Written By: - Date published: 12:46 pm, May 16th, 2009 - 59 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack, greens, labour, maori party, national/act government - Tags: filibuster, Tariana Turia
In an epic last-ditch defence of Aucklanders’ right to be consulted on the removal of their democracy, Labour and the Greens are currently filibustering the government’s enabling legislation in Parliament by forcing a vote on thousands of new amendments.
Their objective is simple, they want to get the bill off to a select committee and some hearings in Auckland so the people can have a say on the future of their democracy. National can delay the bill to let this happen, or they can have the opposition delay it for them.
This is an extreme situation – the government is removing people’s democratic rights under Parliamentary urgency – and unorthodox measures like this are entirely justified.
But apparently this commitment to democracy is a little too much for Tariana Turia:
Mrs Turia left the debating chamber in anger yesterday after Labour forced votes on almost 1000 largely trivial amendments to a bill to set up a transitional authority and create the Auckland Council.
After she walked out, the Maori Party did not cast votes on the remainder of the amendments Labour had put forward as part of its filibuster strategy to draw out the passage of the bill in protest against National’s use of urgency.
Mrs Turia said her party was strongly opposed to the legislation, but said Labour had taken it too far and was wasting taxpayers’ money and valuable constituency time.
“But for the first time ever, I walked out of the House totally disgusted with this behaviour, which Labour thought was very amusing.”
I’m more than happy for Labour and the Greens to use a few cents of my tax dollars to defend democracy. That’s what good oppositions do.
But then Turia has the mana of her party’s deal with National to worry about, doesn’t she? And that’s clearly more important to her than the democratic rights of Auckland Maori.
[ps. Check out channel 94 on Sky TV if you’ve got it. It’s great political theatre.]
Update: gobsmacked points out the Maori Party have continued to vote with Labour and the Greens on this. So this was just a tantrum from Tariana Turia, not a change in Maori Party policy.