How Relevant Is Parliament?
Parliament's excruciating process over recent days on the Employment Relations Bill will simply confirm for many New Zealanders how irrelevant the institution has become, according to United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne. "Not only do marathon sessions of Parliament detract from good legislation, they underline why the institution is held in such low regard by many New Zealanders.
"The public simply does not understand the archaic procedures which have resulted in time wasting and filibustering in Parliament over recent days."
"Petty points of order, unnecessary amendments and poor behaviour reinforce Parliament's irrelevance in the public's mind," says Mr Dunne.
He says there have been about 700 amendments, some of them designed to make the Bill more palatable, but most of them simply introduced as time wasting initiatives.
"Governments have a right to put forward their legislation and the Opposition has an equal right to oppose legislation and propose its own amendments."
"But doing this in a climate of round the clock sittings with hours of procedural wrangling and time wasting initiatives, does nothing to restore the low public esteem the public hold parliament and politicians in."
"Many people cannot understand why Parliament operates like this and are dismayed by the events of recent days." "Parties in Opposition always like to think they score points with the public, and Governments think they show how resolute they are through marathon sessions like this."
"Both are utterly wrong and out of touch with reality."
"In fact, those few people who are noticing are far more likely to be laughing derisively at what they see as more irrelevant nonsense from Members of Parliament," concludes Mr Dunne.