Small joins slamming of lost property bill

The scathing of Nuk Korako’s Airport Authorities (Publicising Lost Property Sales) Amendment Bill continues, this time by Vernon Small

Korako’s inconsequential lost property bill reveals dark side of Govt tactic

None of the derision dumped on Nuk Korako’s Airport Authorities (Publicising Lost Property Sales) Amendment Bill does it full justice.

It is not just a trivial piece of legislative whimsy, it is vanishingly inconsequential.

It’s not often you get to reproduce in full the business-end of a “bill”, but here goes:

In section 9(1)(ff) replace “the insertion of suitable advertisements in a newspaper circulating in the district where the airport is situated” with “publicising the sale in what the authority considers to be a fair and reasonable manner”.

That’s it. 

So let’s bust a few developing myths about the “bill” – and both law professor Andrew Geddis and legal frequenter of social media Graeme Edgeler have made similar points elsewhere.

What it deals with is the fate of stuff people leave in airports; the odd umbrella, a bag of mints, a jacket maybe. Perhaps an iPhone.

But it doesn’t help in any meaningful way to return even those goods to their rightful owners.

What that single limpid clause does is allow airport authorities NOT to advertise in a local newspaper when they decide to auction off the lost property accumulated in their back offices. That’s all.

It doesn’t remove a rule that restricts advertisements only to newspaper, as some have suggested. They can advertise as widely as they like now.

Nor does it require them to advertise the auction in an itemised way – so you could check if your umbrella, emblazoned with elephants, is included in the sale.

In short, it does nothing for travellers, nothing to help reunite people and possessions, nothing to bulwark us against an international tsunami of lost baggage.

What it does is make it easier for airport authorities, when they decide to sell lost property and pocket the proceeds. 

In the House on Tuesday, Korako, a National list MP, gave an amusing defence of the “bill”. Given the material he had to hand, it was valiant but it was also misleading, implying many of the bogus arguments rebutted above.

If Korako doesn’t want his parliamentary career defined by this nonsense he should be banging on the National whips’ door, begging them to can it before it arrives on the floor of the House.

Nobody would want to be in the Government’s, or Korako’s, shoes when the law change lands in the House, nor suffer the the media spray that will follow.

If it has any shame – or sense of self-preservation – it will dump the “bill” altogether and slip the change into the next available Statutes Amendment Bill, where such arcane trivia belongs.

So it looks like this bill is destined for an ongoing hammering if it continues to proceed in some way through Parliament.

See also Gerry Brownlee versus Andrew Geddis.

I don’t think I have seen any defending of this bill, except for Brownlee’s attack on Geddis.

 

Labour supports spy bill

Labour say they will support the Intelligence and Security Bill being introduced to parliament this week through the first reading and intend to push for some improvements at committee stage.

This is a sensible and responsible approach.

It is important that all parties work together to ensure we end up with the best protection possible but keep the best protections possible for privacy of individuals.


Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill

Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

Andrew Little

Leader of the Opposition

Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“The legislation controlling the work and scope of New Zealand’s Intelligence and Security agencies needs to be updated so they can adapt to a rapidly changing environment and new challenges. However this must be balanced with the privacy and rights of all New Zealanders.

“The Cullen Reddy Review showed that amending legislation is necessary. While we will support the Bill at first reading, it does not get the balance quite right. I have confidence changes can be made at select committee which is why Labour will support the Bill at first reading.

“There are concerns in the Bill that Labour wants to see addressed. The definition of National Security must be amended at Select Committee following a national debate. At present the definition is too broad and must be narrowed down to actual threats to security and government.

“It is also concerning that the legislation appears to have ignored a number of the protections for personal information suggested by the Cullen Reddy Review. These are vital and must be a part of the legislation. In today’s world it is too easy to ignore privacy concerns and we have seen what happens in the past when protections aren’t clear.

“Labour is supporting the Bill through its first reading in good faith that these changes can be made. These will result in a better piece of law that gets the balance between security and privacy right,” says Andrew Little.

Intelligence and Security legislation

The Government is introducing a bill to Parliament this week as a result of the review done by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy.

I think this is potentially a good move, as long as they get the right balance between improved security, improved transparency, and protection of privacy for the vast majority of New Zealanders who are not a threat.


Intelligence and Security legislation introduced

Prime Minister John Key today introduced a bill to update the legislative framework and improve the transparency of New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies.

The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill 2016 is the Government’s response to the first independent review of intelligence and security presented to Parliament in March 2016 by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy.

