DPF has a post on urgency, which balances some of the more hysterical comments from certain left wing blogs.
The problem of lack of time to pass Bills is not one that has just affected this government. That is why Labour is being totally hypocritical over the use of urgency. Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins in particular know better given they were advisors to the last government. Dr Cullen regularly put the House into urgency between 1999 and 2008 and a helpful reader has done the numbers for me.
In the 1999-2002 Parliament, Labour took urgency 22 times and extraordinary urgency twice. 23 bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency. Indeed in Labour’s first year in office, they took urgency ten times.
In the 2002-2005 Parliament, Labour took urgency nineteen times and a massive 78 Bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency!
In the 2005-2008 Parliament, Labour took urgency ten times and 48 bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency.
Urgency was often moved in October, November, and December of each year under Labour, as the end of the year approached. That’s what this government appears to be doing as well. It’s nothing to do with poor House management – it’s simply extending sitting hours in the traditional pre-Xmas period.
The main problem appears to be that member’s day is being lost. But as I’ve said before, any member’s bills that don’t have the support of either National or every party other than National is a waste of time.
Given the few matters on which the Maori party, Act, The Greens, and Labour agree on, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there’s not so much of a loss there as might first appear. As they say in the USA, elections have consequences.
But still, it would be nice if National did give the other lot a chance to have their bills rejected more often.