Fuel tax law passes, more price rises

Parliament has passed the regional fuel tax legislation, just in time for 1 July implementation in Auckland. TYhisn will bump petrol prices up 11.5 cents a litre, but there are claims the real increase in the near future will be double that.

RNZ: Regional fuel tax becomes law

The government’s regional fuel tax changes have become law this evening, ahead of its planned introduction in Auckland on Sunday.

The bill passed 63-57 last night with Labour, NZ First, and Greens in voting in favour, and National and ACT opposed.

It means Aucklanders will be paying another 11.5 cents at the pump, in order to pay for major transport projects.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford told the House he was excited about the possibilities for transport infrastructure, and coming solutions to congestion, once the tax is implemented in New Zealand’s biggest and most congested city.

Mr Twyford told the House that Auckland Council would be accountable for how it uses the money.

But wait, there’s more (increases). NZH: Auckland motorists face two new petrol taxes hiking pump prices by up to 15.5c a litre

The council’s regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre is due to come into effect on July 1.

Weeks later, the Government looks set to increase the fuel excise tax nationwide by between 3c a litre and 4c.

Papers released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show the Government intends to increase the fuel excise tax on September 1.

A spokesman for Twyford today said the tax is part of a draft 10-year transport plan due to finalised shortly.

Raising the excise tax happens often. Over nine years the National government raised excise tax six times, once by 2 cents and five times by 3 cents (that’s a total of 17 cents).

Petrol prices rose to near record highs recently before settling back a little.

Auckland prices look set to rise by 14.5 to 15.5 cents soon, plus GST – this will be on top of normal fluctuations.

Other local bodies are lining up to also get their regional fuel tax, but areas outside Auckland may be hit regardless as petrol suppliers often shift price increases around. Regions with less price competition tend to get whacked with higher prices.

 

3 strikes repeal struck out

Andrew Little had to retract his promise to repeal the 3 strikes legislation today. He conceded that he wouldn’t have the support of NZ First so didn’t have the numbers.

Making a premature announcement like this is quite a balls up.

Three Strikes repeal not going to Cabinet

A proposal to repeal Three Strikes is not going before Cabinet today on the basis that New Zealand First have indicated they would be unlikely to support it, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

“I acknowledge New Zealand First has concerns about the Three Strikes repeal. The strength of this coalition is that change only occurs with the support of all three parties.

“Further work on a balanced reform package for a more effective criminal justice system that make our communities safer will be considered by the independent advisory panel to be appointed shortly, and progressed in August at the Criminal Justice Summit.

“We are committed to a meaningful and balanced programme of change and we will be consulting our coalition partners and the public on this over the coming months.

“The reality is that the justice system is not working and we need to make changes to make our communities safer,” says Andrew Little.

The justice system is working, but in some ways not very well so could do with some revisions. however Little needs to learn that you need to get the required support before making promises you may not be able to keep.

In reality retaining the 3 strikes legislation is unlikely to make a big difference. Courts have already overturned 3rd strike sentences as manifestly unfair (showing protections work), so the maximum penalties look likely to be reserved for the worst offenders most deserving of long sentences.

Stuff: Government’s three strikes repeal killed by NZ First

In a press conference on Monday morning Little tried to leave the door open on three strikes being repealed in the future, saying NZ First didn’t support a “piecemeal” approach and wanted to see the total justice reform package.

However, it’s understood NZ First MPs have been working on this issue for weeks. The caucus has no plans to budge on its long-held view of being tough on law and order after seeking feedback from its voter base.

That position is expected to be made clear after caucus meets at Parliament on Tuesday.

That position must have already been made clear to Little given his announcement today.

 

Legal ring fencing of the word ‘teacher’ proposed

It may become illegal to use the word ‘teacher’ unless you have a specific university degree – namely ” a three-year Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor’s degree with a one-year Diploma of Teaching, or a conjoint degree that combines study in teaching subjects with teacher training”.

This sort of silliness could be a coalition killer.

Newshub: Proposed Bill to restrict use of word ‘teacher’

A Bill which would make it illegal to use the title ‘teacher’ without a formal qualification is before a select committee.

