MANA in Parliament, 23-25 October 2012

Posted on October 29, 2012 by admin in Mana in Parliament

Government Bills up this week
· Most of the week in Parliament was taken up by the committee stage of the Alcohol Reform Bill. At committee stage (which follows second reading), a bill is debated clause by clause and any MP is able to table amendments to any aspect of it. While all political parties are supporting the government’s Alcohol Reform Bill, many think that it doesn’t do enough to properly regulate where and when alcohol can be sold, involve communities in decision-making, and police how it can be promoted and advertised, as recommended in the Law Commission’s 2008 report Alcohol In Our Lives. The availability of cheap and heavily discounted alcohol is also a key factor in harmful drinking and the bill fails to address this too. MANA supported a number of amendments from other parties to address these issues, but none had sufficient support to be passed. MANA tabled an amendment to have the purchase age of 18 years reviewed in 5 years’ time given the significant role that age plays in harmful drinking. Again, this amendment did not have enough support to pass – but we greatly appreciated the support of Green and NZ First MPs, and many of those from Labour. See the MANA website, www.mana.net.nz for Hone’s media statement.
· Also up this week was the second reading of the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. The bill further weakens the already very limited NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), where emission reduction targets will be set so low as to be meaningless and where polluters can buy unlimited carbon credits to meet these targets. As a result, there will be even less incentive to change behaviour and develop and adopt environmentally responsible practices and innovations. Under the ETS, emissions have continued to rise and the cost of this into the future will be hundreds of billions of dollars – and because the big polluters are not being made to pay, the cost will fall disproportionately on taxpayers. MANA has continued to oppose the bill. We have called for the ETS to be repealed and replaced with policies and regulations that will lead to a genuine reduction in carbon emissions in a fair and just way.

Asset sales and the NZ Māori Council water case:
This week the High Court granted the NZ Māori Council’s application to prevent the government from being able to transfer Mighty River Power from being a State-Owned Enterprise to a Mixed Ownership Model company. See the MANA website for Hone’s statement congratulating the NZ Māori Council for their first win in court – a win that can be shared by all New Zealanders opposed to asset sales.

Manufacturing Inquiry
· This inquiry into how to protect and grow manufacturing in New Zealand is being supported by all of the opposition political parties – Labour, Greens, NZ First, and MANA. Submissions are now being called for, and we are especially interested to hear from workers, business people, and experts about how manufacturing can be best supported. Submissions can be emailed to manufacturinginquiry@parliament.govt.nz, and the deadline is 30 November. For further information, go to www.manufacturinginquiry.org.nz.
· As part of the inquiry, MANA is continuing to promote the need for a financial transactions or ‘Hone Heke’ tax to transform and properly balance our economy. This is because it would act to reduce currency speculation on the NZ dollar, reducing its value. It would mean more income from our exports, including those produced in the manufacturing sector – supporting and growing business viability and the capacity to retain and hire staff. On Friday, ten countries of the European Union announced that they would be implementing a financial transactions tax. See the MANA website for John Minto’s release applauding the move and calling on the New Zealand government to follow suite.

177th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 28 October, 1835
To mark this occasion, MANA has put together a one-page flyer congratulating a number of Iwi, rōpū, and individuals for the bold and courageous independent stands they are making for a better Aotearoa, including: The New Zealand Māori Council; Sam Kuha; Te Kāhui Mana Ririki; the community of Glen Innes; Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Porou; and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust. Check the MANA facebook pages and website for a copy.

Parliament will not sit next week and will resume the following week, 6-8 November.