As the Parliamentary Term draws to its close, the chances of MPs getting a new members’ bill from the ballot are almost zero.
Tau got a bit of free publicity over Easter by saying he would be putting forward a members’ bill to allow shop trading on Easter Friday. Desperate in Te Atatu? Sounds like it.
Now Roger Douglas has joined the ACT, with this press release today saying he’s going to resubmit his members’ bill to strip young workers of minimum wages. His members’ bill on the same topic was roundly defeated last year. Roger’s on his way out, thank goodness, but Don Brash will gladly pick up the mantle.
Problem for Tau and Roger is that there ain’t going to be any more ballots this term of parliament. Unless, that is, all MPs with members bills up for first readings withdraw them and I can’t see that happening.
Only six Members’ bills awaiting first reading can be on the Order Paper on each Members’ Day. We have six already, but also in front of those bills are :
- Local and private orders of the day : These take precedence, and there are currently two at committee stages, with third readings to come. There’s likely to be more.
- Two controversial bills awaiting committee stages and third reading : Voluntary Student Membership Bill (Heather Roy) and Secret Ballots for strike action (Tau Henare).
- After that, there comes two second readings of NACt MP bills, followed by committee stages, and if they get to it, third readings.
Then, and only then can we begin on the first readings of members’ bills that are already on the Order Paper.
Given that Members’ Days are only held every second sitting week, and the government’s predilection for using Members’ Days for urgency, I can confidently predict there will be absolutely no more ballots for members’ bills this term, including those of Tau Henare and Roger Douglas.
Thank goodness for that.