“At the heart of this Bill is the protection of New Zealanders,” says Mr Key. “We have an obligation to ensure New Zealanders are safe at home and abroad.

“Therefore it is vital our agencies operate under legislation which enables them to be effective in an increasingly complex security environment, where we are confronted by growing numbers of cyber threats and the rise of terrorist groups such as ISIL.

Mr Key says the Government has accepted the majority of recommendations put forward in Sir Michael and Dame Patsy’s independent review.

“The bill is the most significant reform of the agencies’ legislation in our country’s history,” says Mr Key.

“It clearly sets out the agencies’ powers, builds on the robust oversight for the agencies we introduced in 2013 and establishes a new warranting regime.

“At the same time, it protects the privacy and human rights of New Zealanders.”

Key aspects of the legislation include:

  • Creating a single Act to cover the agencies, replacing the four separate acts which currently exist.
  • Introducing a new warranting framework for intelligence collection, including a ‘triple lock’ protection for any warrant involving a New Zealander.
  • Enabling more effective cooperation between the NZSIS and GCSB.
  • Improving the oversight of NZSIS and GCSB by strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and expanding parliamentary oversight.
  • Bringing the NZSIS and GCSB further into the core public service, increasing accountability and transparency.

“As I have said before, we are keen to get broad political support for this legislation,” says Mr Key.

“The Government takes its national security obligations very seriously. New Zealanders can be assured we are taking careful and responsible steps to protect their safety and security.”

The Bill has been introduced today. The first reading will be on Thursday.

For more information visit https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/ins

Debate on Healthy Homes bill

Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed it’s first vote in parliament last night 61 to 60, thanks to the deciding vote of Peter Dunne.

But Dunne said that nothing should be taken for granted on United Future’s position on the bill.

Although UnitedFuture today voted in favour of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, allowing it to be sent to Select Committee.  UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne, says a rethink is needed when it comes to the issue of ensuring healthy homes and healthy families.

In supporting this Bill to Select Committee, Mr Dunne said that his support is qualified.

“This Bill must do more to address how to provide support to those most in need to ensure them a healthy home that is also an affordable one.  This now puts the ball firmly in the Government’s court to respond with detailed policy of its own in this area.

“United Future’s position on this Bill is dependent on the Government’s response and nothing should be taken for granted at this stage”, said Mr Dunne.

This indicates that Dunne has allowed the bill to proceed but wants to now see what the Government might do about it. Dunne said that a rethink was necessary.

Although UnitedFuture today voted in favour of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, allowing it to be sent to Select Committee.  UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne, says a rethink is needed when it comes to the issue of ensuring healthy homes and healthy families.

“It’s a basic good to have a warm and safe place to call home, but when it comes to the Government setting bottom-lines for rentals, the key issue is affordability and that’s what I’m calling on the select committee to consider”.

The Bill requires the development of a minimum standard of heating, insulation, draught stops ventilation and temperature in all rental properties in New Zealand, but it does not provide any relief for the rising costs that will likely be passed on to renters.

“It’s a noble cause to want to increase housing standards but what we need to focus on is increasing the ability of renters and landlords to be able to access affordable ways of heating and future-proofing their houses.

“It’s all very well to require a method of heating, but that doesn’t mean much if you can’t afford the increased cost of electricity”, Mr Dunne said.

UnitedFuture policy does not see government mandate as the solution to housing standards and the Party would rather see the Government set aside funding to provide landlords and renters access to technology and resource to future-proof their homes and make them warmer and more affordable.

In his speech introducing his bill Little pointed out:

But it is interesting that the Commissioner for Children had this to say in relation to a Budget promise made a few years ago by this Government that undertook to make homes healthy again.

He said that the Government’s bill that was currently going through this Parliament failed to meet that promise.

So between the two bills we might end up with something better, although it won’t be easy to ensure homes are healthier in practical and workable ways.

“That undertook to make homes healthy again” is an odd statement from Little. Newer houses are generally much healthier than older houses, insulation has improved substantially and heating options are cleaner and cheaper to run with the big uptake of heat pumps.

Before the first reading Minister of Housing Nick Smith was critical of the time frame in the Bill in a Beehive media release:

Little detail in Labour bill leaves Govt cold

Labour’s so-called Healthy Homes Bill is lacking in detail, slow in timing and unworkable in practise, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The surprising flaw in Mr Little’s Bill is that it has a timetable four years slower for insulating rental properties than the Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. Mr Little’s Bill provides for 12 months before it comes into effect, six months for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to develop an insulating standard and then five years for compliance.

