Red Alert

Archive for the ‘consultation’ Category

Another Hekia Parata train wreck

Posted by on September 26th, 2012

Today in the House I questioned Hekia Parata about the consultation process around school closures and mergers in Christchurch. It would be fair to say it took quite a few attempts before I got any answers, and even then I’m not sure I’m any clearer after her comments such as “I consulted the submissions that had been submitted”.

The government’s current consultation process around the future of schooling in greater Christchurch is a total sham. Hekia Parata began an ‘open consultation’ on 13 September but confirmed in the House today that she will be writing to school boards within days to formally begin the legal process to implement her plan to close and merge schools.

To make matters worse, documents from the Ministry of Education tabled in the House today suggest they only envisage a formal consultation process of five to six weeks, which just so happens to coincide with school holidays and senior student exams.

There is no way the Government can get meaningful information from teachers, parents and children during the exam and holiday period. This whole process looks like a sham and sounds like a sham, because it is a sham. Hekia Parata has clearly already made her mind up.

This is another classic Hekia Parata botch up. The people of Christchurch have been through enough trauma in the past two years. Rather than engaging in a meaningful way with those affected, Hekia Parata seems determined to add to the stress.


Is parliamentary debate a farce?

Posted by on June 19th, 2011

I’ve participated in a few parliamentary debates on important legislation in the last two and a half years.

As a new MP , with little prior experience of parliamentary process, it’s taken a while to get my head around the procedural stuff and some of the seemingly odd rules. Standing orders, conventions etc. Some of them are very odd. Outdated even. Others are grounded in sense and democractic principles.

I believe in the way we run our parliament. That a Bill gets put up by the government, goes to a select committee where the public get the right to submit and comment, it gets thoroughly scrutinised and commented on by officials and the members of the committee from all sides of the House. A revised version goes back to parliament, where it goes through several more stages before becoming law.

But I’m becoming more convinced that much of this process is a farce. Under this government. I don’t know enough about previous governments to comment. But I reckon it can’t have been worse than it is today.

Urgency is used frequently and consistently to push through non-urgent bills and to rush through laws that suit the government’s purpose without the public’s ability to comment. Arrogant disregard for good process and the importance of public scrutiny. And arrogant disregard for the role of Opposition.

Last Thursday an example of this has left me feeling that the concept of actual parliamentary debate is all just a farce.

Steven Joyce is a new Minister. He’s been in parliament as long as me. He’s smart. He’s described as the Minister for everything. He’s completely self assured, arrogant and brushes off public criticism on any issues as being irrelevant.

Humility, the ability to listen and take due regard are qualities I value. Steven Joyce does not posssess these.

The biggest piece of legislative change in the telecommunications sector is currently going through our parliament. Last Thursday saw us make progress in the committee stage through about half of the Bill. It is a very controversial law change. The select committee process was rushed. Labour and the Greens are vehemently opposed to the Bill in its present form. The Act Party members were opposed to it, but appear to have changed their minds. The Maori Party did a deal with the government in order to buy their support.
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Hone has the right to criticise his leadership

Posted by on January 23rd, 2011

Not often that I find my self agreeing with Matt McCarten and Fran O’Sullivan at the same time. They have written from different perspectives but come to the same conclusion :- Hone Harawira has a right and possibly even a responsibility to criticise the leadership of the Maori Party for the direction they are taking.

McCarten :-

Political maturity means accepting MPs will have different opinions.

A party having a considered discussion about itself is democratic and can make it more popular.

Trying to crush alternative perspectives will have the opposite effect.

O’Sullivan :-

Backbench MPs are not subject to Cabinet collective responsibility. They should be able to articulate their views on major issues and challenge the powers that be. Trouble is, far too many of today’s crop leave any pretence to owning an independent brain outside the door when they enter Parliament.

and

Harawira is made of sterner stuff. But there has also been a sea change, which I put down to the journalistic tendency to quickly put any backbench MP on to the “must be dumped from caucus’ slipway” when they call their own party to account.

Instead of greasing the ramp, why don’t journalists simply challenge the leadership to respond to the valid points Harawira has made?

Publicly opposing the leadership of your party is never easy. But there are plenty of precedents, more from Westminster than here but can and should still be done.

The process is pretty clear. One resigns from portfolios and shifts to the backbench. One talks it through with the leader and then caucus. And one is honest and straightforward – not the Carter approach.

