Should the Financial Veto be Allowed?

By   /   July 4, 2016  /   21 Comments

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For the record, my Bill would have cost just 0.7% of the NEW spending for Budget 2016 and 3.6% of the NEW spending planned by National for 2017. At full implementation it would cost 0.03% of the $3b worth of tax cuts John Key wants. Is that more than minor? I don’t think so.

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If I had to choose a Mastermind topic right now I would be torn between Paid Parental Leave; Kiwi music 1960-2005 and Standing Orders Associated with the Use of Financial Veto.

I’m surprised to find myself somewhat of an authority on the financial veto – this certainly wasn’t by choice! But four years ago (April 2012)

Finance Minister Bill English threatened to use one on our proposal to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks. Three weeks ago he finally did it.

Last week we had the bizarre result of that decision when, for the first time in our Parliament’s history, a Bill was debated a third and final time and no vote was allowed at the end of the debate.

If a vote had been allowed, then the Bill would have passed.

People might be surprised to hear that I do think there is a place for the use of a financial veto in MMP Parliaments. After all, it is a feature of MMP that Minority Governments can and do exist and they should be able to execute their programme through the Treasury benches.

However MMP also means that Parties elected to represent the views of the people, must be able to do so even if that defeats the view of a minority Government.

I believe that last-minute amendments that do impact on the Crown accounts but have not faced full select committee scrutiny should face the prospect of a veto from the Government.

But I also believe there are circumstances under which they should never be allowed.

In my view the financial veto should NOT be allowed when:

1. The measure has been scrutinised by a select committee and ;

2. The majority of public submissions have been in favour of the measure and ;

3. Official costings have been obtained to inform MPs on their vote.

Despite my request to do so, the National Party MPs on the select committee refused to put the agreed official costings in the report back to the House on my Bill. They then spent the next six weeks making up figures to exaggerate the cost and muddy the waters – that is not democracy.

I also think Parliament needs to define what “more than a minor impact” is on the Crown accounts, as this is the criteria the Government needs to meet in issuing a financial veto at present.

The way the Standing Orders apply at present mean the Minister of Finance can issue a financial veto on a measure that costs just ten bucks without having to show that it is “more than minor.”

For the record, my Bill would have cost just 0.7% of the NEW spending for Budget 2016 and 3.6% of the NEW spending planned by National for 2017. At full implementation it would cost 0.03% of the $3b worth of tax cuts John Key wants. Is that more than minor? I don’t think so.

I feel a submission to the Standing Orders committee coming on and I’m keen to hear your views.

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About the author

Sue Moroney

Labour Party MP.

Sue Moroney is a Labour MP based in Hamilton where she lives with her husband and two teenaged sons. Her list of "ists" include being proud to be a trade unionist, feminist and former journalist (and community newspaper editor). Sue is Labour's Spokesperson for Transport, ACC, Workplace Safety, Pay Equity and Paid Parental Leave. She has formerly held responsibilities as Chief Whip, Spokesperson for Education, Social Development, Women's Affairs, Early Childhood Education and Aged Care. Her no. 1 horse racing tip is "never bet more than you can afford to lose" and pointing out that if she really knew what horse was going to win, she probably wouldn't be working long hours for a living.

21 Comments

  1. Words says:

    Should the Financial Veto be Allowed? NO, particularly when Bill English used a lie as an excuse to use it. Write your submission to the Standing orders Committee Sue Moroney, you have the grounds and are justified in doing so !!!

    • Mike the Lefty says:

      On that matter, why has Bill English not appeared before the Privileges Committee on the charge of misleading parliament?
      If using grossly incorrect information in which to justify vetoing a piece of legislation supported by a majority of members is not misleading parliament, then what the hell is?
      Of course he claims it was accidental but in that case what has English done to rectify the damage? Nothing!
      Opposition MPs accuse the Speaker of bias, which is patently obvious to anyone that watches Parliamentary question time, and they get hauled before the committee.
      National MPs lie, refuse to answer legitimate questions and make personal smears under parliamentary privilege and get away with it every time.
      I used to have a kind of grudging respect for Bill English because I believed that he had some democratic and political integrity in a government with very little.
      It seems I was wrong. He’s no better than Key, Joyce, Bridges and the rest of the plutocracy.