“Assuming the Bill went through a normal select committee process of six months, this works out at July 2023. The Government requires compliance by July 2019.”

He also points out a potentially significant flaw:

“This Bill is unworkable in requiring a landlord to maintain all rental property at a specified minimum indoor temperature – although it does not actually state what the temperature is.”

You can lead a tenant to a well insulated home with good heating options but you can’t make them use their heaters, leave their doors and windows closed, pull their curtains and ventilate the house so it doesn’t get too damp.

“Mr Little’s Bill is too little too late. It is a poor substitute for the Government’s detailed and practical measures that will make New Zealand rental properties warmer, dryer and safer,” Dr Smith concluded.

Dunne’s vote and his challenge to the Government has put pressure on Smith to do better with his plans to help make more homes healthier. That’s smart MMP at work.

Little’s introduction of the bill: Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill introduced

 

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill introduced

Andrew Little’s introduction of his Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in Parliament yesterday. It passed it’s first vote 61 to 60 thanks to the deciding vote of Peter Dunne.

Draft transcript:

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2)

First Reading

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): I move, That the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) be now read a first time. I nominate the Government Administration Committee to consider the bill.

It sometimes looks from the outside that much of what we do in this House does not look like it has a lot of significance, or at least you do not get to see the significance of it. Sometimes it feels that way too when you are sitting in this House.

But the bill that we are considering now will help thousands of New Zealanders, and most importantly, it will help thousands of young New Zealanders.

This bill does some very important things to improve the lives of New Zealanders, many of whom are on low incomes, and many of whom are presently in substandard housing.

The principal that sits behind this bill is a pretty simple one: that no New Zealand adult or child should have to live in a house that makes them or their children sick. It is that simple. Every Kiwi kid deserves to grow up in a home that is warm, safe, and dry. As parents, and as a parent myself, I would not accept anything less for my own child.

This bill does a number of things.

It sets standards for private rental housing, and in fact, public rental housing too. Standards are set after 6 months of the bill coming into effect, and then new leases that are in existence 12 months after the legislation comes into effect will have to comply with the standards that have been promulgated.

Then, 5 years after the legislation comes into effect, every lease would have to comply.

The bill would require the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to set standards for heating and insulation.

The standards will have to describe what constitutes adequate methods of heating, adequate methods of insulation, adequate indoor temperatures, adequate ventilation, adequate draught-stopping and adequate drainage.

The regulations will have to describe suitable measures for each of those points.

The legislation will allow for exemptions to be provided for in the regulation.

I make those points to be very clear, because some of the objections that have been registered by the Government in the last 24 hours, or at least its Minister for Building and Housing, have misled New Zealanders about what in fact the bill does.

However, it is interesting to note the change in position that the Minister has taken. Two days ago, the Minister was concerned that the bill: “requires properties to be insulated at a pace that is totally unrealistic.” A day later, he said that the bill was slow in timing, and that “it has a timetable four years slower for insulating rental properties than the Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill.”

I am looking forward to the Minister’s contribution tonight because I would like to know what the third positon that bumbling Nick Smith is going to take on this particular bill.

When the Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills was making his submission on the Government’s legislation that merely requires rental housing to have the 1978 insulation standard complied within 4 years’ time, he said that right now 42,000 New Zealand children a year are going to hospital for respiratory infections, bronchial problems, asthma, and things associated with unhealthy homes—unhealthy homes that are unhealthy because of dampness and lack of ventilation that allows mould spores to proliferate.

That is the problem that we are trying to fix. It is a reasonable demand to have in the 21st century that New Zealanders in rental accommodation have a minimum standard that at least keeps them healthy.

The idea that we continue to allow 42,000 Kiwi kids to have to go to hospital for avoidable and preventable infections is just totally intolerable.

The Children’s Commissioner also said that up to 15 deaths of children a year are at least partly attributable to unhealthy homes—that is a disgrace. We can stop that, and tonight’s vote will be the first step towards doing just that.

Every rental property should be insulated, should be weathertight, and should have adequate heating. I do not think it is too much to ask.

I have had a lot of correspondence from a lot of New Zealanders in recent weeks and days. The mother of a child who has been repeatedly unwell because of the house that they live in wrote to me. Her name is Estelle, and she was living in Auckland at the time.

She told me in her email that her house had no insulation, it was damp. Mould was growing on her son’s toys. He got asthma and he had to go to hospital, and what she told me was that she carried the guilt of her unwell son with her until she was able to move out of that house.

