From little things, big things grow…

There was a recurring riff behind National’s opposition to two very different Bills on Members’ Day Wednesday. One commonality was that both Bills were voted down by National, Act and United Future, and supported by Greens, Labour, Progressives and Maori Parties.

But the riff I want to highlight is the idea that the problem is so big, and the proposed solution is so small, that it’s better to do nothing than take a step towards the solution. Funnily enough Members’ Bills can only ever be partial solutions due to the constraints of standing orders.

Jeanette Fitzsimons’ Resource Management (Climate Protection) Bill sought to return to the RMA “the consideration of climate change in the granting of air discharge consents and the formulation of regional plans”. The Greens argue that climate change requires responses at all levels – individual, community, council, government and international – and having climate change emissions ignored by the RMA makes for planning and decision that make emissions worse. For example, the commissioners on the Rodney gas station were unable to consider the emissions from that plant as having any impact on the environment. Despite this, one of the arguments used by National’s Nicky Wagner in the debate [not online yet] was that climate change is far too big an issue to leave it to the RMA or Councils to deal with. Well, obviously, but is that a reason not to allow the RMA and Councils to play their part?

Also up for Second Reading was former MP Matt Robson’s Liquor Advertising Bill that would have restricted liquor advertising on television to between 10pm and midnight (currently 8:30pm to midnight). The Bill’s new sponsor, Brendan Burns, acknowledged that the Bill was not the whole answer to the problem, but that: “It confronts what can be done immediately to reduce the harm of alcohol advertising.” Yet, despite National MPs accepting that excessive drinking by young people is a serious problem, National’s Nikki Kaye tried to argued that:  “We need to consider the whole problem” as a reason to oppose this step. Despite it being a conscience vote, all National MPs voted nay.

All I can say is that we’d be well advised to apply the motto from Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody: “From little things, big things grow…”

7 Comments Posted

  1. “Members’ Bills can only ever be partial solutions due to the constraints of standing orders.”

    Could you elaborate? I’m obviously not as familiar with standing orders as you are.

    This strikes me as fundamentally undemocratic. Parliament is our house of representatives, and decisions are made by a majority – members should be free to put up legislation, have it decided upon by the majority and then voted up or down. Clearly the idea that 20 individuals making decisions in secret in cabinet should rule the nation is still prevalent.

  2. I think that a real government would have the integrity to give the lobbey groups (BRT etc.) the heave ho and consider the above bills RMA climate protection bill, the bio fuels bill, the fishing and forrestry bills and the liquor advertising bill on their merrits.

    Surely it is not rocket science to see that the above mentioned bills intent is to save this planet.

    Is it sensible to have billions of tons of edible corn turned into ethanol?
    While millions starve.

    Is it wise to have alcohol advertising on TV in front of children?
    After all cigarette advertising is banned altogether and good my father died from pipe tobacco.

    I hope Mr. Key and co forget about partisan politics and consider what is good for the environment.

  3. Big Bro – Richard Worth, prime Tory material, born to rule and ruin, a pinko ?
    Shame about Katherine Rich though, there was hope there, til her light got snuffed out by the Worthy Tory Old Boys.

  4. The National party are wimps when it comes to climate change.

    A real government would give the middle finger to those who insist on pushing the climate change con, a real government would be brave enough to admit that the emperor is indeed naked.

    We have to get rid of weak, spineless pinko’s inside National, Katherine Rich and Richard Worth have gone, Nick Smith and John Key are next.

  5. It seems that the National Party is frozen to do anything about the real issues of Climate change as their backers would be upset and thus they do nothing.

    If over 70% polled think we are not doing enough about climate/atmospheric issues then they have no option than to vote Green eventually. I hope for my Grandkids sake that they wake up in the next election. The 10% who don’t agree unfortunately are heavily represented by haves who don’t have to deal with the real world. My farming background and personal experiences tell me we need a far more responsible public service to keep better track of the pressure points in the water and air waste processes.

    I guess in a down turn that all this will aggravate, it will take real Green political will to keep looking and finding just solutions, just as the banks need to take a smaller cut of the pie to allow others to keep their heads above water – interest rates.

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