      • Words says:

        Spot on Mike The Lefty, would like someone in parliament to answer your very appropriate questions.

  2. Mike in Auckland says:

    “In my view the financial veto should NOT be allowed when:

    1. The measure has been scrutinised by a select committee and ;

    2. The majority of public submissions have been in favour of the measure and ;

    3. Official costings have been obtained to inform MPs on their vote.

    Despite my request to do so, the National Party MPs on the select committee refused to put the agreed official costings in the report back to the House on my Bill. They then spent the next six weeks making up figures to exaggerate the cost and muddy the waters – that is not democracy.”

    I totally agree with you, Sue, this smells and looks just like one more case of abuse of power by the government, kind of an abuse of process, but is this anything new?

    They seem to have sufficient funds to consider tax cuts again after a 2017 general election, they have funds for other vanity projects, such as sponsoring charter schools that do not deliver no matter how much money they throw at them. They also have money to subsidise private schools, and they seem to have no problem with their clientele creaming it, remember the deals they made with Hollywood studios for film projects here, remember Sky City Casino, remember extending the financial bail outs after the GFC, remember them sitting by idly while house prices in Auckland go through the roof, making the property owning upper middle class well off.

    We were getting false figures from Bill English re the expected additional costs for extending parental leave to 26 weeks, so he has already himself disqualified himself from throwing in the veto.

    This government has no shame in using undemocratic measures, they also interfere in the way people can hold government to account, by having made it more difficult to get legal aid for civil law cases, by capping legal aid, by also underfunding the so-called watchdogs like the overloaded, defunct Office of Ombudsmen and so forth.

    Hence we get no transparency, we get also no transparency re welfare trials they conducted, no evaluation we get, we are kept in the dark, and then, lo and behold, they think they can throw out a bill like yours by using a veto of this type.

    It is time to throw this lot out, the sooner the better, people need to be rattled out of their slumber, as too many out there are like sleep walking zombies, not even questioning what goes on.

  3. Mike the Lefty says:

    Absolutely agree with you Sue.
    There is a case that a financial veto should be available, but under a stricter set of rules than simply because Bill English “says so”. There should also be a mechanism to challenge such a veto, either constitutionally or legally.
    This is not the first time that National has shown disdain for the democratic principles that have defined our system of government over the past century.
    Perhaps it is time to revisit the idea of having an elected upper house or senate that can provide a democratic brake to an Executive Council that has too much unbridled power.

  4. Bert says:

    Hi Sue. The democracy of the vote has been used time and time again by National and it’s followers to give them a mandate to pass legislation. The democracy of the vote would have enabled your bill to pass. So what has changed? Clearly National have a siege mentality and have no interest in democracy without their say so. This is clearly hypocritical.
    Now we as a country, are looking at paying a 1 Billion loan because of National incompetency and inadequacy, money that we haven’t got, as English has clearly stated your bill was unaffordable.
    The cause of the housing CRISIS is clearly Nationals inept effort at ideology driven policies. I wish you all the best for next years election and hope that the Labour bloc is elected to right the wrongs of the previous destruction by National.

  5. Kim dandy says:

    Please keep up the fight on this one.
    Apart from being a sensible bill and good for kiwi families/babies, it also shows up the National Government as being mean spirited and as liars – which is obvious to most on TDB, but to the average Kiwi it may add to the ongoing faults of the current government.

  6. Helena says:

    BREXIT started the downward for the Rothschild/City of London bankers. Today, General Dunford floated the gold-backed US Treasury Note. Where are the Nats going for their future borrowings to put us in debt above and beyond the $112B we currently owe? We all know the market place is still being manipulated so that’s just a scam. Just asking.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Should the Financial Veto be Allowed?

      Not when it’s for a good public cause!

      Simarly like our fight going on now for four years now, we are trying to save our Labour Party built 1938-42 railway to GIsborne.

      And like your response from Bill the scrooge saying we couldn’t afford it, it’s the same old thing he said this about our publically owned railway!!!!!

      What a screw up Sue, – well since you’re the Transport spokesperson for labour for our rail, come and help save our rail at least.