We don’t have a real tradition of this sort of approach – Muldoon, Minogue, Waring, Anderton, Upton, Lee. Being a small Parliament doesn’t help. And the increased power that has gone to the party and the leadership with MMP hasn’t helped either.

But I do agree with McCarten and O’Sullivan that it is an important part of a democracy that, in the end, MPs have the right to go public with their concerns.

Lots of colleagues disagree. I refer readers to the box at the top right.

And to make it clear to trolls again – I believe Phil Goff is the only person in our caucus who can lead a government this year – and that this post is about MPs right to express their views – nothing wider.


Australians to debate gay marriage

Posted by on November 18th, 2010

Breaking News:

Well done to the Australian Greens for pushing this issue and to Australian Labor for agreeing to support. Shows maturity. And also to those independents.

Australian Parliament proving to be quite different this term.

Hope it lasts.

A Greens motion urging MPs to gauge community support for gay marriage has been passed by the House of Representatives.

The motion, which has ignited debate over the issue this week, was passed by 73 votes to 72 with the support of Labor and crossbench MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie.

The Coalition refused to support the motion as did independent MP Bob Katter.

Earlier this week Labor agreed to back the motion, put forward by Greens MP Adam Bandt, as tensions erupted internally over the party’s refusal to allow gay marriage.


Last chance to vote on OpenLabourNZ ideas

Posted by on October 3rd, 2010

Open Labour Logo

By 2.30pm Sunday, 7293 votes have been cast on 96 ideas on what Labour’s policy on open and transparent government should look like.

Those votes have been cast by 445 people who have registered at the ideascale site. If you haven’t already done so I urge you to register and cast your vote. To vote go here.

As previously noted, this does not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

For each suggestion you can ‘vote it up’ (if you agree with it) and ‘vote it down’ (if you disagree). You can also leave comments on each suggestion. If you have a suggestion that isn’t there, you can add that too (please read through the existing suggestions so we don’t get double ups).

There were originally 63 ideas put up a week ago. Users have added extra ones.

We will close off the vote tomorrow midday-ish. After that a report will be compiled and a workshop on OpenLabourNZ will be held at the Labour Party conference in mid October.

Labour’s policy on open and transparent government will be released at some point after that.


Vote takes off for open govt ideas

Posted by on October 1st, 2010

Open Labour Logo

Well you know what? It appears that doing things a bit differently can have a positive impact.

In the last few days more than 6000 votes have been cast for 90 different ideas to help Labour form a policy on open and transparent govt.

I’m hugely pleased with the engagement on Ideascale. It’s a new thing we’re trying out. If you haven’t already, go and look at it here.

So far there’s been 90 ideas put up (63 of them came out of the work done to date and 27 ideas are new)

6305 votes (as of 1pm Friday)

388 people have registered on ideascale to vote.

If you haven’t done so already I urge you to. It’s your chance to have a say on what ideas you like and don’t before we close it off, write up a report and take it to the Labour Party conference for further discussion in mid October.

After that, a policy will emerge to take into the 2011 election.

As previously noted, your voted preferences will not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

It’s been an interesting and exciting process and I hope a number of my colleagues will take it up and develop some of their own policy ideas in an open environment.


OpenLabourNZ: Vote for the policy ideas you like

Posted by on September 28th, 2010

Open Labour Logo

Thanks for all of your contributions to OpenLabourNZ so far.

The policy principles and the discussions under each theme have been put on the wiki here, and will be incorporated into the final report.

Through the process many different suggested actions have been received. We’d like you now to vote for those, so we can see which ones you consider are the most important for Labour to have in our policy. As previously noted, this does not necessarily mean they will end up in the policy, but we are taking your input seriously.

To vote, please go here

For each suggestion you can ‘vote it up’ (if you agree with it) and ‘vote it down’ (if you disagree). You can also leave comments on each suggestion. If you have a suggestion that isn’t there, you can add that too (please read through the existing suggestions so we don’t get double ups).

There are currently 63 suggested actions in total. You don’t have to vote for all of them, if you don’t have time, just choose the ones that are most important to you. The suggested actions are listed under each of their themes, so you might want to focus just on the themes that matter to you the most.

