Parliament impeding social reform

An advantage of MMP and it’s moderating effect on policies can turn into a disadvantage when it comes to social reforms that have a lot of popular public support. There are several current reform issues that our Members of Parliament (our representatives) are very reluctant to deal with.

Barry Soper points out that Parliament the problem stopping social reform.

The problem with Parliament and social reform is that is that it’s wrested in the hands of too few people. And there’s a lot of reform itching to get out of the political starting blocks.

Cannabis law reform’s one area that’s unlikely to see the light of day with the current crop.

Labour’s Andrew Little appeared recently to warm to the idea in an interview with student radio but then appeared to back track when it made it on to the mainstream media platform indicating it wasn’t a priority.

There’s no way it’s going to be a starter with John Key who’s vehemently opposed and his associate health spokesman Peter Dunne’s not disposed either.

That’s perhaps unfair to Dunne who seems intent on pushing things as far as he can within the current laws (especially with medicinal cannabis) that National seem to have no intention of allowing and relaxation.

Parliament is at least listening on euthanasia, but whether this will lead to taking a serious look at reform is yet to be seen.

In the meantime people, like the desperately ill former trade union leader Helen Kelly, puffs away on black market weed while the cops rightly turn a blind eye.

And while they’re puffing their way to a less painful death, the politicians are at the moment hearing submissions on whether the desperately ill should be allowed to end it all through assisted suicide.

The death last year of Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales who was suffering from brain cancer, just after a High Court denied her plea for an assisted death because it was a matter for Parliament to decide, wasn’t in vain.

An inquiry into euthanasia’s underway but don’t hold your breath that it’ll lead to change, again because the power wrests in the hands of too few.

Even though John Key supported the last Parliamentary ballot on the issue 13 years ago, which was lost by just two votes, he’s not willing to promote a Government bill on the topic to allow MPs to exercise their consciences.

Labour’s on the same side with Little instructing one of his MP’s voluntary euthanasia bill to be dropped musing it was about “choosing the controversies that are best for us at this point in time.”

So the two major parties are not willing to step up on considering social reform that is very important to many people.

Now it would seem the only hope for those who want the right to die with dignity, at a time of their own choosing, is ACT’s David Seymour’s bill which is sitting gathering dust, waiting to be drawn from a ballot, which of course may never happen.

The terminally ill would argue it’s not a question of when they die, it’s how they die. But at the moment those who have the power to possibly make it easier for them have other more important issues, like the plain packaging of cigarettes, to deal with.

And whether airports have to advertise lost property in newspapers or not. That was a National MP’s bill drawn from the Members’ ballot while Seymour’s somewhat more important Dying With Dignity bill gets nowhere.

Social reform can be very contentious but there needs to be a better way of a dealing with important social issues without them being swept under the parliamentary carpet by gutless, self interested politicians.

It doesn’t mean social reforms will happen, that should depend on proper inquiry and majority public approval, but they should at least be given a decent chance.

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20 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  25th August 2016

    I posted other day about the (lack of) leadership in the euthanasia debate. Today it’s “Parliament impeding” suggesting the place and processes are to blame not specific people.

    On Tuesday TVNZ had it “Prime Minister John Key wants councils to decide if shops in their districts should open on Easter Sunday, saying he’s sick of the same debate year after year. In an unusual move, Mr Key is forcing National’s MPs to vote along party lines for a bill to do that.”

    The same sort of strident criticism aimed at teachers primarily being concerned about themselves, not what they say they are primarily there for, children, could be directed at politicians.

    While they rave about the “good of the people” their prime drivers and motivation, everything they say and do is primarily for their own good. A hint of positivity in private polling showing some electoral advantage in doing or not doing something and it’s all on or off. And forward the teams will plunge.

    It’s all a game and it doesn’t matter if you play the rules or not, play ugly and dirty or take risks to play creatively, they’re there to get the gold. If that means a little quiet eye-gouging in the rucks, casual stomping on fingers and ignoring of humanity so be it. The glow of the gold being hung around the necks at the start of the next four year cycle will see those things well in the dark.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th August 2016

      Legislation allowing Councils to decide whether shops can trade all Easter is a gutless cop-out. Let the religious nut jobs refuse to shop on Easter Sunday & the rest of us do so if we want to & the shop wants to open.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th August 2016

        There are only a few days that shop-workers know that they can have off. Let them keep two of them. The rest of us can just organise ourselves or go without whatever it is for a day.