      One way to even the score?

  7. Tiger Mountain says:

    well written piece Sue, full marks to you and your supporters on extending PPL, hopefully enough people will remember this debacle when voting next year

    it speaks much of what this dirty filthy tory lot are made of when the bill they choose to veto affects giving our children the best start in life

  8. maninthemiddle says:

    Not quite sure why you think we should pay even more towards other people having children? The current system is generous enough, thanks.

    • Why not? We paid toward your upbringing. Or do you think hospital care and schooling was all paid by your parents?

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        1000% Frank, snap! MANINTHEMIDDLE WAS THAT CLEAR.

      • Winnie says:

        Bill English is like the Bill Clinton of NZ Politics.

        Both Bills like blue clothing and one of them tells lies about his verbal ejaculations about the true cost of material relating to parental leave costs, and the other tells lies about the parenting properties of material ejaculated during two-play.

        More similarities like this between NZ and US, should mean closer relations between our nations…..like their nuclear ships in our ports and us hosting an arms war convention in Auckland.

    • richarquis says:

      Perhaps you can get a petition together and drive it down to parliament using those taxpayer funded roads that all of NZ paid for. Then, when you’re done with your hard days work, you can go get a beer that has been produced according to safety regulations funded by taxpayers. Then, maybe catch a taxi, whose driver has sat mandatory testing under the government funded NZTA, because you wouldn’t want to be a burden on the taxpayer funded health care system were you or any other parties injured in an alcohol related accident. You know this because of the education you received at taxpayer funded NZ schools, and the various safety adverts produced by the government and aired on public TV stations, who receive their funding from taxpayers. Speaking of cars, it’s a good thing that petrochemical companies receive government subsidies, as this makes your oil and petrol cheaper, meaning when you get home, you have more time to cook up some potatoes wrapped in aluminium foil, perhaps the kind that is produced by Rio Tinto, who receive government subsidies to keep costs low, or maybe just boiled and mashed up with some subsidised milk and butter.

      This list could go on all fucking day. But you’d probably still sit there parroting your 1ZB catchphrases, like a good little National lapdog.

  9. Jane B says:

    Bill English tells lies.

  10. Draco T Bastard says:

    After all, it is a feature of MMP that Minority Governments can and do exist and they should be able to execute their programme through the Treasury benches.

    No they shouldn’t. They should only be able to progress their programme if they have a majority vote in parliament. The reverse also applies – when a bill is passed with majority support then the minority must not be able to stop that bill from passing.

    Despite my request to do so, the National Party MPs on the select committee refused to put the agreed official costings in the report back to the House on my Bill. They then spent the next six weeks making up figures to exaggerate the cost and muddy the waters – that is not democracy.

    No, that is lying which prevents the people from being able to make informed decisions. The people who do this type of thing need to be in jail for a very long time.

  11. Helena says:

    Has jonkey, English and the other NZ Inc board members told their own team what’s going on? They certainly spin lies to us as do their controlled MSM. At least EU Commission Junker is talking to Heads of other Planets and said so publicly! http://exopolitics.org/european-commission-president-says-he-spoke-to-leaders-of-other-planets-about-brexit/
    A price has been put on the Heads of the Black Nobility as from 10 July if they don’t accept ultimatum to end political/financial shennigans:
    http://www.ascensionwithearth.com/2016/07/benjamin-fulford-special-july-4th-video.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ascensionwithearth%2FkRNq+%28Ascension+with+Mother+Earth+and+Current+State+of+Affairs%29
    Well, Sue. It’s time to call out this government. They may regard themselves as being the Pied Piper but we are not the stupid peasants willing to sacrifice ourselves and our children to a centuries old scam perpetrated by the Rockefeller/Rothschilds et al still being carried out by jonkey and his cronies.
    It’s time for the decent people in Parliament to wake up and realize that the masses are already awake, and get together to call a Vote of No Confidence.

    • Helena says:

      Fulford’s blog update: http://benjaminfulford.net/
      Cool 100 million dollars payable in gold on head of each Cabal member. Time to quit The Club, Mr English, and join a government who leads from the rear by putting in place the wishes and needs of the people in the front.