If you were at one of the discussion tables for a particular theme at the OpenLabourNZ event, it’d be particularly good to have your input, and any additional comments you’d like to add. Here are the links to suggested actions grouped under each them on the IdeaScale site:

These suggested actions will be listed in the final report, with the number of votes each received, so this is a chance to have your say. Voting doesn’t require a log in, and can be done in one click.


Discontent among the black tie set (and the taxi driver)

Posted by on July 18th, 2010

Went to a black tie event last night in Dunedin. Not normally my thing. But the cause was important. What was interesting was the consistent number of similar conversations I had about the government. Horror and discontent would be the major theme. No plan for our economy, lack of investment in local industry. Gutting of tertiary education.

I did not feel defensive once.

People could not understand why the government is so high in the polls.

I found it interesting because these are the people I would expect to be John Key cheerleaders. But was obvious they felt there was nothing to cheer about. Or that they felt led.

And then there was my taxi driver. Had never met him before. Couldn’t shut him up. He has done all the calculations on the effect of a GST rise. Him and his missus absolutely depend on Working for Families. They are terrified it will go. Two young kids.


#OpenLabourNZ Are the principles right?

Posted by on May 5th, 2010

Idiot/Savant has blogged a thoughtful critique on the guiding principles on OpenLabourNZ.

He says open government is not about public sector reform. It is not about innovation. It is not about giving our fat internet pipes something to do. It is first and foremost about democracy and accountability

Then he says: open government isn’t about technology; it is about openness. Technology is just the tool. It can and should be a very powerful tool, but the focus shouldn’t be on that – rather it should be on maximising openness to increase collaboration etc.

And goes on to say that the third principle gets it wrong as well. Public information is not a “national resource” – it is public property.

I don’t have a particular problem with Idiot/Savant’s critique other than a sense that he misses out the bit that’s about the role of government. I think democracy, accountability, openness, increasing collaboration and making public information public are vital. But I also think government is there to do things.

However, the notion that public information should be public domain rather than subjected to crown copyright and that it should need a very strong reason to override is important to discuss.

What information shouldn’t be public and why?


Happy birthday Red Alert

Posted by on May 5th, 2010

IMG_2008

Today we are One. So we thought we’d celebrate.1902 posts, 35,116 comments. 35 out of 43 Labour MPs have posted on Red Alert. Some more than others. Trevor Mallard still wins the prize for the most posts (550). Followed by me (212) Grant (198) Phil Twyford (156) and Chris Hipkins (136)

But all MPs make interesting, diverse and thoughtful contributions. Sometimes deadly serious, sometimes adversarial, sometimes funny and a bit silly. Sometimes a bit obscure.

They reflect the diversity of our caucus, but all have a set of common values.  And we’re not short on opinions. As you’d expect.

We’ve tried a few new things. Red Alert’s original aim was to open ourselves up to online contact. Now we’re opening up policy with the intention of opening up government. #OpenLabourNZ ,launched off Red Alert, is our first open policy on open and transparent government. And we’re doing it in an open and transparent way.

So far the reaction has been great and people are participating.

We’ve also tried using other forms of social media. We’re now sending Red Alert posts to both Facebook and Twitter and starting conversations about the issues in these mediums. Many Labour MPs are now actively using social media.

The important thing is the conversations we’re having with you the readers and commentors. We’re not trying to force our ideas down your throats, we want you to respond with your own views and have a discussion.

I feel proud of us, I think we do have a strong and valid voice and our challenge is to make Red Alert better known in the community and for more people to participate.

The year ahead will become more intense, we pledge to maintain our credibility and integrity.

Here’s a few stats:

We average about 30,000 page views a week
More than a million page views
465,000+ viewers

People visit Red Alert via:

Google (organic) 134,318 29.13%
Direct)86,917 18.85%
thestandard.org.nz (referral) 53,161 11.53%
kiwiblog.co.nz (referral) 46,955 10.18%
facebook.com (referral) 17,432 3.78%

The moderators on Red Alert are myself, Trevor, Grant and Chris Hipkins. We do our best to be fair and reasonable and your comment will get through as long as it’s not offensive, a lie or way off the subject.

We look forward to the next year and hope you’ll keep reading and commenting and telling us what you think.

Clare


#OpenLabourNZ The guiding principles

Posted by on May 3rd, 2010

Last week Labour announced a new way of developing policy. Out in the open, and involving you.