Submissions for The Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill, fronted by New Zealand First MP Jenny Marcroft, closed on Friday.

It aims to “lift the status of teachers” by removing the ability of those without the qualification to represent themselves with that title.

“Clarity around the use of the title of teacher is essential in order to avoid any misunderstanding by the public about the qualifications,” the proposed Bill reads.

It would become an offence, punishable with a $2000 fine, to connect the word with any unqualified person or business.

Qualifications which could use the title are a three-year Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor’s degree with a one-year Diploma of Teaching, or a conjoint degree that combines study in teaching subjects with teacher training.

Those who aren’t qualified can still use the titles of lecturer, tutor or educator.

Educator sounds more school orientated to me than teacher.

I guess this is trying to emulate restrictions on the use of the word ‘doctor’ or the words ‘sir’ or ‘dame’, but it is risky using legislation to limit the use of such a widely used word like teacher.

National education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says the Bill “jeopardises many of our current teachers and early childhood teachers”.

“It has the potential to undermine and devalue our many educators who contribute to the wellbeing of our country.

“The impact of the Bill is not even isolated to the education sector. Are we going to fine every music teacher, dance teacher, and swimming teacher?”

“Even the Attorney-General has come out against the bill as it breaches the Bill of Rights, yet the Government continues to support it.”

But Ms Marcroft says it’s “nonsense” that there’s currently no differentiation between those that have “significant skills and training” and those who don’t.

“If we are going to have strong partnerships with whānau and communities to improve the educational outcomes of all tamariki, we must ensure the professional status of teachers is recognised,” she says.

“The Bill will elevate the public status of teachers and provide parents with a clear distinction between teachers who are fully trained and qualified, and those who are not.”

It’s highly questionable trying to legally limit the use of a common word used in a wide variety of ways.

Oxford dictionary: doctor

A person who is qualified to treat people who are ill.

North American A qualified dentist or veterinary surgeon.

A person who holds the highest university degree.

They are well established uses.

Oxford dictionary: teacher

A person who teaches, especially in a school.

That’s far more general.

This legislation seems to be a misguided attempt to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

What about home teaching?

If the Government wants to assign a unique word to teachers they should make one up rather than legally ring fence a widely used and interpreted word.

Enough of that, now I must move on to teach you lot how to comment properly – perhaps you should have to be qualified?

Waka jumping ban

An inclusion in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement:

Introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

Given the problems NZ First has had in the past over MPs jumping from the party and remaining as independent MPs in Parliament there is obvious self-interest, but I support this. An MP who got into Parliament via a party vote for the party list should either remain representing that party, or leave Parliament.

Even electorate MPs have usually succeeded due to their party, so there’s a good case for stopping them jumping from their party and remaining in Parliament. The best thing for them to do if they feel compelled to leave the party that got them there is to resign, and stand in a by-election under their new circumstances.

Again I can’t find this in the NZ First policies and I don’t recall them campaigning on it, but it has long been a problem that Winston peters wanted to clamp down on.

Newshub in 2013: Public support end to ‘waka jumping’

Asked if there should be a rule change so rogue list MPs can be thrown out of Parliament:

  • 77 percent said yes;
  • 17 percent said no;
  • The rest said they didn’t know.

It was a public issue when Peters kicked Brendan Horan out of the party in 2012:

Newshub: Key: New ‘waka-jumping’ law possible

Parliament may consider fresh “waka-jumping” legislation to stop list MPs leaving their political party but staying on in Parliament without a mandate.

The issue of party-hopping is back in the spotlight after first-term MP Brendan Horan announced he’ll stay on as an independent MP after being given the boot from NZ First amid a family dispute over his late mother’s estate.

“Parliament might sort of hold hands and look at this issue and decide once more to try and put something permanently in place,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast.

The issue, he says, is that “it’s really difficult to write the rules” so they are fair to all sides.

Regardless, Mr Key says there’s still an onus on NZ First leader Winston Peters to prove his case for kicking Mr Horan out, which feels “very odd” to Mr Key.

