Tag Archives: Parliamentary Process

Marriage Amendment Bill: What Happens Now?

31 Aug

On Wednesday, while standing outside of Parliament listening to inspiring speeches in favour of marriage equality, I was asked by a couple of friends “What next? How many times will this have to pass a vote in the House?” After some hemming and hawing I had to admit that even though I had posted on this subject, I couldn’t quite remember the details. Thus, with Wednesdays First Reading vote in favour of Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment bill, now is a pertinent time to re-post a previous blog on how bills become law. Wall’s bill is currently proceeding into the third phase of the process where it will go before a select committee. If marriage equality is something you feel passionately about and you are worried that the loud and caustic voices of social conservatives are being heard excessively, now is your chance to comment on the future you see for New Zealand. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often so if you are keen to make a submission information how to do so can be found here. For a great summary of the first debate about this bill in House, check out Gordan Cambells blog here.

1.    Introduction: A bill is made publically available and is announced in the House. There are four types of bill that can be introduced, Government bills which are part of the governments legislative programme to enable their policy platform, Members bills which can be introduced by members other than ministers; Local bills that are prompted by local authorities and deal with matters confined to a particular locality and Private bills- which are uncommon and provide for a particular interest in the form of an exemption for the general law for an individual or group of people (for example, it would enable two people to marry who are too closely related to married such as adopted siblings).  Bills are publically available here. The Marriage Amendment bill was introduced through a ballot as a Members bill. Continue reading

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Overuse of Urgency (law-making 101: part two)

21 Mar

In the past year there has been growing concern that the National government has been abusing their power to pass laws under urgency. ‘Urgency’ is a normal parliamentary tool used to help deal with a backload of work but critics argue increasingly the use of urgency to pass laws is threatening transparency, scrutiny in the normal select committee process and the public’s ability to engage with this process. Some bills that have been passed under urgency since 2008 include the sacking of Environment Canterbury’s elected council, the increase of GST and the introduction of National Standards for primary schools. This is the second part of a blog on Law-making 101. I will briefly explain what ‘urgency’ is and how it is potentially being abused. Several media and blog sites have commented on this here, here and here

Continue reading

Law-making 101 (part one)

14 Feb

Like many New Zealanders, until a year ago I knew next to nothing about how legislation passes through parliament.  A failing of our school system perhaps or [as in my case] more likely just a lack of interest, many New Zealanders have a limited understanding of how involved in the process they could be. Often the opportunity for regular kiwi’s to have their say on proposed laws is lost as a result. A further downside of this is when criticism is leveled against the parliamentary system, such as with the current discussion (See: radionz, Greens, idealog, Greens) about the increasing use of urgency to pass bills into law, many people do not realise the true implications of the issue.

In two blog posts I am going to briefly outline how legislation passes through parliament to become law and discuss the implications of the increasing use of urgency. Continue reading

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