MANA in Parliament, 24-26 July 2012Posted on July 30, 2012 by admin in Mana in Parliament
Four Treaty settlement bills were finalised in Parliament this week: Maraeroa A & B Blocks Claims Settlement Bill; Ngāti Makino Claims Settlement Bill; Rongowhakaata Claims Settlement Bill; and the Ngāi Tamanuhiri Claims Settlement Bill. MANA supported the passage of each of these bills, however our Treaty settlements policy calls for a radical overhaul of the settlements process so that hapū and iwi can better negotiate just settlements for themselves and future generations (see the policy link on the MANA website). There were also a number of new government bills up this week including a bill to amend the structure and function of the Families Commission. MANA voted to oppose this bill at its first reading and Hone released a statement pointing out that the new structure makes no provision for Māori representation, and that the changes reduce the independence of the Commission to speak out against the government and their relentless attacks on whānau – see the MANA website for Hone’s media release.
Wednesday was another Member’s Day, where bills put up by MPs rather than the government are debated. Two really exciting member’s bills passed their first readings this week – helped along by MANA’s vote – and will now be considered by parliamentary select committees. The first was the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill which, if passed into law, will enable Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day to be held on a Monday if they fall on a weekend. The second was the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill which, if also passed into law, will entitle parents to six months paid parental leave instead of three.
The other exciting development of the week was that Louisa Wall’s Definition of Marriage Bill to open up marriage to all couples was drawn from the member’s bill ballot box. This provided the perfect opportunity for MANA to announce our newly finalised stance in support of gay marriage. Drawing on a distinctly tikanga Māori understanding of relationships and morality, Hone’s release stated that MANA respects and supports all caring, loving relationships regardless of gender – and that partners in such relationships should be entitled to marry and adopt children. See the MANA website for the media release. Everything crossed that our Feed the Kids/Breakfast and Lunch in Schools Bill will be selected from the next member’s ballot which is expected to happen in August.