She felt so guilty that she could not keep her child well. She is on a low income; she got the best house that she could afford, but it was an unhealthy home, and she should not be put in that position.

No parent in New Zealand should be made to feel guilty about the conditions in which they are often forced to accommodate their children, and no child in New Zealand should be in a position where they have to get sick like that.

This matters to all of us in New Zealand because we want to be part of communities that are strong and vibrant and where everybody gets a fair chance.

You see, when a child lives in a home that makes them constantly sick, that means they have to take days off school, that means that mum or dad might have to take time off work as well—that affects the household and it affects that child’s future.

And if we are serious about being a country that fulfils our commitment, and that basic Kiwi Dream that no matter the circumstances into which you are born, we will have a country, an education system, a health system, and housing that means that you can lift yourself up and be the best you can be throughout the rest of your life.

When young children live in houses that make them sick they are denied that opportunity. This is about fairness and justice and equality.

It is hardly surprising that we have ongoing problems with housing and accommodation in New Zealand when we see what is happening with houses and home affordability in New Zealand.

In the city of Auckland, the average price of an Auckland house is now nine times the average income.

We have the lowest home ownership in 64 years—that is a symptom of the fact that more and more people are dependent on rental accommodation.

This bill is about standing up for those New Zealanders.

This bill gives voice to New Zealanders, who have been suffering and struggling in silence for far too long, and this is about doing the right thing and the decent thing; it is about doing the Kiwi thing.

It is sad that the National Party, so far, has expressed its opposition to this bill, and my colleague Phil Twyford is going to go through some of those objections.

But it is interesting that the Commissioner for Children had this to say in relation to a Budget promise made a few years ago by this Government that undertook to make homes healthy again.

He said that the Government’s bill that was currently going through this Parliament failed to meet that promise.

He said that the Government made a promise to New Zealand children that we would make their houses healthy, and three years on from that Budget promise the Government’s bill will do little for children living in cold, damp, mouldy housing. It is a wasted opportunity, and a broken promise to our children.

I urge Government members to fulfil their promise, vote for this bill, and make a pleasant life, a safe and healthy life in rental homes in New Zealand a reality for the children of New Zealand and their parents. It is that easy for this house tonight to do that, and I urge the Government to support my bill.

Labour backing RMA bill for now

Recently National introduced a Resource Management reform bill that would leave environmental protections at the insistence of the Maori Party and Peter Dunne. Dunne was involved in writing the original Resource Management Act.

Initially two Labour spokespeople voiced some concerns, but a third has now said that Labour will support the reform bill to committee stage at least.

But what should be a positive for Labour has been laced with negativity.

Megan Woods: RMA changes must protect the environment

RMA changes must protect the environment

A Government bill to reform the RMA must not be used as a chance to tinker with its key role of protecting the environment, says Labour’s Environmental spokesperson Megan Woods.

“We will have to look at the proposed changes carefully as there are 200 pages in this Bill. We will be watching to make sure there is a decent chance for people to have their say through the select committee stage over what will clearly be a complex piece of legislation.

“The RMA is New Zealand’s core environmental protection and those protections must remain. That is our bottom line.

“Our offer to work together on sensible reforms is still on the table. This offer stands.

“We will be concerned at any changes around appeals to the Environment Court or any undermining of case law around the environment.

“We will be looking to see if the Bill elevates private property rights above wider community interests.

“This new Bill must meet these environmental bottom lines. We will be looking carefully at the Government’s intentions,” says Megan Woods.

: RMA changes skim surface for Maori participation

Protecting the environment and getting the right balance for sustainable development will be a core test of the proposed RMA changes, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.

David Parker: Labour will back RMA changes at first reading

Labour will back changes to the Resource Management Act because it is a step in the right direction, Labour’s Environmental spokesperson David Parker says.

“We have always said we would support sensible process improvements to the RMA. We are pleased National lost the battle to undermine the core environmental protections in the Act.

“These process changes are modest and will do little to fix the causes of the housing crisis. But they will have some positive impacts around the margins.

“For that reason Labour will support this Bill to select committee.

“This legislation is no magic solution. It is an abject surrender by National because – after years of blaming the RMA for out-of-control housing prices – they know gutting the Act is not the solution.

“Labour has offered to work with Nick Smith to come up with meaningful changes but he has repeatedly refused to do so,” David Parker says

So Labour will vote for the bill to be introduced, which is positive.

But Parker chose to lace what should have been a good news story with political vitriol. So even on overdue RMA reform the impression is left of a negative Labour Party.