“Mr Peters did it under Parliamentary privilege so he couldn’t be sued – that’s not always the actions of somebody who’s absolutely sure that their position is right.”

Last year, despite Peters leading a kangaroo court and making unsubstantiated accusations to support kicking Horan out of the party:  Ex-MP Brendan Horan cleared by police after allegations he took money from late mother’s account – but that’s a different issue.

Waka jumping is a problem with our democratic system and could do with being dealt with, but the legislation will have to be careful it’s fair to both sides of any party dispute.

It’s interesting to see the historic list of waka jumpers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waka-jumping

Due to the frequency of waka-jumping, New Zealand enacted legislation (the Electoral Integrity Act of 2001, expired at the 2005 election) which required any MP who had entered parliament via a party list to resign from Parliament if they left that party’s parliamentary caucus.

Tracey Martin on referendums

In an interesting interview during the election campaign Tracey Martin gave an indication as to how she thought referenda should be used.

It gives a good insight into Martin’s and presumably NZ First’s preferences on the use of referendums.

Martin has been a member of the New Zealand First Party since 1993. She was on the party Board of Directors from 2008 until becoming an MP and the party’s deputy leader in 2011. She dropped to party #3 when Ron Mark challenged her and took over as deputy. She is expected to become a Cabinet Minister in the incoming government.

NZ First have promote referenda as a way of allowing the public to decide – from their Social Development policy:

Protect our social fabric and traditional family values from temporarily empowered politicians, by requiring so-called ‘conscience issues’ be put to comprehensive public debate and referenda.

The have proposed a number of referenda. Winston Peters promised a referendum on the Maori seats in the recent election campaign, although it looks like that has been lost in negotiations with Labour.

Family recently publicly reminded NZ First Promised Anti-Smacking Law Referendum:

(In 2014, NZ First said “NZ First policy is to repeal the anti-smacking law passed by the last parliament despite overwhelming public opposition. Accordingly, we will not enter any coalition or confidence and supply agreement with a party that wishes to ignore the public’s clearly stated view in a referendum on that issue.”)

That was for a previous election.

In a speech in March in Northland, leader Winston Peters said;

“We are going to repeal the anti-smacking law which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children.”

He then further clarified his position in an interview on Newstalk ZB saying that this matter should go to a referendum with New Zealand people who are “far more reliable and trustworthy on these matters, rather than a bunch of temporarily empowered parliamentarians.”

This position was backed up by senior MP Tracey Martin.

It would be surprising if Labour or Greens supported this. We may find out today if it’s another casualty of negotiations or not.

During the election campaign Martin explained how she saw referenda being used in an interview at the University of Otago, starting at about 20:15

Question: “One thing we’ve noticed is that New Zealand First seems to call for a lot of referendums on different issues, and you think that it should be the people deciding rather than a group of Parliamentarians. Why is that?”

Martin replied :

First of all there’s some things, they’re quite big social shifts, you know there’s some stuff that makes quite a big difference to society.

Lets take euthanasia as one that’s a biggie at the moment, and also legalising recreational marijuana. Split that off from medicinal marijuana, New Zealand First has already said we support medicinal marijuana through a prescription regime.

As an aside it’s not marijuana, it’s cannabis. It’s unusual to here it referred to as marijuana in New Zealand. The bill currently in Parliament is Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment.

But if you take those two issues, they’re issues that we think New Zealanders have the right to discuss, and my vote shouldn’t be worth any more than your vote…and so you need to have the same information I have, and then the country needs to vote.

“Do you see that I have a vote, and I vote in a Parliament, surely that is my reflection of those people making decisions on my behalf?”

So we have a representative democracy, and I would say that if every single bill that went through that House was a conscience vote then you might be right.

Euthanasia was not a topic that was campaigned on at the last election, so how would you have been able to vote on the political party, if you had strong beliefs on that particular topic, how would you have been able to vote for a particular party on that issue, which is a big issue for a nation.

It’s not the tweaking of a, it’s not Uber. It’s a large piece of legislation that is going to make quite a substantial change to country.

NZ First proposals to radically change our economic system is far more substantial – should any policies changing our economic system go to a referendum?

