What to do about Bill’s threat of democratic sabotage

By   /   November 5, 2017  /   16 Comments

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What Bill is threatening is to just run malicious interference for the next 3 years to slow down any way for the new Government to pass its agenda.

Bill English warns Labour: ‘it’s not our job to make this place run’

Bill English has revealed the roles his MPs will hold as National “pushes the button on Opposition” – saying the party will use its size to frustrate progress for the new Government.

Parliament resumes next week and English today announced the portfolios he has assigned to his team, including a big promotion for Judith Collins.

“You should expect more tension and more pressure in the Parliament, and particularly through the select committee process. Because we are the dominant select committee party,” English said.

“And that is going to make a difference to how everything runs – it’s not our job to make this place run for an incoming Government that is a minority.

What exactly is Bill English threatening here and what should the new Government do about it?

Bill is talking about the select Committee process which National dominate because they were the Party with the most votes.

This is a unique threat (and one that was brought up with Labour Party strategists a couple of weeks ago). It means National could stymie, block, slow down and filibuster the new Government’s political agenda.

Normally the Select Committee process is an important and fundamental process of our Democracy. It allows the public, political interests and industry interests to all have a say on the law as it is being drafted.

The idea is that we all sit down and work through law so that everyone feels they have input in  the final legislation.

What Bill is threatening is to just run malicious interference for the next 3 years to slow down any way for the new Government to pass its agenda.

It’s less a declaration of opposition as it is a threat to sabotage our democracy.

I think there is only one way to deal with political maliciousness of this level, and that is to punch back twice as hard.

I think that the new Government should come out and say that if National are only interested in childish tactics of disruption rather than constructive engagement on the issues that face all New Zealander’s, then they will pass their first 100 day legislation all in one hit and ram it through under urgency which would bypass the select committee process altogether.

National Party stake holders will howl in rage at National for allowing legislation to be passed that they can’t even have input in.

Watch how quickly National drop the spite and tantrums if they’re behaviour forces the new Government to bypass them altogether.

While no one wants to set the precedent of using urgency to pass all domestic law, the new Government must understand that National have nothing to contribute other than spoiling tactics and their threats to undermine the Select Committee process must be addressed harshly.

National are still in denial they lost the election, the new Government should send them a  short, sharp message that they did.

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16 Comments

  1. Pat O'Dea says:

    Dirty Bastards!

    The dis-loyal opposition

    National in government showed their contempt for democratic parliamentary process in having no hesitation at in ruthlessly passing all sorts of malignant legislation using urgency, and bypassing the parliamentary select committee process, ignoring the protests of the opposition parties.

    Now when National are in opposition, they are proving to be as ruthless and unprincipled as they were in government, wasting no hesitation in spitting on the concept of the “Loyal Opposition” enshrined in the Westminster parliamentary system of government.

    Loyal opposition
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In parliamentary systems of government, the loyal opposition is the opposition parties in the legislature. The word loyal indicating that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government’s power. The idea of inquisitorial opposition that held the executive to account emerged in Great Britain.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyal_opposition

    Loyal opposition
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Concept
    The phrase is derived from John Hobhouse’s use in 1826 in a debate in the British parliament of the term His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.[1][2] It is intended to illustrate that Members of Parliament in a country’s legislature may oppose the policies of the incumbent government—typically comprising parliamentarians from the party with the most seats in the elected legislative chamber—while maintaining deference to the higher authority of the state and the larger framework within which democracy operates. The concept thus permits the dissent necessary for a functioning democracy without fear of being accused of treason.[1]

    The role of a “Loyal Opposition” is clear, it is to oppose government policy, where they disagree with it, and expose where they think the government is gong wrong, or making a mistake. And so serve an important democratic check.

    From a minority position a ‘Loyal Opposition’ may use logical argument and moral persuasion to try and sway or win parliament away from a course of action that the opposition are convinced is wrong.