Parker replaced Woods as Labour’s Environmental spokesperson in Monday’s reshuffle.

Members’ Bills ballot

There was a Members’ Bill ballot today. The four drawn were:

  • Education (Restoration of Democracy to University Councils) Amendment Bill Hon David Cunliffe
  • Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill Dr Jian Yang
  • Electricity Transparency Bill David Shearer
  • Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) Andrew Little

There’s been issues raised with two of those Bills.

Graeme Edgeler has pointed out a flaw in the Name Change/Child Sex Offender Bill and the Speaker has ruled that the Healthy Homes Bill shouldn’t have been accepted due to similarity with a Bill that failed earlier this year and if it comes up for it’s first reading this year it will be rejected.

Under a law change proposed by National MP Jian Yang, every person convicted of robbery is deemed to be a “child sex offender”.

Edgeler backs up his claim with a link to the bill: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill [PDF 114k]

And to a law it refers to: Parole Act 2002

And a Speakers ruling on the Healthy Homes Bill:

The Speaker David Carter has delivered a ruling on Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2), and its similarity to a previous bill before the House.

The ruling is as follows: “Honourable members, the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) was drawn from the member’s ballot today. The bill has the purpose of ensuring that every rental home meets the minimum standards of heating and insulation. It requires the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to set the standards, and requires the landlords to meet them.

On further study, the purpose and effect of the bill are the same in substance as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill which was defeated at its first reading on 18 March 2015. Standing Order 264 provides that a bill that is the same in substance as a bill that received or was defeated on its first, second, or third reading may not be proposed. In my opinion, this bill should never have been accepted for the ballot.

Now that the bill has been drawn, I need to find a way forward. The point at which a bill is proposed to the House is when the member in charge moves its first reading. If the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) is reached in the current calendar year, I will then rule the bill out of order.

However, if it is reached later than that, it will not trigger the prohibition in Standing Order 264, and will be in order. I have asked the Clerk to ensure that bills proposed to go in the ballot are scrutinised more carefully for compliance with Standing Order 264. In future, bills that are the same in substance as ones read or defeated in the same calendar year, will not be permitted into the ballot”.

NZ First Super bill voted down

In a close vote a NZ First bill that would have reduced Superannuation paid to older immigrants – and New Zealanders who had lived overseas – was defeated at it’s first reading in Parliament yesterday.

New Zealand First , Labour, Greens and the Maori Party voted for the bill but National, ACT and UnitedFuture had just enough votes to defeat it.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

These solutions being proposed in here by Denis O’Rourke may not be perfect, and we do have some concerns that we want to air at select committee about whether or not we have got the definition right. We do have concerns that the concept of universality is being called into question by this bill for the first time through the pro rata system. That is a very serious step to take and one that the New Zealand Labour Party is not confident that this bill will achieve in a way that we would want to vote for at the end of the road, but we want to see the issue debated.

Jan Logie (Greens):

The Green Party does not support this bill as it is written. We have some very deep problems with it, but we will support it to going to the select committee to enable a discussion and parliamentary consideration, particularly of section 70 of the Social Security Act .

So while Labour and Greens voted for the bill they has major reservations about aspects of it.

David Seymour (ACT)

You will find that even though it is a lovely idea to at least go forward to select committee and debate section 70 the reason it is so fraught is that there are so many pension schemes that it is simply very, very hard to reconcile the many schemes that there are around the world. With that in mind, this is a bill that is insincere in its commitment. It will not have the effects that we hope for, and for that reason it would not be a good use of the select committee or the House’s time to continue debating this bill through any further stages.

NZ Herald reports: Superannuation bill voted down

A New Zealand First bill that would have reduced the entitlement of older immigrants to a New Zealand pension and would have let superannuitants to receive overseas pensions without penalty was voted down in Parliament tonight after a fiery debate.

The bill, in the name of Denis O’Rourke, proposed a pro rata entitlement based on the length of time a person had lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.

The bill would have allowed a full pension only to those who had spent less than five years living outside New Zealand between 20 and 65.

The bill would also have allowed superannuitants to collect an overseas pension as well by abolishing section 70 of the Social Security Act, which reduces superannuation by the amount of any overseas pension.

To qualify currently for Government superannuation, a New Zealand resident must have lived in the country for at least 10 years after the age of 20 and at least five years after the age of 50.

The current age of entitlement is 65. It is universal and not-means-tested.

