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Ridiculous Urgency

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 pm, December 11th, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Gerry Brownlee, national/act government - Tags: ,

National – and Gerry Brownlee in particular – are disorganised to the point of making bad law.  He was quite rightly accused in the House of:

pious hypocrisy, bad faith, an utter inability to manage Parliament and a ghastly approach to cross-party co-operation.

They tried to ram through 12 bills on Thursday – the last day of parliament for the year – resulting in the house sitting until Saturday night.

  • the first reading of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Amendment Bill
  • the third reading of the Ngāti Apa (North Island) Claims Settlement Bill
  • the first reading of the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services (Financial Assistance Package) Amendment Bill,
  • the first reading of the Building Amendment Bill (No 3)
  • the first reading of the Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
  • the passing through its remaining stages of the Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Bill
  • the first reading of the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill
  • the first reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill
  • the second reading of the Customs and Excise (Joint Border Management Information Sharing and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
  • the passing through the remaining stages of the State Sector Management Bill
  • the passing through the remaining stages of the Education Amendment Bill (No 2)
  • the passing through the remaining stages of the New Zealand Productivity Commission Bill
  • and of any bills into which any of those bills may be divided.

There are a lot of problems with a lot of those bills, but the biggest problem with most of them is that they’re not that urgent.

If the Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Bill is so urgent, why is it only coming to parliament now – it’s a budget bill, and Peter Dunne has had months to get on with it.  In a flagrant abuse of parliamentary process, he also introduced fully 70 pages of amendments after the Select Committee stage, meaning they won’t have proper oversight.

The SIS bill obviously has its problems with John Key’s secrecy.

Biosecurity Law and Smokefree environment – great, agreed by pretty much all, but urgent?  Once again, if so, there’s been time to get them in before.

Broadband has got urgent – Stephen Joyce has left the government’s biggest $$$ promise until now, so they need to cover their embarrassment.  He’s still too secretive to actually say anything about it now.

The legislation to merge Achives NZ and the National Library into Internal Affairs descended into farce at one point – Nathan Guy is now known as Minister Twinky, for trying to remove information from a tabled document.  It was a good example of why you don’t want the government in charge of our Archives and Records though.  Apart from the fact that it was tried in the 90s and failed, and that it stands to save far less money than the cost of the merger, it’s just a bad philosophical principle to let the government be in charge of history.  Independence please. (Nine To Noon had a great piece on this in October when wind of the change was first smelt…)

Eventually, National saw reason on at least one point, and ditched Tolley’s paedophile protection racket.  Police checks on short term early childcare employees will stay, in the interests of National MPs getting home for Christmas.  Small mercies, but at least something was exacted from them in recompense for their bad procedure…

31 comments on “Ridiculous Urgency ”

  1. Amazingly, Peter Dunne put in a Supplementary Order Paper (a late amendment) into the Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Bill that was 70 pages long!

    Longer than any other tax bill passed this year, these new clauses did not exist when the bill went through first and second readings and the public didn’t have a chance to submit on them at select committee. Dunne just dropped 70 pages of law on the country at the last moment with no due procedure.


    btw, I think you mean racket, not racquet

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    It’s obvious now that the NACTs have done this on purpose – it gets their authoritarian legislating through under the radar and without negotiation. Muldoon was bad but I’m starting to think this lot are worse as far as their anti-democratic bias and psychopathy goes.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Labour was accused of exactly the same when they were in power. Rather than blame specific parties, the focus should be on changing the rules so that the urgency provision can’t be abused.

    • bbfloyd 3.1

      accusations based on party politics are irrelevant.. the truth is that this government is the worst in living memory when it comes to denying sensible oversight on legislation. we will be finding out the hard way for years which new laws they have been passing.

      so a “labour may have done it too” argument is justification for this administration to continually pass laws that we aren’t allowed to know about until we inadvertently break them? bullshit!!

      and it’s bullshit to say that labour were anywhere near as bad as this lot… they were never going to go down the road to fascism that this government is sprinting along.

      • Daveo 3.1.1

        Parliament was under urgency for fewer hours in Labour’s three terms than it has been under National’s first two years.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Yeah, yeah, yeah. Labour was accused of exactly the same when they were in power.

      If you cannot tell the difference between the relative handful of occasions that the previous govt unjustifiably resorted to Urgency, and the now routine abuse of it by this one…. then you really shouldn’t be attempting to engage in political debate.

      Urgency has it’s place, and from time to time all govts probably resort to using it when it was probably not strictly necessary. But you know perfectly well that there is absolutely no defending this govt’s constant resort to using it ….bypassing the Select Committee process and short-circuiting public consulation.

      Why do you think NACT are doing this so often ts? Any defense for it? Or are you just proud that “your” Party is getting away with it?

      Rather than blame specific parties, the focus should be on changing the rules so that the urgency provision can’t be abused.

      Or you might hope that NACT had enough ethical backbone not to…without the need for ‘rules’.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.3



      ‘Labour was accused’ by Whom?

