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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Government to veto parliamentary majority - welcome to casual fascism

...and the Authoritarian Capitalism model marches onwards... Govt to veto paid parental leave bill
The Government will veto plans to increase paid parental leave to six months.

It is absolutely extraordinary what we are witnessing from this Government. The National Party and ACT will veto extra maternity leave legislation EVEN THOUGH they only command 60 votes in a 121 vote Parliament. This is the first time in modern political history that the minority have over ruled the majority in our house, it is a moment where the democratic empowerment of majority rule will be overturned by the minority.

If Helen Clark had ever pulled a stunt like this, there would be rioting in the streets from the Shire Volk. Key does it and the sleepy hobbits are focused on weird racial attacks on Pat Lam and the Blues.

The 1% just over ruled the remaining 99% and the news media seem asleep to the ramifications and implications. There is a belief within news rooms that viewers will stampede for the remote if 'parliamentary process' is ever mentioned, that's why none of them focused on National's abuse and misuse of urgency during their first term. These technical process issues can't headline if there isn't a 'human emotional factor' for the journalist to pull sad faces over.

The ease with which the very principles of democracy can be vetoed with all the largess of a fart in a toilet is a reminder that our laid back zombie culture would always produce a casual fascism.

Welcome to the Kumara Republic.

PS - I wonder if our first Authoritarian Capitalist tzar Steven Joyce is looking at that Treasury veto power and is licking his lips?



At 12/4/12 8:27 am, Blogger Nitrium said...

Does seem strange that this is possible, but I, for one, actually support this particular proviso. What say they decided that everyone in NZ should get a free house. Almost everyone wants a house, especially a free one, and no one would in principle be against that idea. Yet we all know, deep down, that there is no way we could afford that (except maybe Modern Monetary Theorists (aka neo-Keynesians) who think that if they say "deficits don't matter" enough times, it will somehow make it true). So perhaps spending largess needs to be reined in by some mechanism, even if the majority don't necessarily like it.
All that said, I would embrace this particular idea IF the cost of it was cut from somewhere else... but suddenly it doesn't seem nearly as appetising when the Government cuts 150M from say health care or education to pay for it, does it?

At 12/4/12 8:41 am, Blogger Graeme Edgeler said...

1. Don't blame ACT for this. Nothing to do with them.

2. Helen Clark's Government did veto stuff, quite frequently. National tried to set up an independent electoral law prosecutor. Never got to a vote because of the veto.

3. That said. I agree the rule is appalling and undemocratic.

4. Nitrium - if that happened, and it looked like the House was about to vote everyone a House, the Government should make the vote a confidence vote. If that wouldn't work, and it feels that strongly, it should resign and ask the GG to call an election.

At 12/4/12 9:00 am, Blogger Bomber said...

You are comparing National's attempt at an independent electoral law prosecutor which was politically inspired muck raking to longer maternity leave? You are sounding more like David Farrar by the day Graeme.

What other examples of veto by Labour are you using?

At 12/4/12 9:23 am, Blogger Chris Trotter said...

The reason the Executive is able to exercise a veto over legislation like Sue Moroney's PMB is quite simple - and actually quite democratic.

Under our Westminster-based constitution the Crown (i.e. the Cabinet) asks Parliament to appropriate a specified amount of money for the purposes of governing the realm. This is the exercise we call The Budget.

If it wants more money from the people, it must seek a further appropriation.

The veto exists to prevent Parliament from legislating for an increase in expenditure (in this case 12 more weeks of PPL) without, at the same time, appropriating the money to offset it.

Only the Government gets to spend money - not Parliament. Parliament's role is to vote money (in the form of taxes, duties and dividends) to the Crown and monitor the way the Crown uses it.

The Government, in turn, cannot function unless it has a majority of MPs willing to vote for it's Budget.

And we, the people, get to elect the MPs.

That's the way our democracy works.

At 12/4/12 10:38 am, Blogger Nitrium said...

This legislation COULD still be forced to pass if the bill also has equivalent cuts to spending somewhere else - i.e. English can't in fact veto it if it is budget neutral. This has not happened. It represents purely new spending with money that provably doesn't exist, and won't exist for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the bill's proponents don't feel quite as strongly about it as they would like us to think.

At 12/4/12 3:37 pm, Blogger Graeme Edgeler said...

My reference to Labour's doing this was to point out that your claim that had Labour done this there would have been rioting in the streets, was misplaced.

I have opposed the veto ever since I have known it existed. I don't believe Labour should have used it in the way it did, and I don't believe National should be doing it either. Feel free to check my twitter feed for my constitutional outrage over this :-)

At 13/4/12 6:59 am, Blogger frances jane said...

pox vobiscum to this veto- a double kick to the uterus of democracy from the paternalistic leeches who jet off to Paris: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6734597/Minister-budgets-44-000-for-trip while poor bastards die in agony under stairwells: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/6734401/Brain-tumour-victim-dies-after-being-evicted and yes, everyone SHOULD have a free house

At 14/4/12 7:12 am, Blogger Bomber said...

Greame - are you claiming amendments that Labour vetoed is on par with vetoing an entire bill that has majority support from the outset?


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