Magazine article New Zealand Management

Voting for Extinc

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Voting for Extinc

Article excerpt

Most New Zealanders would be surprised to learn that some bills that come before Parliament arrive there more or less on the roll of the dice.

Bills can be described as "proposed legislation". Normally they are proposed by the government of the day, and then only after the ideas that they propose have gone through a wide-ranging policy development process--quite possibly having been the subject of debate at the time of a general election--and then through an extensive legal drafting process.

However, there is one type of bill that can leapfrog all of that merely because some Member considered it a good idea and because luck was on its side. Such bills are known as 'Member's Bills' and at any given time only four of them can be lined up for introduction. Entry into the line is by ballot.

An interesting example is NZ First MP Barbara Stewart's Electoral (Reduction in Number of Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill that came out of the hat recently and passed its first reading in the House. The Bill, as its name suggests, seeks to reduce the number of Members of Parliament; specifically from 120 to 100, which is more-or-less what the situation was before the introduction of MMP.

As Stewart reminds us: "In 1999 a referendum was held in conjunction with the general election of that year asking whether the size of the House of Representatives should be reduced from 120 members to 99. The result was an overwhelming 81.5 percent, or 1.7 million New Zealanders, voting in favour of a reduction."

Perhaps, but the question is what will happen now that the Bill has been sent to a select committee for consideration? …

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