We are developing a policy on open and transparent government. And we set out the process that we’d use.We are inviting your views, your comments, your ideas and suggestions.

Today’s post sets out the guiding principles:

  • That open engagement at all levels of government is integral to promoting an informed, connected and democratic community, to public sector reform, innovation and best use of the national investment in broadband.
  • That using technology to increase collaboration in making policy and providing services will help achieve a more consultative, participatory and transparent government;
  • That public sector data and information is a national resource, and releasing as much of it on as permissive terms as possible will maximise its economic and social value and reinforce a healthy democracy;
  • That online engagement by public servants should be enabled and encouraged. Robust professional discussion benefits their agencies, their professional development, and the New Zealand public
  • That Labour’s open government policy will be able to translate from opposition into government. That we can live up to what we say we will do.

Labour will carefully consider the implementation and political implications of input received before it is adopted as policy. We will inform participants of the real world constraints (political, logistical, financial) as part of the engagement process.

Now it’s up to you to contribute to this important discussion.

To find out how to contribute click here


#OpenLabourNZ: What people are saying

Posted by on May 1st, 2010

Here’s a few links to some blogs on other sites:

At The Standard:
Open Government – Open Labour

Written By: Marty G – Date published: 8:50 am, April 30th, 2010 – 21 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, community democracy, democratic participation, labour – Tags:

It’s fantastic to see Labour’s Clare Curran working on an Open Government policy as a major plank for the next election. I’m pretty sure that it’s something various authors here have suggested over the last year and a bit – great minds, eh?

Read more here:

At No Right Turn:
#OpenLabourNZ

Labour is experimenting with crowdsourcing policy development, with a new project called OpenLabour. Policy ideas will be floated on Red Alert, with feedback through the comments. The result will be “a key input for Labour to consider in developing its policy”. How seriously it will be taken depends on how good it is. Which points out an obvious vulnerability right there: right-wing trolls engaging in their usual disruption and sabotage could easily make this a waste of time for everyone involved.

Read more here:

At Political Dumpground:
#OpenLabourNZ

Labour has decided to open up its policy development to the public. Quite a bold move by any political party I must say and I look forward to seeing how it develops. It is a good move forward for a more democratic society. Rather than writing a law and then getting public opinion get that public opinion first so the law can be written on that framework. A much better way to do it in my mind.

Read more here:


#OpenLabourNZ: What you are saying so far

Posted by on April 30th, 2010

Labour’s first attempt to develop open policy in an online environment is called #OpenLabourNZ. Our  first policy is on open and transparent government. Here’s a summary of the ideas and views coming through so far:

Ideas
Important not to look like party is “out of ideas”
Who will own ideas generated by this?
How will commitment to act on the ideas generated be ensured?

Party values
Will you be led more by public or party opinion?
What will happen when/if party opinion is out of line with public opinion? Is there room for flexibility?
Ensure core values of the party are retained
Make a commitment to acting on the ideas that are generated by the public, in keeping with party values

Moderation/ Technical elements
Format of submissions
Promotions of this process outside Red Alert and blogs
Possibility of creating a Wiki
Ensuring you engage those who don’t already use Twitter or social networking sites

Civil Education
This is a new opportunity for immediacy and directness, sparking interest in parliamentary processes
Engaging those who may feel disconnected from “the system” – particularly younger generations


#OpenLabourNZ How it will work

Posted by on April 30th, 2010

Labour announced yesterday that we are trying something new. A new way of developing policy. Out in the open, and involving you.

We are developing a policy on open and transparent government. This is how you can participate.

Stage 1. Participate in the first round of discussion

This is a brainstorming phase. We want to hear all your ideas, suggestions, and the issues you think are important regards open and transparent government. At this stage any contribution is welcome and valid, no matter how left field. Blog posts, links to news articles and reports or research, commentary on what’s happening in other countries, your half thought through or fully structured thoughts, anything is welcome.

It would be great if you could use the OpenLabourNZ tag whenever you write about the issue. This will make it easier for us to find and aggregate your input.

To participate you can:

Stage 2. Participate in a public event

Labour will host a public event in about four/five weeks (date to be announced) which you can attend in person, or through remote access. We hope to stream it live and to have several prominent speakers on open, transparent government. This is an opportunity to take part in a live discussion on the main issues raised during the first round of discussions and to hear other people’s views.

