Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is this a gimmick?

A Labour list MP is to lodge a Member’s Bill seeking the entrenchment of the Maori seats in Parliament. His name is Mita Ririnui. Some of you may have heard of him. He sometimes contributes to debate in Parliament. Like on four days in the past seven months. One of those days was today. But he could soon have a higher profile.

Labour supported entrenchment of the Maori Seats while in Government, but didn't have the balls to do anything about it. The Maori Party drafted a bill but that got scuttled in the confidence and supply agreement with National. So what Labour is trying to do now is cause havoc in the Maori Party by hoping they will support it if the bill gets pulled out of the ballot. Under the agreement with National, the Maori Party can vote for entrenchment, provided that it is not "pursuing" entrenchment.

Given that 75 percent of Parliament have to vote for this bill in the committee stags to make it law, this will require National support. National won't support it and Ririnui knows that. So this is wedge politics aimed at causing a rift between National and the Maori Party.

Hopefully Maori will see this bill for what it is: a gimmick bill.

While in Government Labour pushed through legislation that affected about 300 people a year. That was the Civil Union Act. Then they pushed through a bill they did not expect to be upheld. That was the anti smacking legislation. They then pushed through a bill that it did not want to enforce - the Electoral Finance Act. Now it wants to push through a bill that with a primary aim other than that of passage. The aim is purely to piss off both the Maori Party and National - for different reasons - and Labour is using Parliament's lowest profile Maori MP to do it. Race-based bill fronting is what I call it.

UPDATE Indeed, the Maori Party is pissed off. Labour's motto seems to be "if you want 'em, but can't get 'em, your main opponent has 'em but doesn't want 'em, try to entrench 'em".

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