Mana in Parliament 13-15 November 2012Posted on November 19, 2012 by admin in Mana in Parliament
Government Bills up this week
- This week Parliament passed the Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill which reinstated the rank of ‘Queens Counsel’ for the country’s top lawyers. MANA opposed the Bill on the grounds that it’s a backward step which keeps us tied to a set of constitutional arrangements that are not of this place or for this place, Aotearoa.
- The biggest happening in Parliament this week, however, was the third and final readings of two Treaty settlement bills – the Ngāti Manuhiri Claims Settlement Bill and the Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Claims Settlement Bill. It is always special to have Iwi in the House. They inject the debate with presence and real emotion, and the dryness of the debating chamber is momentarily transformed by the sound of waiata and tauparapara. MANA supported both Iwi to settle their claims, and Hone spoke in the debates to acknowledge their efforts and perseverance. In fact, during his kōrero on the Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Claims Settlement Bill he had the manuhiri (and many MPs) in fits of laughter at his lively acknowledgements of those involved in the 507 day occupation at Bastion Point in 1977-1978 and the court appearances that followed. A copy of his speech is available on the MANA website, www.mana.net.nz, and is well worth a read to get a sense of not just what was at stake for those from Ōrakei, but also what was shared and learnt by all who participated.
Members BillsUnusually, the two Member’s bills up this week were supported and referred to the relevant parliamentary select committee for further consideration and public input … of course it helps that they were both put up by government MPs!
- Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill to allow a positive breath test to be admissible as the sole evidence of drinking and driving when appearing in court. While MANA is in no way supportive of drinking and driving, we opposed the Bill on the grounds that it’s important that those accused of drinking and driving have their positive breath tests double checked and backed up by blood tests before a conviction is able to be made. The Bill was referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations select committee and public submissions will be called for shortly.
- Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Bill to update and increase the fines for the illegal smuggling of wildlife, and the killing and capturing of protected species. MANA supported this Bill. The Bill was referred to the Local Government and Environment select committee and public submissions on it will also be called for shortly.
Feed the Kids Bill This very special bill to introduce breakfast and lunch programmes into all decile 1 and 2 schools in New Zealand will come before Parliament for its first reading on Wednesday 13 February next year. This gives us 3 months to build enough support to get it to stage two of the five-part law making process. We’re very happy to report that support is already building, with Labour, Greens, and Māori Party confirming their support so far. A fact sheet on the Bill is currently being drafted which outlines what it will do, how it will work, and why it’s a good idea – and we hope to have it available on the MANA website early next week. Hone gave a speech on the Bill in Parliament this week, outlining the state of child poverty in New Zealand and the evidence and support for food programmes in school as a do-able and immediate solution to it. See the MANA website for a copy. A campaign to build support from organisations, schools, kura, communities, MANA supporters, and anyone interested in the kaupapa of Feed the Kids is underway, so please keep in touch via the MANA website and Facebook pages to find out what you can do to help. Manufacturing Inquiry For those wanting to make a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing called by Labour, Greens, NZ First, and MANA, submissions are due by 30 November. Submissions are welcomed from all people concerned with the crisis in manufacturing that is leading to more unemployment, lower export earnings, higher debt, and a worse-off New Zealand. For further information see the website, www.manufacturinginquiry.org.nz. Tauira in the House This week we had two students – Okena Wikitera and Nina O’Sullivan – visit from their kura Te Rangi Aniwaniwa in Kaitaia and experience the workings of a parliamentary office. During their visit they attended Question Time in Parliament, the Māori Affairs select committee with Hone, and had dinner with Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson. They also spent time at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), squeezed in a quick visit to Te Papa Tongarewa, and met King Homeboy the beat-boxing champion up town. We loved having them to stay, cracking us up with questions like “who’s the leader of Labour?” … and big ups to Nina for helping me with my filing! Parliament will not sit next week and will resume the following week, 27-29 November.