Stage 3. Comment on the draft policy on the wiki

After the public event, a draft policy paper will be put together by an independent writer who will be tasked with drawing together all the major themes and issues raised during Stages 1 and 2. The draft paper will be placed on a wiki for editing by anyone who wants to participate, over a defined period. It will then be finalised, and presented to Labour as a major piece of input into our policy development process.

Please participate in good faith. If you have any questions, just post them on this  blog or email me directly.


#OpenLabourNZ A new way of doing things

Posted by on April 29th, 2010

Labour is about to try something new. A new way of developing policy. Out in the open, and involving you.

Labour wants to start by developing a policy on open and transparent government. We want to do that in an open and transparent way.

Over the next couple of weeks there will be a series of posts on Red Alert on this.

  • The first post will outline the process and how you can participate.
  • The second will present some initial principles and ideas to generate discussion.

This is exciting and new and because it’s our first time, we might make some mistakes. We hope you’ll show goodwill and tolerance and above all, that you’ll have things to say.

Open and transparent government is about how politicians, the governing party and the public sector constructively interacts with citizens to be more democratic and effective.

Will you be writing Labour policy?
We want to be upfront with you from the beginning

Your input will contribute to Labour’s policy. The #openlabournz document will be taken as a key input for Labour to consider in developing its policy, noting the other drivers and that there will be changes possibly made between it and the final policy. However, please be assured that the final output will be of high quality, and that high quality suggestions are always taken very seriously in Labour Party policy development.

Labour is of course a political party and politics will dictate what the final policy looks like and how it is arrived at. Once the #openlabournz document is completed, we will keep you posted about where the policy is at, and where it ends up. Labour’s policy finalisation process is for Labour members and you’re welcome to participate in that next step through the usual route of joining the party.

Why are we doing this?
Red Alert was established as a tool using new technology to build a voice for Labour and to demonstrate that we are doing things differently and prepared to truly “engage” with the public in ways we haven’t before.

The debates on Red Alert are good. There is a definite need however for another mechanism which takes the discussion further on particular issues. A way of providing an open forum for discussion that can provide input into Labour policy. That’s authentic. That shows we are who we say we are.

#OpenLabourNZ is a way to do that. If the process works, we’ll do it again on other issues. You might have suggestions. So remember the hash tag #OpenLabourNZ. And watch this space for the next post.


Young voters demand more two-way communication

Posted by on March 7th, 2010

Now this is very interesting. And right up Labour’s alley (sounds better when you say it than when you write it).

A  UK Hansard Society report – Parliament 2020: visioning the future Parliament – asking first-time voters, parliamentarians and parliament officials about their visions for a future Parliament found that all groups wanted to see Parliament using new technologies to more actively engage with citizens.

The top priorities for all three groups (first-time voters, parliamentary officials and MPs and Peers) were:

  • Greater use of new technologies
  • Interactive communication

The main concern of MPs and Peers was the modernisation of procedures in Parliament, and while parliamentary officials, MPs and Peers prioritised access to information, first-time voters prioritised:

  • Education and outreach
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Diversity of representatives

In the wake of the recent expenses scandals, this report follows a sea-change in British politics where the whole political system is now subject to a level of interest and scrutiny not seen before and this includes the inner workings of Parliament.

The recommendations were that Parliament:

  • modernise an institution that is steeped in tradition but sometimes constrained by its own history and culture;
  • provide information in more understandable and usable formats;
  • harness the potential of new technologies; and
  • better engage the public, particularly about how they can influence the legislative process.

Leaving aside the negative cynical stuff about politicians, this is heartening in that such a survey is conducted, that it may be taken seriously, and that people are articulating what they want: open-ness and transparency.

PS: In case you don’t know, Peers are Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron. Not sure why they got asked (PPS: that’s meant to be a joke)


What’s the need for secrecy?

Posted by on December 4th, 2009

In the interests of transparency and public interest, the New Zealand Government should reveal the text of recent secret discussions in South Korea on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

In the interests of transparency, I will release today the content of discussions held last week in the Commerce Select Committee on this issue. The transcript was only made public this week.

There’s a lot of agitation and unease building around this locally and overseas, in light of the unknown outcome of the Government’s re-write of controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Act which is overdue for release. People have been speculating that the delay is linked to the ACTA discussions. The Government has said it isn’t.