Denis O’Rourke’s opening speech in the debate:

National’s David Bennett’s contentious response where he called the bill and NZ First a disgrace:

All InTheHouse videos of the debate: New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment

Loony Labour line on flag questions

Labour is following a loony line on the flag referendum questions and have chosen to oppose the Flag Bill.

NZ Herald: Labour to oppose flag bill

Labour will oppose a bill setting up the two referendums deciding the fate of the flag because of a sticking point over the order of the questions.

The Flag Referendums Bill is expected to get its first reading in Parliament soon and has enough support to pass its first stage without Labour, although the Maori Party and the Greens have only committed to support it through to select committee so far.

The bill sets out the process and questions for the two referendums – expected to cost $26 million. The first will be later this year and ask voters to choose between four options for a new flag. The second will pit the most popular new flag design against the current flag and ask voters to pick one.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard said voters should be asked whether they wanted to change the flag in the first referendum. “There should be a yes/no vote at the beginning of the process so that if the majority of New Zealanders don’t want change we don’t spend a fortune on an unnecessary second referendum.”

That may just be a misguided approach, or it could be an attempt to diminish the debate.

From what I’ve seen online those who want a “do you want to change the flag?” question first are opposed to change so want to avoid a chosen alternative from competing against the current flag.

If the first referendum had two questions, a yes/no to change plus a choice of an alternative it is likely confuse people and to distort the result.

It would be odd voting against change and for an alternative at the same time.

If someone didn’t want change they would vote on that question but are likely to not care about the alternative choice.

Therefore if the yes to change vote won then the selection of an alternative would be at risk of being inaccurate.

And the yes/no vote would depend on which alternative was up against the current flag so the two questions can’t be asked at the same time.

Some people are likely to oppose changing to one alternative but may be happy to change to a different alternative.

The only way of dealing with this sensibly is to first select the most popular alternative, and then choose whether you want to change to that or stay with the current flag.

And that’s the plan.

Act leader David Seymour said he would support it and could see the sense in deciding on what the alternative flag would be before deciding whether to vote for a change.

The Maori and Green parties have decided to vote for the Bill to get to the Select Committee stage. That allows it to be more fully discussed and considered.

Labour seem to be taking an opposing position just to oppose a Government proposal.  So they are against a sound democratic selection process.

Seems loony opposition to me.

West Coast Wind-blown Timber Bill votes

The West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill was held under urgency in Parliament yesterday. There were some interesting votes through the stages of the bill and on amendments.

The first vote was:

Ayes 72 – National 59, Labour 2, NZ First 7, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1
(initially recorded as 73 in favour but later corrected)

Noes 46 – Labour 32, Greens 13,Mana 1

The vote was notable for the fact that two Labour MPs, Damien O’Connor and Rino Tirikatene, crossed the floor and voted with the Government.

NZ First voted for the bill but said they wouldn’t continuing supporting it unless significant changes were made.

One Green MP didn’t vote.

Second reading vote:

Ayes 63 – National 59, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Noes 51 – Labour 33, Greens 10, NZ First 7, Mana 1

Either O’Connor or Tirikatene switched to No and the other abstained. NZ First switched to No. Four Green MPs didn’t vote.

Damien O’Connor (Labour) amendment SOP 476:

Ayes 41 – Labour 33, NZ First 7, Brendon Horan 1

Noes 62 – National 59, Maori Party 2, United Future 1

Abstained 11 – Greens 10, Mana 1

Moana Mackey (Labour) amendment SOP 475 (2 votes)

Ayes 44 – Labour 33, Greens 10, Mana 1

Noes 70 – National 59, NZ First 7, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Eugenie Sage (Green) amendment SOP 474 (3 votes)

Ayes 51 – Labour 33, Greens 10, NZ First 7, Mana 1

Noes 63 – National 59, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Part 2 vote:

Ayes 65 – National 59, Labour 2, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Noes 49 – Labour 31, Greens 10, NZ First 7, Mana 1

O’Connor and Tirikatene voting for the bill again with another Labour MP abstaining.

Vote on the schedule, Moana Mackey amendment SOP 475

Ayes 44 – Labour 33, Greens 10, Mana 1

Noes 70 – National 59, NZ First 7, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Third reading (final) vote:

Ayes 65 – National 59, Labour 2, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

Noes 51 – Labour 32, Greens 11, NZ First 7, Mana 1

In the final vote O’Connor and Tirikatene (presumably) crossed the floor to vote with the Government. Three Green MPs didn’t vote.

Draft transcript of the debates

Video of debates