        Why not have shops open on Christmas Day as well, in case someone wants to go shopping and sees it as their right ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  25th August 2016

          Nah Chrissie Day should be *sacred* so families can all get together for the day and talk about one another behind each others’s backs. Best time of the year to catch up with all the family goss.

          Never happen if half of them are out shopping or trading-in the useless presents for something more practical asap.

          Reply
        • A day Miss Kitty … a whole DAY without shopping!!!???
          You can’t be serious. This is New Zeal Land.

          “Say Farewell, can’t believe the trusted few …
          They will call it God’s Own Land of Zeal, but I’d hardly call it New …
          Bid you’re last, felt so good, felt like plenty
          Now the width’ll be a good deal thinner …
          And forget the quality …”

          Reply
  2. This Govt. refuse to allow Med-use of Cannabis, law reform.. BUT you could now fly to Hawaii & bring up to 4 ounces back ! (if you can afford to)
    How f@cking RIDICULOUS is that !! 😦

    Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  25th August 2016

      When you have time can you expand a bit further Zedd?

      Reply
      • just google: Rebecca Reider, med-use of Cannabis.. enuf sed 😀

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  25th August 2016

          Cheers Z.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  25th August 2016

            I would assume that that’s not the leaf kind that joints are filled with…is it ?

            It’s been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds and hundreds of years, as have other things like morphine. I’d want it to have the same controls as morphine and other opiates. There was a time when one could buy these over the counter, but I don’t think that many people now would want that to come back.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  25th August 2016

              Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I once told some people to close the car windows, the smell of dope was very obvious and there was a cop nearby ! There was no way that he could have not noticed it.

            • Blazer

               /  25th August 2016

              you were an accessory after the fact in crim inal behaviour.

            • @kck

              actually she did bring in 4 ounces of ‘raw natural BUDZ’, the stuff Dunne & co. say they are so opposed to to.. click the link (if you are interested):

              http://cannabis.org.nz/node/257

  3. btw; Dunne might be the face of ‘no further reforms’ BUT methinks that he is just a puppet.. ‘more powerful folks’ are pulling his strings from above ! 😦

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th August 2016

      Or pulling his cajones from below.

      Reply
      • Bill

         /  26th August 2016

        I think the word is cojones Gezza, lol, That’s unless you meant, Dunne has a Spanish plywood box drum used by slapping the front face with the hands, between his legs.

        Reply
        • URBAN DICTIONARY
          cajones
          Spanish for “drawers” (as in, the kind in a dresser or desk). This word is often confused by non-Spanish speakers with cojones (note the different vowel sound), which is Spanish slang for balls, but they are in fact two very different words.
          Venta de escritorio con dos cajones (Desk for sale, with two drawers).

          Thanks for that Bill. Few things worse than a prissy, self-admiring, ignorant idiot who doesn’t want to know when they’ve made an ass of themselves with a spelling mistake.

          Reply
          • Bill

             /  26th August 2016

            I know Geeza that’s why I pointed it out and the reason I found it funny was I had a hard time imagining Dunne having any Balls to pull on.

            I was not trying to be prissy mate, as it only stuck out because it was a term my half Spanish mother used many times when she was alive.

            Sorry for seeing the humour in Dunne maybe having a wooden box between his legs, where his balls once were. HUMOUR GEZZA THAT”S ALL, a Freudian slip not a spelling mistake.

            Reply
    • Bill

       /  26th August 2016

      It’s plain to see there’s many interested parties Zedd, just two days after the poll results showed 65% pro change, we have Keith Graves turn up from the US. Who paid for his visit to spew anti Cannabis dribble? NZDDA?

      Is this the future where tired drug war horses like Graves chase a dollar in countries like NZ that are still backward to the overwhelming change, experienced in their own countries.

      Reply

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