    The purpose of a loyal opposition is not to abuse process or to challenge the ultimate authority of parliament, (as Bill English says he intends to do). As the Wikipedia quote above suggests, for an opposition party to challenge the authority of Parliament nudges close to treason.

    Any attempt by National in opposition, to abuse the select committee process to un-democratically sabotage the government’s legislative program needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. If necessary urgency must be used to shut these wreckers ou. Just as they were wont to do, to the opposition parties when they were in government.

    Let them complain bitterly from the opposition benches, as is their right

  2. bert says:

    Bill you have no power, you and Key’s dictatorship days are over. Fuck off.

    • Shona says:

      sorry those links are not working. I will try and get the right ones up,National used urgency on countless occasions and often the opposition never had the information on various bills until minutes before they were voted on. Fuck Bill English he needs to be held to account over this. His attitude is inexcusable.

  3. Roy says:

    Urgency – the Nats passed loads under it, they can suck it up now. Irrelevant Bill, can’t even win with 44%. That’s a real loser.

  4. Kim dandy says:

    Agreed bert – and they can take their nastiness with them.

  5. Andrea says:

    Instead of the Select Committee process being left as a sport for the interested only – make known, through the news process, just what National is up to and who will be harmed by their shenanigans.

    As Pat O’Dea points out ‘The role of a “Loyal Opposition” is clear, it is to oppose government policy, where they disagree with it, and expose where they think the government is gong wrong, or making a mistake. And so serve an important democratic check. ‘

    Fair enough.

    What this does bring to light, though, is the ‘seats/list’ issue in our MMP system. We’re in new waters here. ‘They won more seats: we won more backing.’ We probably need some new groundrules and PDQ, before the main work of the parliament really gets underway.

    Otherwise they’ll create a lame duck government against the will of the people.

  6. Considering that the Hobbit Law was passed in 48 hours under “Urgency”, without any in-put from anyone else, I’d say the Nats have sweet f**k all legs to stand on.

    They will see public opobrium as they’ve never seen it before if they try filibustering the next three years.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I say let them go ahead.

      They are truly the only party that can launch a punch and end up hitting themselves in the head.

      Let them blacken and bruise themselves the selfish childish prats.

  7. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ” the new Government should come out and say that if National are only interested in childish tactics of disruption rather than constructive engagement on the issues that face all New Zealander’s, then they will pass their first 100 day legislation all in one hit and ram it through under urgency which would bypass the select committee process altogether ” …

    That’s it , – if they are going to get all destructive , let them. This is not a game and we are paying those sods handsomely in salary’s to do a job.

    Letting them throw their tantrums will discredit them in the public’s eye. Let them do it. They were a destructive govt anyways. Meanwhile the REAL govt should indeed pass legislation under urgency because of a lack of a credible opposition.

    Sad this is the way our democracy has gone but if National party opposition leaders want to play this way let them reap the consequences.

    Let them take the blame for their disgusting churlish garbage.

  8. Veritas says:

    Most of these comments show a woeful understanding of MMP. National received more votes than any other party. For those who haven’t caught on (and please do a course), that means something in MMP and it translates to select committees. It is fully democratic for National to represent those who voted blue.

  9. mosa says:

    I just wonder if the tactic here is to force an early dissolution.

    If National think they can slow the business of governing and frustrate the process in the all important select committee stage then they will try every dirty trick in the book to slow this governments agenda which is bad for the country and getting good law.

    While the government has the majority it will be hellish trying to get law through the National parties blockade of the select committee process.

    This party believes it won the election and was denied a historic fourth term and after seeing how they behaved in government then this approach wont surprise anyone such is the arrogance of these born to rule mongrels.

    They will make life hell for as long as it takes to force an early election and will be the test of Adern’s leadership abilities to keep it together.

    Parliament is due to sit this week and it is promising to be a tumultuous period that will test the new speakers control of the house.

  10. esoteric pineapples says:

    National is rapidly to look and sound like the Republican Party in the United States.

  11. Maggs27 says:

    Shows us the true measure of the man. Sulky and bad tempered.