      And wy not blame the actors, rather than the system? I thought you were all about responsibility.

      I think people should be responsible for their actions. Circumstances can be mitigating factors, but the existence of the dole for example, doesn’t mitigate ripping off the welfare system. In that case you blame the ripper-offer.

      In this case, blame the people that abuse the system, to the extent that they abuse it. the fact that national may have criticised labour about this same thing in the past doesn’t mean that therefore the system is broken. It just means that National are a bunch of hypocritical fuckwits. It’s interesting that that Labour in the eighties also used a lot of urgency. It’s almost like right wingers are find urgency to be more necessary.

      • Bunji 3.3.1

        Just a point of note – the rules on Parliamentary hours / urgency were changed during the second term of the 80s Labour govt, so any comparison pre-Bolger govt isn’t on a strictly like-for-like basis. I’m not sure how big the changes were, so your/Danyl’s point may still be valid…

  4. Gotham 4

    I was flabbergasted when I saw Brownlee make a statement in the media that he justified urgency two weeks before Christmas, and on a Saturday, by saying ‘MPs can do hard yakka for once’ or something along those lines.

    Um, that’s not the freaking point – the point is you are doing this to stop public consulation, to stop proper debate and to stop due process. Because you are a useless House Leader, Mr Brownlee, and your Government has contempt for democracy (at least the bits you find, rather inconvenient).

    • pollywog 4.1

      ‘MPs can do hard yakka for once’

      as i thought…

      …the rest of the time they’re sitting round on ther fat chuffs swilling their snouts in the trough only coming up for air when they start gagging

      nice work if you can get it…i bet

      captcha : freedoms

      • Bunji 4.1.1

        I should probably do a post on this sometime, but MPs work a lot harder than they’re generally given credit for. The media seem to only think that what happens in parliament matters, but it’s really only 1/3 of the job of an MP. Another 1/3 is working with constituents – which is mostly more closely defined for an electorate MP, for a list MP their constituents are the entire country. The last 1/3 is party work – developing/consulting on policy and maintaining a working structure that makes our party-based democracy work.

        MPs regularly work 60 hour weeks, ministers 80. Pretty much all year round, not just whilst parliament is sitting – parliamentary recess isn’t a holiday (although Christmas is…).

        Maybe Gerry and some of his National mates don’t work that hard, which is why he didn’t realise that others do hard yakka normally…

  5. Treetop 5

    “URGENT” the next election!

  6. illuminatedtiger 6

    National have used (or abused?) urgency 27 percent of the time so far in their term. This is disgusting and an outright abuse of our Democracy.

  7. jbanks 7

    Good to see the boys getting shit done. Productivity FTW.

    • bbfloyd 7.1

      good to see you havn’t managed to learn a thing since the last time you made a prat of yourself on this site Bj, sorry, Jb (freudian slip)

    • Bunji 7.2

      The laws parliament makes last years, decades, centuries even some of them. I’d rather have them considered a little more as to whether they’re going to work, let the public have more say on them etc. Not have over-tired MPs put stupid slips in without thought for the consequences.

      When stuff’s important, it’s worth doing right. It’s why we have process. And we already have a lot less process than pretty much any democracy in the west…

  8. handle 8

    Idiot/Savant has also exposed this government regularly using urgency to avoid member’s days where business other than their own might get an airing. The horror!

  9. infused 9

    I agree with jbanks. Finally getting some shit done. Seen the TV3 poll? Might want to think about that.

  10. Deadly_NZ 10

    yep finally getting some shit done

    Unfortunatly it’s all the shit they want to sneak in with out the public consultation.. are you starting to feel the tightness around your butt where they have anethatised you for the real bad news ie: bend over and take it and shut up .

    Anti spam word is Mislead hahaha totally appropriate for JK and his cronies

  11. Jeremy Harris 11

    This kind of bullshit is why we need a Constitution with limits on this type of lawmaking entrenched…

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Or we could just replace Brownlee with someone more responsible.

    • Jeremy Harris 11.2

      Until the next power hungry idiot comes along… How long to you think it will take for a power hungry idiot to become Leader of the House, when the Leader of the House must, by definition, be a politician..?

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        Dunno about all that stuff, but maybe the PM or the DPM could exert some control over Brownlee? Or…do you think that they’ve all agreed on this strategy, deliberately?

      • felix 11.2.2

        Yeah CV has a good point there Jeremy.

        You can’t blame Brownlee alone, he’s only Leader of the House at the grace of John Key.

      • Jeremy Harris 11.2.3

        Could be CV, I don’t think politicans of all stripes are going to hamper their ability to push their agenda on society quickly…

        National has been worse than Labour for sure and Brownlee has been an especially hopeless LoTH, from memory he stuffed up one of the first motions of Parliament and Mallard made him look like an idiot, I remember a motion to debate Joyce’s education, maybe in part National are forcing things to avoid embarassing repeats…

  12. bbfloyd 12

    felix… “grace of john key”, sounds like a fundamental contradiction in terms to me..

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