Labour is keen for public discussion and input on ACTA, and for the government to acknowledge this and release the content of the negotiations to date.

New Zealand is participating in the discussions along with Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

The NZ Herald reported in November that while the US government claims ACTA is about counterfeiting rather than major changes to copyright law, and shouldn’t be subject to public scrutiny, leaked versions of ACTA discussion papers seem to indicate that copyright lobby organisations may have in fact turned treaty negotiations to suit their own agenda.

Labour has taken a strong position on copyright this year, understanding the importance of public discussion and the needs for all stakeholders to be taken into account and a fair outcome reached.

To view what was said by the Ministry of Economic Development officials in last week’s select committee click below.

Further questions submitted from the select committee to MED are here. (more…)


Sneaky Riley (Tolley) the Rat

Posted by on November 25th, 2009

A few weeks back, Anne Tolley announced she was delaying the requirement for 80% of early childhood educators to be qualified teachers – only she forgot to say her Government had also decided to scrap the planned increase to 100% qualified teaching workforce forever!…or at least until 2011 when Labour gets back in and gets serious about improving standards in ECE again.  Today, the Ministry of Education confirmed that the Nats have scrapped the policy to move to a fully-qualified ECE workforce but couldn’t explain why the Minister didn’t announce it nor why its ECE Advisory Committee had not been consulted on this major policy shift.  The policy shift was noted, it said, in its “frequently asked questions” section on the Ministry website. I smell a rat. I wonder if the Minister picked up this cunning strategy from her recent bedtime stories?


Finlayson on mealbreaks

Posted by on October 28th, 2009

Wilkinson wasn’t in the House today so Finlayson answered. I don’t know what the Chief Justice saw in him. He is [deleted after careful consideration - Clare]

He totally misrepresented the current legislation. Failed to mention that the air traffic excuse for this shocking bill was solved using the amendments passed under Labour last year.

Here is what he said, and what it means I think is that it is the intention of the government to force the bill through before Christmas with no Select Committee:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour-Hutt South) to the Minister of Labour: What has happened since compulsory rest and meal breaks for employees came into effect this year, which has led to her proposing changes to that legislation?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Acting Minister of Labour): From complaints received by the Minister it has become clear, if it was not already, that not everyone has a cup of tea at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and stops for lunch precisely at 1 p.m., except possibly Parliament when it is in urgency and, on most occasions, the courts. The changes are aimed at ensuring flexibility in the workplace by allowing employers and employees to time their breaks in a way that does not disrupt their work. The Government does not believe it should restrict the rights of employees to ask their employer if they can skip afternoon tea and go home a little earlier than usual in order to pick up their children from sports practice.

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A state of urgency?

Posted by on October 21st, 2009

Dear readers, Parliament is now in urgency. That would be the fifth Parliamentary week in a row that we have gone into urgency.Perhaps its time to rename urgency as normalcy if this is the approach National is going to take.

In all seriousness, while there is a place for urgency, and (before the right begin to howl) all governments have used it, this is getting beyond a joke.  Meanwhile, elsewhere in the complex the hearings on the Emissions Trading Bill are taking place from 9am to 9pm each day, with some submitters given only a few hours notice of needing to submit and then being given a very short time to state their cases. Concerns are being raised from those on all sides of the debate. It appears from media reports that National even tried to get the committee to agree to having all 184 people who wanted to submit in public put through in one day.

Lest anyone think these issues are ‘beltway’, the excessive use of urgency and the rushed select committee processes should be of concern to all New Zealanders.  Apart from being anti-democratic, they open the door for bad and poorly considered law. There will necessarily be simple drafting errors but more than that Select Committees are either not getting a say or not getting enough time to properly scruitinise the Bills.

Earlier this year National put through the bill creating national standards for literacy and numeracy without a select committee process. In other words without giving parents, teachers, experts in the field the chance to have a say. Inevitably Anne Tolley has now had to delay the whole process to try to deal with issues that have come up since the Bill was passed. These could have been dealt with in a Committee.  We all know about the ramming through of the Auckland governance legislation without any public process.  There are numerous other examples.

As an MP I expect, and I am happy, to work hard and do some long hours. But whether I support the laws being passed by National or not, I want to know that I am part of upholding our democracy and making good law. That is being put at risk.