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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Government is urgent again

Busy two weeks for Parliament
The Government is using urgency to push through up to eight bills before a two-week parliamentary recess, upsetting opposition parties by wiping out the usual daily question time. Urgency means Parliament sitting from 9am to midnight, focused entirely on legislation the Government needs to pass into law. Opposition MPs use question time to cover a wide range of issues, grilling the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet in what is Parliament's most lively session each day. Urgency began on Tuesday and could last until tomorrow as Labour MPs battle bills they disagree with.

Here we go again, last year National spent 35% of the time ramming throiugh law under a misuse of urgency and here they go again. YOu would need to go back to Rodger Douglas's time in Government to see a comparable misuse of urgency. What's being rammed through with zero democratic oversight this time? Taking ACC away from suicide victims and criminals, while the latter is an easy kneejerk win, the counter by Labour was worth considering...

“Labour members agree that that an offender like Graeme Burton should not receive lump-sum or earnings-related compensation. If offenders such as he have received compensation, then that is because of ACC’s failure to properly apply the current law.

“There is nothing to stop ACC using its existing power to apply to disentitle claimants more often, and we would approve of its doing so. Its failure to do so operationally is no excuse for the draconian change now proposed.

“The provisions in the bill apply to any offence where the maximum theoretical penalty is two years or more in prison, and the offender is imprisoned or put on home detention for any period (that is, even a week!).

“This is unjust on a number of levels. For a start, the offender has already received the appropriate criminal penalty. Under this bill, they receive an additional penalty, which can also be disproportionate to the scale of their crime. This would affect not just the offender,
but also their family. This outcome arises despite the injured offender having paid ACC levies through their work, and their petrol and registration fees.

“The change would disproportionately affect lower-paid New Zealanders. They are more likely to end up in prison because they lack the means to pay large fines or reparation, which can enable a
better-off person to avoid a custodial sentence.

If Labour had misused urgency in this manner during their 9 years, the NZ Herald would've declared war on the Government, National constantly circumvent democratic oversight and it's just considered the norm now.


At 25/2/10 9:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suicide victims are dead, they hardly need money then.
Why should anyone get compo if they are injured while carrying out a crime?

At 25/2/10 10:20 am, Anonymous Austerity Program said...

Meh...current policy is clearly being under used...better to have the suggested "auto opt out" that can later be corrected, rather than an automatic opt in...with a costly court review needed to have it struck down in cases like Burton.

Not going to lose too much sleep about crims not getting ACC to be honest...I doubt many people are. If we're going to trim a bit of fat from the budget I can think of few worthier places to start.

Surprised you didn't ask "how's that change feeling NZ?"...It's feeling grand BTW!!

At 27/2/10 10:35 am, Anonymous Mrs Hawes said...

Anon and Austerity Prog do not understand the slippery ethical slope they are on. Moral judgements should play no role in the distribution of society's goods because they are far too subjective and quite unable to be rationalised in a reliable or fair way. And it's a meaningless conversation anyway - if ACC hadn't picked up the bill, the public health system would have had to. Or should he have been left untreated? That would have been an edifying sight, I don't think.


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