“If parties were campaigning on it this election and setting out their values on the issue which I think a lot of parties have been, it is coming into the discussion a bit more and I chose to volte on that issue, would it then be a rule for Parliament to make that decision rather than putting it back to the people again who have just voted?”

Well I think again it would be fine if it was a representative democracy.

That’s what we have.

…that’s just what New Zealand First believe, there are particular issues that should be laid in front of the New Zealand people, and the New Zealand people as a whole should be able to have a discussion about them out in the open in a transparent way, and then a vote on it.

“Is this a call for more direct democracy in New Zealand?”

Well basically yes, that’s what, I think that’s principle number 15 of New Zealand First, is about direct democracy.

If we haven’t campaigned on it, if we haven’t had a position on it, on a big item, then it’s something we think we need to go back to the constituency which is the public.

15. The People’s Policies

All policies not contained in the party manifesto, where no national emergency clearly exists, will first be referred to the electorate for a mandate.

This is an oddly NZ First-centric principle. Why should it only apply to things NZ First has no policy or campaign position on? Why shouldn’t things of public importance that are NZ First policies not go to referenda?

My also hope is that it might actually make feel connected too.

Here’s a very interesting and important point.

So if I put a bill in front, and I don’t think a referendum should just be a question. I think that’s a really easy way to manipulate direct democracy is to have a single question that is worded in a way that well how could you say no to it, or how could you say less to it.

I believe that you have the same intelligence that anybody sitting in that House has, and so you should see the piece of legislation, you should get the regulatory impact statement, you should get the full Parliamentary blurb that we get, and then after twelve months you should vote on it.

I think that in principle this is a good idea. I have suggested this sort of process for legalising or decriminalising cannabis – a bill should be passed through the normal parliamentary processes, and then go to the public for ratification or rejection via a referendum.

There are some potential down sides, especially if one referendum is held to put a number of issues to the public. There could be a lot of material to distribute and to digest.

Instead of handing out the full legislation plus regulatory statement and any other blurb perhaps a fair summary should be written and distributed. Those who have the time or inclination could obtain all the material online or request it all to be posted out.

I don’t think giving everyone a big pile of legislation will encourage participation, it is more likely to deter engagement.

But generally I think that this is a promising approach to contentious issues of public importance, write the legislation and if it passes through Parliament put it too the people for ratification or rejection.

This would encourage our Parliamentarians to write and pass legislation that made sense to the public and addressed public concerns.

I think this would work well for both euthanasia and for recreational cannabis use.

I don’t think it would be a good way to decide on the Maori seats. That would enable a large majority to make a decision that really just affects a relatively small minority.

I also don’t think it would suit the smacking issue.

The use of referendums could be a significant issue in itself this term.

Last term the flag referendums were a democratic disaster, with political game playing and deliberate disruption making a mess of the process. Somehow that has to be avoided in the future.

I’m encouraged by what Martin said in this interview, albeit with a concern about their principle of only applying referendums to things NZ First hasn’t written policy on or campaigned on. They aren’t the only party in Parliament or soon to be in Government.

Something Peters campaigned on was ‘a change in the way this country is run both economically and socially’.

That suggests major change to me. Should any major change to the way we run the country economically or socially be ratified by the public via referenda?

Peters has been quite vague about what changes he wants. Once he clarifies and suggests specific changes should we the people get to decide on whether it should happen or not?

Legislating for warm dry health homes

Newshub:  Mouldy homes causing children’s asthma – study

Half of New Zealand homes have mould in them, and new research shows a link between this and asthma in children.

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, shows that mould makes asthma worse but can also lead to the development of a first asthma attack in young children.

The study, published on Wednesday in the international journal Indoor Air was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

It investigated the homes of 150 children who had visited their GPs for their first prescribed asthma medication, and compared them to the homes of 300 matched children who had never wheezed.

We found that mould and leaks were more likely to be found in the bedrooms and homes of children who had just started wheezing compared to the children who had never wheezed,” says the study’s lead author, Dr Caroline Shorter.

“The amount of mould present in the bedroom made a difference – the more mould, the greater the risk that children would start wheezing.

“We urgently need to improve the quality of our children’s home environments.”

Grant Robertson:

Every child deserves to grow up in a warm, dry healthy home. Labour will make this the law.

Newhub:

Good insulation, working extractor fans, good heating throughout the home and secure windows that open are important, Dr Shorter said.

Frequent checks should be made for mould, she said.

“We need to reduce moisture in our homes by not drying clothes inside, and opening windows often to improve ventilation, even for just 10 minutes a day.”

How is this going to be legislated for? House police that do spot checks to make sure everyone is heating and ventilating their whole house and not drying washing inside?

Bills relying on Barclay’s vote

By not standing down until the election Todd Barclay’s vote is still available in Parliament so the Government can pass legislation. The Labour Party has pointed out their are three bills that are relying on that vote if they are to be passed before the election recess.

Bill English has said that it is Barclay’s decision as to whether he remains in Parliament until the election. A party leader is not able to force an MP to resign, for good reason.

NZ Herald: Three law changes hinge on National MP Todd Barclay’s vote, Labour Party says

The National-led Government would be unable to pass three pieces of legislation including major child, youth and family reforms if MP Todd Barclay had been sacked immediately, the Labour Party says.

Without his vote, the National Party would need support from two out of three of its coalition partners to pass legislation.

Labour said there were three bills before Parliament which were either opposed by the Maori Party or by both Act and United Future, meaning they would not progress without Barclay’s vote.

Government Bills which are remaining to be passed this term which will depend on Barclay’s vote (based on known party position)

  • Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill
  • Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill

Bills which passed by one vote since the end of February 2016 when the Barclay incident happened

  • Housing Legislation Amendment Bill
  • Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill
  • Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill – still before the House)
  • Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill – still before the House)

(Source: Parliamentary Library/Labour Party)

Is what Barclay has done (not being truthful) and is alleged to have done bad enough to justify stopping the elected Government from continuing with it’s legislative programme?

Should he have resigned in February last year? This would have effectively hung the Parliament in the middle of the term.

Bill to wipe historical homosexual convictions introduced

Signalled earlier in the year by the Government, Justice Minister Amy Adams has introduced a Bill to Parliament that “will allow men convicted of specific homosexual offences decriminalised by the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 to apply to have the convictions wiped from their criminal record”.

This was initiated by a petition presented to MPS last year – so sensible petitions can be effective.

The Criminal Records (of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill was introduced to Parliament today.

“The tremendous hurt and stigma suffered by those who were affected can never be fully undone, but I hope that this Bill will go some way toward addressing that,” says Ms Adams.

“This Bill introduces the first ever expungement scheme in New Zealand.

“Allowing historical convictions for homosexual offences to remain on a person’s criminal record perpetuates the stigma which such convictions carry. A person can be further disadvantaged if they are required to disclose their conviction or it appears on a criminal history check.”

Ms Adams says the scheme will be open to applications from men with convictions for specific offences relating to sexual conduct between consenting men 16 years and over, or by a family member on their behalf if the person is deceased. The application process will be free for applicants.

“The scheme requires case-by-case assessments of the relevant facts to determine whether the conduct a person was charged with is still unlawful today. The decision will be made by the Secretary for Justice, without the need for a court hearing or for applicants to appear in person,” says Ms Adams.

“If a person’s conviction is expunged, the conviction will not appear on a criminal history check for any purpose and they will be entitled to declare they had no such conviction when required to under New Zealand law.”

Copy of the Bill:  www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74442/criminal-records-expungement-of-convictions-for-historical

It’s taken a long time but it’s good to see this being dealt with. It was abhorrent law in the not very distant past and the least that can be done now is to wipe any convictions.

Some history:

Male homosexual sex became illegal in New Zealand when the country became part of the British Empire in 1840 and adopted English law making male homosexual acts punishable by death.

The Offences Against The Person Act of 1867 changed the penalty of buggery from execution to life imprisonment. In 1893 the law was broadened so that sexual activity between men constituted “sexual assault” even if it was consensual. Penalties included life imprisonment, hard labour and flogging.

Sex between women has never been legally prohibited in New Zealand.

In 1961 the penalties for male homosexual activity were reduced, reflecting changing attitudes towards homosexuality.

In 1968 a petition signed by 75 prominent citizens and calling for legislative change was presented to (and rejected by) parliament.

The Act was introduced by Labour MP Fran Wilde in 1985. Originally, the bill had two parts – one decriminalised male homosexuality, while the other provided anti-discrimination law protections for lesbians and gay men.

The first part passed narrowly (49 Ayes to 44 Noes) on 9 July 1986, after an attempt by opponents to invoke closure and end debate was defeated by one vote the previous week; the bill might have failed if a vote was taken then as several supporters were kept away from Wellington by bad weather. Three National MPs voted for the bill, and other National MPs (including Doug Graham) would have supported the bill if it had been in danger of defeat.

The second part failed, but was incorporated into a supplementary order paper added to the New Zealand Human Rights Act 1993.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_Law_Reform_Act_1986

This is one example of a number of awful laws and prejudices of the not very distance past that have changed significantly in a more tolerant and sensible society.

As a civil society we’re not perfect yet, but this is another good step forward.

Stuff from last year: Homosexual Law Reform 30 years on – what was life like for the gay community pre-1986?

Cross-party support for earthquake legislation

Parliamentary parties are working together on emergency legislation to help sort things out after the earthquakes.

NZ Herald: Emergency quake legislation on the way after cross-party meeting

The Government has today met with opposition parties to discuss what emergency legislation could be introduced to skirt usual consenting processes and aid the earthquake recovery.

A spokeswoman for Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed the approach.

“There was a cross-party meeting this morning to discuss legislative options but it is very early days.”

Labour Party leader Andrew Little, speaking to the Herald from Kaikoura, has indicated his party will support the emergency legislation.

“The Government put up the things they have in mind. All the parties were there. There are more meetings to go before legislation is introduced, which the plan is to be next week.

“We have indicated support, subject to appropriate checks and balances…but our people who were [at the meeting] described it as constructive.”

It’s good to see this inclusiveness, putting the needs of the affected people and regions first.

Little said he believed the Government had learned lessons after the introduction of emergency legislation following the Canterbury earthquakes.

“I think it [emergency legislation] is natural in order to get stuff done – particularly now you have a town the size of Kaikoura and its importance to the tourist industry totally isolated at the moment, you do want some expedited powers.

Little has taken a responsible approach to the earthquakes, and has been included from the start by the Government in assessing the damage and the problems.

The Whale Watch boat berths have been uplifted and can now only be used at high tide.

Yesterday Little said that repairs to the harbour at Kaikoura should be fast tracked rather than go through a lengthy consent process so that tourist and fishing businesses can resume as soon as possible.

But there may be some tensions.

The road freighting industry has lobbied the Government not to be “sensitive” about repairing SH1 and to bulldoze rubble into the sea.

Some of the slips have already covered sea shores. If they were left to weather naturally there would be further subsidence into the sea, it is part of normal erosion processes. But:

Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today that view was shortsighted.

“Fixing the road and rail links is obviously quite critical and urgent, but dumping thousands of tonnes of rubble into the sea risks killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

“Nature-based tourism, whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and fisheries like the cray and paua fisheries are absolutely critical to Kaikoura’s economy.”

Whales and dolphins shouldn’t be an issue, they are found further out to sea.

Seals congregate and breed on the rocky shores. They will have been affected but their numbers have increased markedly over that last fifty years so should have no trouble re-establishing themselves.

The crayfish and paua fisheries have already been badly affected by the natural affects of the earthquakes, in the main by uplift of shallow shores.

“We don’t want to reestablish the transport link at the expense of a healthy coastal marine environment and healthy fisheries.”.

In the main it’s unlikely that pushing slip debris a bit further out into the sea will have a major effect. Obviously they will have to take care if any of the slips are in ecologically sensitive areas, but the vast majority of the coastline will remain unaffected by slip debris.

It will be good if all parties are on board with emergency legislation.

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