Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Roy: Labour's Anti-Democratic Appropriation Bill

Labour's Anti-Democratic Appropriation Bill

Heather Roy
Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Speeches - Governance & Constitution

Third Reading speech to Parliament on the Appropriation (Parliamentary
Expenditure Validation) Bill, 18 October 2006.

Few things have generated as much media coverage since the election as this issue. We shouldn't lose track of the principle that lies behind it - and we should be aware of the perversion of democracy that is taking place here today.

A good government is one which can win a battle of ideas. A bad government forces through its dictates at all cost. Kiwis should have no doubt what kind of government is facing us today.

Societies become less democratic when their governments become less transparent, less accountable to the public they are supposed to serve, and makes laws for their own preservation.

Today we are passing, without any public consultation, retrospective law to validate Parliament's own spending. There will be no sending this Bill to Select Committee and no chance for the public to submit their opinions.

As we opened our newspapers or turned on our TVs this morning, we saw the crisis of confidence which is developing for parliament and government in this country.

This Bill might pass a Confidence and Supply vote in this House, but Kiwi communities have no confidence in the politicians who pass it.

No individual citizen, no company, can change the law to suit themselves. The Labour party can - and is.

Smaller parties find themselves excluded from decisions, and often, from parliamentary debates. Some MPs have hardly said a word in the House since their maiden speech.

Government departments pay off whistleblowers to keep them quiet. Public servants are fired or suspended for asking questions or speaking out.

Since last year's election we have seen heavy-handed Select Committee chairmen tear up letters from Committee members who raise serious concerns.

And for the first time in 103 years, a crown-owned company has been fined for contempt of parliament.

In 2003, the government suspended an electoral law so that a Labour MP who swore allegiance to another country didn't lose his seat or salary. Again, this was done under urgency, so that the public were denied the chance to comment, and again the legislation was retrospective - Parliament moving back in time to cover the butt of a government MP.

Now, this Bill excuses parties from misspending public money.

How can we expect other New Zealanders to follow the rules made in this House, when our Government refuses to live by the rules, then changes the law to suit themselves?

How can we expect our Parliament and our democracy to be respected, when we push through self-serving Bills under urgency to protect ourselves?

I admit that ACT did not escape scrutiny in the Auditor-General's report. Rodney Hide and I have paid our personal cheques, to right the wrong that the Auditor-General found.

We thought we'd done everything correctly; we did what we thought we had to, to work within the rules.

And it hurts that, despite our best efforts, we were found to have spent money wrongly.

We have repaid Parliamentary Service - from our own pockets, not those of our Members.

It is true that without this Bill, politicians would have to be much more careful about how we spend public money.

That would be much better than using our special privilege to stand here today and ram through a Bill which the public haven't had a chance to read, haven't been able to comment on and do not want.

The Auditor-General's report has demonstrated why we need limits on the power of politicians - because otherwise they will use their power to political advantage, at the expense of taxpayers.

People are saying that the Government's response to the report - this Bill - takes New Zealand closer to a banana republic, and it raises serious questions of credibility for the parties supporting it here today.

How can any party come to this House and talk about "strengthening core institutions" when they vote for a Bill that undermines the rule of law?

How can they discuss the behaviour of politicians when they're willing to push through a Bill that validates the wrongful acts of their own MPs?

How can they talk about the breakdown of law when they are terrified at the very idea of a transparent democracy?

ACT stands against big, powerful, privileged government. We are opposed to politicians who change the law to suit themselves.

We want a government that people can trust - and that trusts the people.

We have never fought to defend privilege or to take what belongs to others - and we will not be turning on that record today.

Democracy requires more than the relentless pursuit of power. A genuinely democratic government consults its people and governs in an open and accountable way.

This Bill defies the rule of law, it has not been subject to public submissions and it is out of place in any liberal democracy. That is why ACT will oppose it.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news