When a government uses a very rare power of veto over a private members bill in parliament, and when there may be some support for it, one has to wonder where we are headed. We have a proud tradition of democracy in New Zealand and in the past, many private members’ bills have been passed into law. They are drawn through a balloting system and they may take several years to get a chance for discussion.
In this case, a Labour Party initiative to increase the term for parental leave after a child is born should have had a chance to be debated. Other smaller parties have indicated that they will support the bill, possibly even the coalition partners. The Governments response? ----- They will use their power of veto to kill the progress this may have made. They say that NZ cannot afford to pass such legislation because the time is wrong. When will it be right?
We all know that there is a limited amount in the ‘kitty’ for spending initiatives and that governments need to prioritize their spending. They also need to listen to the electorate and when there is a possibility that such a move re paid parental leave has wide currency, then the least they should do is to allow debate. If after that process and the support is not enough then fine--- Parliament has spoken, but to squash the right to have a public debate is reprehensible.
Is this going to be the pattern for the remaining two and a half years for this Government? What they are proposing is arrogant and undemocratic. I hope that the public shows its indignation and forces a change of heart. If not--- then be prepared for similar responses in the future. Where that leads---?