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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Throwing out the rules to rebuild Christchurch

Concerns over power new bill gives ministers
The Government's Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill passed into law yesterday as political opposites Act and the Greens both raised concerns over the sweeping powers it gives ministers.

The legislation creates an "Order in Council" mechanism that enables ministers to relax or suspend potentially every other act of Parliament - barring five dealing with constitutional matters - to the extent they may "divert resources away from the effort to efficiently respond to the damage caused by the Canterbury earthquake".

In the Pantheon of self righteous educated pretentious arseholes I don't like, Graeme Edgeler over at the terribly proper Public Address ranks supreme, the only thing more precious than Graeme is Finlay McDonald, but Graeme does make some strong points about this rush to effectively hand executive power over to one person with these new powers to deal with the earthquake...

Parliament passes a law, and the Government has to follow it, so if Parliament says "you have these powers, but you may only exercise them for these purposes" then if the Government exercises them for a different purpose, its exercise of that power is invalid. But the problem is that this law declares that the body with the power to declare those actions invalid is told to naff off. Section 6(3) states:

The recommendation of the relevant Minister may not be challenged, reviewed, quashed, or called into question in any court.

I'm pretty sure the courts would tell them to stuff off anyway, but that's not really the point - they shouldn't be trying to do this anyway.

...I note the Greens were concerned about this as well, I agree with Greame's conclusion...

If anything even remotely dodgy is done under this law, I will hold every MP who voted for it personally responsible and never ever vote for a party which has a single one of them on its list. And I will encourage everyone I know, and anyone I don't who'll listen, to do the same.

...on that we can all agree.

And while we are on it, is leaving Gerry Brownlee in charge of our second largest city after an Earthquake a bit like leaving Paula Bennett in charge of Hamilton if it burnt to the ground? Seriously, how reassuring is leaving Gerry in charge of anything? Remember the mining debate, remember how Gerry couldn’t get the postcard analogy right, remember how Gerry promised billions and billions and billions in mineral valuations and remember how Gerry failed to point out that we would only get 1% return all the while threatening to destroy our clean green image - that was all over something National wanted!

Is this really the bloke you put in charge of the worst Natural Disaster in 80 years? Shouldn’t John Key or Bill English be fronting this rather than having the captain of the B team? Is Gerry being set up as the fall guy once the adrenalin stops pumping and questions as to why Mr Magoo got bailed out for $1.6 billion but the uninsured quake survivors won’t?

Brothers and sisters, if Gerry Brownlee is the answer, you’ve asked the wrong question


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