Smarmy Brownlee on urgency

Written By: - Date published: 7:10 pm, July 2nd, 2013 - 24 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, national, Parliament - Tags: , ,

This press release from Brownlee is a truly nauseating effort:

Urgency moved with regret

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee says the Government regrets the need to put Parliament into urgency this afternoon, saying his preference was for legislation that will be covered under urgency to be debated using extended hours. …

“We have always used extended hours responsibly and rarely, and that would have remained the case had we used them on this occasion.” …

“This Government is conscious to not abuse urgency, and only rarely and with good reason opts to pass bills through all stages under urgency.

Oh please. In the real world this is how the Nats actually operate:

Bulldozed rush of legislation makes mockery of democracy

It [National] has adopted a bulldozing approach that is disturbingly at odds with democratic Government. Gerry Brownlee would not even name the bills to be passed under urgency, but only the subject areas that they canvassed. Worse, he refused to give Opposition parties advance copies of any of the bills, until just before they were to be debated in Parliament.

The fact that the matters were being dealt with under urgency already meant that there would be no chance for public submission; there is no room in the action plan for tedious details such as the select committee process, by which interested parties get to express their view about proposed legislation. … It is a state of affairs seriously at odds with the notion of a Parliamentary democracy. …

It is entirely possible that National is in the grip of a first flush of legislative enthusiasm. If so, it will adopt a more measured pace in the new year. If not, there is cause for concern. The Clark administration was often described as taking a “nanny state” approach – but it did consult widely; the Nats, by contrast, are looking remarkably like bullies.

And from there the misuse of urgency continued. Brownlee’s latest press release is pure smarm.

24 comments on “Smarmy Brownlee on urgency”

  1. This is the week when the GCSB submissions are occurring.

    How better to divert attention than to fill the media with news about different laws being passed.

    • tc 1.1

      And this MSM generated frenzy about MP/mana non merger and Owen Glenn’s dodgy past he never disclosed…..both not worth the column inches and airtime but fills the space rather than GCSB, bridges lying, show us the money on akl, Dodgy banks, selling out education etc etc

  2. Lanthanide 2

    My bf and I came up with a neat little constitutional limitation on urgency: that any legislation passed under urgency would have an automatic and irrevocable 18 month expiration. The only way to extend the legislation after that would be through normal parliamentary process, or through another round of urgency.

    That would allow for urgent issues – what urgency is actually for – to be passed, and follow-up process to deal with the legislation properly.

    This would likely require Parliament’s standard sitting days to be extended to ensure everything could be gotten through in a timely manner, but IMO they’re too short as it is.

    • felix 2.1

      I like that, but I’d put some further limitation on reintroducing a bill under urgency again.

      Not keen on the idea of having laws recycled indefinitely. I can imagine after a few years the house would be in a perpetual state of urgency.

      Let them extend the urgently passed laws via normal process or not at all.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Or how about a limit of only 1 recycle? It is conceivable there could be instances where it simply is required; better not to outrule it from the get-go – leave some flexibility in there.

        Also I don’t think it’s likely that a government would recycle a law via urgency indefinitely anyway – the public simply wouldn’t stand for it.

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          But what can the public do about it if both major parties support a dodgy law passed under urgency?

          Why give them the option? Just make them get it right, you’ve already given them two chances.

    • Follow-the-money 2.2

      We already have a “…neat little constitutional limitation on urgency…”.

      Every 36 months (or so) voters get to have their say.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        That has been shown to have very little impact on the recent Clark or current Key governments.

  3. That Herald editorial is from 2008. While National has an appalling record of abusing urgency, I don’t think this is quite up there.

    All but one of the bills being debated today were already on the Order Paper (the other was introduced by the normal process today). They are all being given one reading. There is no all-stages urgency, nothing is bypassing select committee, nothing is being rammed through its final stages in a rush and to suppress debate. Instead, it really is extra time.

    That said: calling it today eats a member’s day tomorrow. It may also mean the cancellation of the Intelligence & Security Committee’s hearing on the spy bill tomorrow (I am still waiting for confirmation, but Standing Orders say so). So, its abusive in timing, but not in content. But if they’d done it on Thursday, and taken the extra time out of their own weeknds rather than Member’s Day, I wouldn’t have minded at all.

    • fender 3.1

      Sounds as if Key is trying to avoid Dotcom, wonder why…

      • Follow-the-money 3.1.1

        Dotcom should stand as an independent in Hellensville. That’d be worth staying up for on election night.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    My suggestion is urgency requires 75% of the MP’s approval.

    Dictionary definition. “Urgent: calling for immediate attention,” like a natural disaster.

    These people are so crooked I wouldn’t go near them with a barge pole. Yet THEY are sovereign over US! The least trusted people (politicians) hold sway over all of us.

    This system of parliamentary absolute sovereignty over the people is about four centuries out of date.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      This system of parliamentary absolute sovereignty over the people is about four centuries out of date.

      QFT

      Need to move to a more democratic system.

  5. tracey 5

    Is this the first time key has sat on a committee which faces people from the great unwashed???

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      I thought that Ministers werent meant to sit on Committees and definitely not as a Chairman

  6. tracey 6

    Interestingvthat ianz has pulled chchch consenting authority because it was granting consents without evidence of safety. Requesting that evidence… owners gathering it and then council assessing it will add time to the consenting process. Misguided ss it was perhaps chch council was trying to keep to the 20 working days and speed things through. A message they could be forgiven for thinking was coming from Mr Urgency himself for over a year?

  7. burt 7

    rOb

    I recall you defending urgency when it was used to pass retrospective validations outside of the budget cycle killing off the Darnton v Clarke court case – because it was expediend and allowed the government to get on with the things they needed to do. Is it different when Labour do it ?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      “But but but Lllllaaaaabbbbbbooooouuuuurrrrrr!”

      Were you ok with urgency when Labour used it? Fucking hypocrite.

      • felix 7.1.1

        Aww go easy on the poor wee fella. The Cooks and Stewards ruined his holiday once in the ’70s.

      • JK 7.1.2

        Going into urgency means no Question Time – so no-one can ask what’s really going on with Christchurch building consents, nor GCSB, or other matters of importance.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Yep, and we’ve been telling you why ever since – you just don’t listen.

      There is a place for urgency but National has a tendency to abuse it which the previous government didn’t do.

      • burt 7.2.1

        Yep, and we’ve been telling you why ever since – you just don’t listen.

        All you say boils down to: It’s OK when dear leader does it in her own best interests because being dear leader her best interests are also our best interests.

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