I’m not so sure a silly play over the Kermadecs with members bills is the way to go


Some commentators are getting sticky knickers over the embarrassment of the new coalition over the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. David Farrar is one of them, conjuring all sorts of playful schemes to put members bills in the ballot.

One of the National Party’s moves in Opposition could be to lodge a members’ bill for the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary – which, if drawn, could see it pass into law if the Green Party also backed it or even abstained.

The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary has been one of the issues in negotiations between Labour, NZ First and the Greens after National put it on ice to try to resolve objections and a legal challenge by Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Commission.

National now has a chance to drive a wedge in the Opposition and if NZ First stymies progress on the sanctuary, there is already talk within National about putting in a members’ bill which, if drawn, could result in the sanctuary passing into law without Labour if the Greens support it.

While concerned about the lack of consultation with Maori over the proposal, the Green Party had said it believed the environmental values in the sanctuary outweighed any fishing interests.

Green leader James Shaw said supporting a members’ bill on it in the next term would depend on the nature of the bill, and was “too hypothetical to answer”. “We might have solved it by then anyway.”

Because National has 56 MPs, it can use the members’ bill process to get laws passed with support from either NZ First or the Green Party. That means it could mount members bills on issues that either of those parties approve of embarrass Labour or force it to veto a bill. It can also pass bills on its own if NZ First abstains – or with Act’s David Seymour if the Green Party abstains.

Under the former National Government, Labour could only do the same if it could get both United Future and the Maori Party on board as well as the Greens and NZ First. That happened on only a couple of occasions, such as Labour’s members’ bill to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

The Kermadecs sanctuary is understood to be mentioned in the Green Party’s agreement with Labour, which will be released along with NZ First’s on Tuesday.

The government isn’t even sworn in yet, and I for one want to see the advice to ministers for the incoming government before committing to supporting one solution or another over the Kermedecs. Who knows we might be cutting off our nose to spite ourselves in pushing for the sanctuary…that is a long, very long line of undersea volcanoes.

It is funny though, watching the Greens swallowing dead rats. But both Winston Peters and James Shaw have rejected claims made by the SST.

 Green Party leader James Shaw and NZ First leader Winston Peters both rejected a Sunday Star Times report that the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary was one of the casualties of the negotiations and that Labour had agreed with NZ First not to move on it the first term.

Let’s wait until these fools are sworn in then look at the advice to incoming ministers, and after that plan something.

It is silly for National to even contemplate such a move…for a start they are still in denial that they lost the election. Stupid back benchers and even stupid ex-ministers are currently running around claiming they dodged a bullet. That is the arrogance that National is the natural party of government showing through. It needs to be nixed rather quickly so the recovery can start.


-NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.