any policy that i publicly advocated during the campaign can then be brought into law with no further discussion”

          is that really what you are saying?

          • Bright Red 6.2.1.1.1

            hell, CS, let’s not stop at select committees, why bother with Parliament at all?

            ‘If I made vague reference to it in a two page policy document that no-one read while I fought the election over tax cuts and child smacking (both of which I would later flip-flop on), I can now make it law by decree’

            Sound good?

        • lprent 6.2.1.2

          The devil is in the details with legislation.

          A election policy is usually lucky to get a few paragraphs outlining a policy direction*. That is what people vote on. Frequently it is pretty damn vague as to what the party intends when it is in power.

          The bill is likely to be 10’s of pages long. That is what the MP’s and select committees work on. That is quite and expansion of detail. So you don’t think that citizens should have a say in what goes in there?

          Even the supporters of the party usually want to have a say at that point.

          I won’t even get into the complications of merging several parties policies as is common in a MMP coalition.

          It sounds to me like you simply want a uninformed dictatorship by the parties hierarchy?

          * With the last campaign, National seemed to think that a two line bullet point was enough. But lets take the Greens as the example.

      • Swampy 6.2.2

        The teachers union represents teachers for their paid time, also you don’t stop being a public servant out of working hours, public servants have the same restrictions regardless.

        • lprent 6.2.2.1

          Where exactly does it say that the teachers union is involved in this?

          Careful you’re showing your mangled internal (lack of) thinking to the world. This post wasn’t even on teachers – it was about select committee processes. So you just did a straight line wingnut jump to the unions. They obviously are responsible for everything that is wrong with the world – Everybody Knows.

          You are a good authoritarian git. I’m sure a master will be along to give you a pat on the head shortly

  7. Civil Servant 7

    “I do not think that there should be any particular difference between civil servants and anyone else for what they do in their spare time. The employer only pays for their work time.”

    We are talking about work time.

    • lprent 7.1

      Umm really? The principal at the school talking about this policy?

      Prove that.

      • Swampy 7.1.1

        We are talking about teachers work that they get paid to do during working hours. Civil servants are not allowed to politically agitate about their work whether in or out of working hours.

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          Huh? Show me the legislation that says they cannot comment on teaching outside of work hours.

          You are losing it. Have you been sniffing Brave New World or 1984 recently?

          You too are a simple authoritarian git.

  8. BLiP 8

    Public servants have a wider commitment to society, not to a particular government. According to your logic it would acceptable for the judiciary, the police, the army and the hospitals to do exaclty what they are told. That position may well be in the best interest of National Ltd but it is not in the best interests of Aotearoa. Public servants are the buffer between the short term interests of a particular government and the long term best interests of the country. The actions of the teachers should be applauded and set an example to us all.

    • Swampy 8.1

      Public servants are employed at the government’s pleasure, “servant” means exactly what it implies. If you don’t like it go and work in the private sector.

      The actions of the teachers would not be tolerated in most private sector workplaces as it is disloyal and encourages people to disrespect and disobey their employer. Which in most cases is an elected school board, not a single person. Schools are one of the most democratic workplaces in the country because of their boards.

      You are supporting an independent group (a teachers union) with an ideogical viewpoint opposing the National Party to use their workplaces (schools) as a political football for activism against the National govermemnt, without considering the greater good of the needs of education for their pupils. I wonder if the School Board in these schools agrees with the statements made by these principals.

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Nope, I’m saying that if the government want to act like dickheads and try to short-cut out some of the checks and balances. Then they deserve whatever they get.

        As far as I’m aware there is no union involvement – so you’re just making crap up. Shows your fundamental lack of understanding of the issue.

        Also if this was a private sector union – you’d say exactly the same thing because you just like unions.

  9. Adolf Fiinkensein 9

    You guys are a larrrfff a minute.

    You’ve spent half the day arguing about what the topic of the post is but you’ve missed the most delicious part of it which is:-

    (Im ignoring the sub NCEA syntax)

    The process of this act was that it was:-

    Then you outline the very process used by Labour to enact the Electoral Finance Act.

    [the EFA went through select committee, the normal processes were adhered to and urgency was only used in the final reading because of the time constraint. You don’t know much about how Parliament works, eh Adolf?]

  10. gingercrush 10

    Yes something that definately grates me about this National government is that they decided to pass bills straight through under urgency. Very few legislation should ever be done that way. Neither the standards on numeracy and literacy nor the 90 day employment law legislation should have been passed under urgency. Neither of them were immediate and neither of them were of such importance as to require urgency.

