Members Day Time Dissolves

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — 10:05 PM

Other business eroded the time available for members’ bills today and opportunities to make progress on them are rapidly dwindling.

After Question Time, Speaker David Carter granted Grant Robertson’s request for an urgent debate on Judith Collins’ alleged conflict of interest with Oravida.

This was followed by a two hour debate on the Budget Policy Statement after the Finance and Expenditure Committee’s report back on the Government document. A vote that the report be accepted was passed by 63 to 57 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.

This meant MPs did not begin debate on the local bill – Tasman District Council (Validation and Recovery of Certain Rates) Bill – until after the dinner break.

The bill validates rates unlawfully set by the Tasman District Council.

Progress was slow with many National MPs taking many calls on the widely supported two part bill in a filibuster and they completed the committee stage at 9.45pm.

In contrast, MPs whizzed through the committee stage of the Sullivan Birth Certificate Bill in a few minutes to the gratitude of the bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall. The bills were reported without amendment and the House rose for the evening

If the House does sit for the last time on July 31 there will be a maximum of five more Members’ Days before this Parliament is dissolved. These could be further reduced if Urgency and set piece debates take precedence.

Under Standing Orders, the House deals with local, private and members bills in a strict order. Local and private bills take precedence over members’ bills, and bills which are furthest through the legislative process are dealt with ahead of those down the queue.

This means the third reading of the rates valuation bill and the Sullivan Birth Certificate Bill, the committee stages and subsequent stages of the Electronic Transactions (Contract Formation) Amendment Bill will take precedence over bills awaiting first and second readings.

The Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill and the Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Bill (both at second reading stage) will also come before MPs deal with the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill’s second reading.

Many MPs say National is filibustering in order to delay dealing with the parental paid leave bill and probably veto it on financial grounds, before they make alternative proposals.

It is looking increasingly unlikely the House will deal with many – if any – first readings of members’ bills ahead of the election, which makes any more ballots equally unlikely.

The House will resume tomorrow at 9am for the second reading debates on the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill and the Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru Claims Settlement Bill, and the third reading of the Raukawa Claims Settlement Bill.

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