MPs (socially distanced) will be back in Parliament tomorrow – meanwhile Ministers have been appointing and spending

It looks like Parliament will be sitting again tomorrow – whoopee – although the MPs who turn up will be socially distanced rather than sitting virtually.

Who made the decision seems to be a matter for conjecture.  Thomas Coughlan, reporting in the NZ Herald, noted the ACT Party announcement that Parliament will return to sit this week in socially distanced form.

 But that was news to speaker Trevor Mallard who, along with many MPs this morning, found out about Act’s plans via press release.

Act leader David Seymour said he “welcomed the parliamentary business committee decision that a socially distanced Parliament will go ahead next week”.

Mallard, however, said Parliament’s business committee had not actually decided anything when it met on Friday night. Rather, it had not decided to delay Parliament or progress with another plan. Continue reading “MPs (socially distanced) will be back in Parliament tomorrow – meanwhile Ministers have been appointing and spending”

Nats and ACT are riled by the suspension of Parliament – but has democracy been put on hold if select committees are sitting?

Our report on governance today is much the same as yesterday’s, reflecting a preoccupation with the Covid-19 lockdown.

But there’s a  big difference.

National and ACT leaders yesterday were urging the PM not to suspend Parliament – at least, not for more than one week, in National’s case.

Today they are expressing their dismay that their urging has gone unheeded.

National leader Judith Collins said:

“At a time when New Zealanders have the harshest lockdown in the world and have lost our freedoms because of the Government’s failure to vaccinate and secure the border, this move by Jacinda Ardern is unfathomable.” 

In the previous Level 4 lockdown, all parties agreed to closing Parliament in return for an Opposition-led Epidemic Response Committee to provide some accountability of the Government.

Won’t Ardern re-introduce this for involving  other parties in what transpires and to serve as some sort of check on executive power?

Apparently not. Continue reading “Nats and ACT are riled by the suspension of Parliament – but has democracy been put on hold if select committees are sitting?”

Opposition leaders press the PM to spare Parliament (and democracy) from the lockdown – oh, and keep an eye on the debt

The Covid lockdown has been the subject of most press releases posted on The Beehive website – and those distributed by other political parties  – in recent days.

The flow of statements includes the thoroughly reasonable demand from Opposition leaders that democracy not be put into lockdown, too.

ACT leader David Seymour called on the PM “to ensure democracy continues and that the Government is held to account”.

Sure, the Government was elected by a majority of voters, Seymour acknowledged, but the people who voted for other parties still deserve to be represented.

His reasoning:

“If the AM Show and Seven Sharp can go ahead while socially distancing, there’s no reason our democratically elected Parliament can’t.

“If Jacinda Ardern decides against that, the question will be whether this is about safety, or avoiding scrutiny.” Continue reading “Opposition leaders press the PM to spare Parliament (and democracy) from the lockdown – oh, and keep an eye on the debt”

Here’s your chance to let Parliament know what you think of its curbs on Henry VIII (and other) powers

We were about to pack up the office PC and spend the rest of the weekend relaxing when we were alerted to an exercise in Parliamentary scrutiny which ..

Well, the word “arcane” sprang to mind.  But perhaps this reflects badly on our need to brush up on some aspects of the legislative process.

The news is that the Regulations Review Committee has called for submissions on an inquiry into parliamentary scrutiny of confirmable instruments.

Do we hear whoops of approval among our readers?

Or are you asking: Confirmable instruments?   What are they?

Those of you steeped in the art of parliamentary law-making won’t need to read the report produced by the Regulations Review Committee which contains the answer. Continue reading “Here’s your chance to let Parliament know what you think of its curbs on Henry VIII (and other) powers”

Queen breaks law – but badly advised

In a stunning denoument, Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that if you want Brexit, you really need to vote for Boris Johnson.

Well, not exactly …  The Court decided – unanimously – that Boris’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks was unlawful – and it follows that the Queen’s decision was null and of no effect – in effect Parliament was not prorogued at all. Continue reading “Queen breaks law – but badly advised”