    The tax changes National advocated during the election and then subsequently passed under urgency are in my opinion a different matter and can legitimately be done via urgency. Though still it would have been preferable to have a week or two via select committee. Likewise it was legitimate to use urgency to repeal even more changes after the budget suspending further tax cuts. Though in many ways a select committee would have identified that those further changes were unaffordable.

    The last issue of urgency was surrounding Super City legislation setting up the framework for the Super City to happen. Whilst the left saw such urgency as being wrong and protested that by putting in numerous changes to the legislation that were subsequently defeated. I happen to think that was also legitimate use of urgency.

    • lprent 10.1

      Sure there are places where urgency is required. Budget decisions, devaluation, etc… Indeed anything where external forces can game the governments decisions.

      Virtually none of the other legislation at the end of 2008 and early 2009 required it.

      However the only reason for the super shitty legislation rush was because of the bloody stupid timetable. This is still a problem and will remain so until the 2013 elections – which is when they should have targeted the amalgamation for.

      The rush will simply cost a *lot* more in consolidation costs over the next 10 years. Expect rate rises to fund it. Tag them to Rodney’s and Act’s name.

      • Swampy 10.1.1

        National doesn’t want the issue to drag out over the next election and become a political platform for Labour and I can’t say I blame them, four years is an awful long time when we have already had a royal commission and everything under the sun.

  11. gingercrush 11

    Oh and most legislation is crap even though it went through select committee Iprent.

    • lprent 11.1

      Sure, the courts usually force a lot of tidying up afterwards.

      But it is usually a lot more workable if it goes through select committee. Think of it as having a code review for programmers. Means that some of the really stupid errors get caught. It also means that you have to write the stuff so other people can understand it. No obstruficated C..

  12. Swampy 12

    You have listed the failings of our Parliamentary process, that apply whichever party is in power, as Labour have done this many times as well.

    MMP has not stopped this from happening in spite of the Greens Party claims that it would make the system better.

    If we want a better political system then politicians have to be more accountable to their constituents and the best way to do that is something like public referenda on major issues or e-voting.

    • lprent 12.1

      Actually not the case. Apart from the usual finance bills I cannot think of a case where Labour bypassed the select committee process.

      Surprise me – point out a case outside of the finance acts where Labour bypassed the select committee process in the last 9 years.

      • burt 12.1.1

        Ignoring the feedback and making 1,000’s of amendments after the select committee then passing under urgency is by and large exactly the same as not having the select committee in the first place. But sure, lip service was regularly paid to give the appearance of process being followed.

        • lprent 12.1.1.1

          That is the prerogative of parliament. Much as I’d like to change it, I’m afraid that I haven’t seen a better alternative. Based on the direct referendums over the last 20 years it is pretty clear that they cannot cope with complex questions. It always seems to drop down to simple sloganeering.

          The point about select committee is that it is probably the best place to hammer a poor bill into shape, or at least air the issues with a bill.

      • Swampy 12.1.2

        That is not what I wrote, go back and read it again as well as the other posts.

        Just because you have a select committee process doesn’t guarantee anything. The members of the committee have in most cases already decided that the law will go through regardless and therefore they ignore submissions that oppose the substantive part of the law, as such the process simply results in minor tweaking.

        The Electoral Finance Act in which the majority of select committee submissions were ignored has been repealed. Numerous other examples have not.

        In the case of this law a select committee would not have stopped it going through and you would be posting about some other aspect of it and the Teachers union would still be saying their ideological cant “IT WON’T WORK” etc etc.

        What we need is much greater checks on the Parliamentary process of legislation. I don’t see any call for that, the status quo of course works in Labour’s favour when they want to pass some ideological piece of legislation and all their supporters justify it even when there is widespread public opposition.

        • lprent 12.1.2.1

          The teachers union hasn’t said much on the subject.

          The point about select committees is that they allow an examination of the legislation to remove fuckups. Obviously since we voted the MP’s in, we can’t remove those. However informed members of the public can gently guide them to understand the issues.

          As a matter of interest on your last paragraph – you are aware that there was an election and NACT won aren’t you? That they spent the first 3 months ignoring the checks in parliament.

          You sound very confused…

          • burt 12.1.2.1.1

            The teachers union… Is that the organisation that helps teachers forget their training and start thinking that everyone is the same?

            • lprent 12.1.2.1.1.1

              And that comment has any relationship to the post or previous comments because ????????

              Please stop drinking and writing at the same time… It makes your conversation a bit disjointed.

        • lprent 12.1.2.2

          Swamp…I think that my actual reply up above was for a different message. However you troll through here dumping multiple messages….

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  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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    4 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    5 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    6 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
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    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago