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.