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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kiwiblogh lies about urgency

Some facts on urgency

Over on Kiwiblog, DPF is spinning frantically, trying to defend the government's indefensible and undemocratic use of urgency. His key argument boils down to "Labour did it too", and he makes much of Labour's use of urgency in its first term, trying to equate this with National's abuses. Having just spent the afternoon trawling Hansard, I think its time for some facts.

Firstly, DPF is correct on the numbers: Labour used urgency 22 times in its first term. But this disguises very real differences in how it was used. National, you may recall, hit the ground running, immediately using urgency to ram through key election promises, many of them without the scrutiny of a select committee. Since then, it has regularly called urgency to introduce major legislation without scrutiny and then advance it without public debate. It's a classic example of the Roger Douglas blitzkrieg principles: moving quickly to pre-empt opposition and present the public with a legislative fait accompli.

Labour's pattern was very different. They did not "hit the ground running" and use urgency to ram through their promises. Instead, these were advanced through the normal Parliamentary process. Only four times was urgency used to advance policy (twice for the ERA, once for income-related rents, and once for ACC renationalisation) - and each time it was to speed the committee stage. Urgency was not used to introduce "policy bills" - things the government wanted to do - at the last minute without debate as National has done.

Idiot Savant over at no right turn points out the lie David at Kiwiblogh is trying to spin to defend the despicable fact his party are abusing democracy so venally. 35% of the time considering Bills in Parliament since National's election have been done under urgency. That is a disgrace NZ, an utter, utter disgrace.

Why isn't the mainstream media even explaining this blitzkrieg of hard right legislation is being rammed through under a misuse of Parliamentary democratic process?

If Labour had pulled this shit, there would be riots inspired by the mainstream media in the streets, but as we can see with the TVNZ political party broadcast for Bill English, TVNZ is more in the pocket of Government than it has ever been before.

It was neo liberal policy that allowed the greedy to molest the global economy and create the Great Recession. National and ACT are attempting to react to that by passing more neo liberal domestic policy but are having to rely on shutting down normal democratic procedure to do it.

How is that change feeling?


At 29/10/09 2:08 pm, Blogger Nandor Tanczos said...

Actually the major reason Labour didn't use urgency like this is that they found it very difficult to get support to do so. The Greens opposed using urgency to avoid select committee scrutiny on principle, and even NZF and UF were generally reluctant. I'm not sure that Labour wouldn't have been as blase about people's rights to have a say as the Right, if they had had a free hand to do so. Fortunately, unlike the Nats, they didn't.

One more reason why MMP, and third parties, are so important.

At 29/10/09 3:10 pm, Blogger Roger said...

I read that post on Kiwiblog, it was absolutely astounding that there was no mention of urgency bypassing the select commitee process. There is also a huge disconnect between the use of urgency and any plausible reason for it. For example, they rammed the sack new staff in 90 days bill through under urgency and bypassed the select commitee process, why?
The only reason I can think of is that if unpopular and bad legislation is likely to bring bad publicity, ram it through under urgency so that the media will focus on it for as short a timeframe as possible, and then everyone can forget and move on. Labour had to go through the full process with the EFA over 2-3 months and got punished every day for it. What this government is doing is much more undemocratic than the EFA was ever purported to be by the National Party or their friends at the Herald.

At 29/10/09 3:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One more reason why MMP, and third parties, are so important."

Well MMP hasn't stopped National from doing what it wants has it?

At 29/10/09 4:08 pm, Blogger Nandor Tanczos said...

No, but my point is not that the abuse of urgency is impossible under MMP, just that it is less likely

At 29/10/09 5:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you can point to a system under which it is less likely for urgency to be abused than MMP, then MMP has nothing to do with this debate.

You can hardly hold MMP up as a shining example when it still allows this abuse.

At 29/10/09 5:58 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Perhaps it would be better to say MMP can stop this except when the right wing and the really, really, really right wing are in Government, then not even MMP can save us from this disgusting abuse of power.

Interestingly the usual anonymous right wing mafia are very, very quiet over this now it's obvious that 35% of Parliaments legislative time has been rammed through under a misuse of urgency without select committee oversight.

Perhaps we've gotten to a level of abuse that even National's supporters can't spin? David's attempt on Kiwiblogh to justify this is so weak.

At 29/10/09 8:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be better to say MMP can stop this except when the right wing and the really, really, really right wing are in Government, then not even MMP can save us from this disgusting abuse of power.

Or perhaps you could just say what you mean: You love democracy except when those stupid stupid people elect someone you don't like to power.


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