this from http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0703/S00479.htm
Friday, 23 March 2007, 10:59 am - New Zealand National Party - www.waynemapp.co.nz
Shutting down debate is a tactic adopted by those who fear the public.
That is exactly the position the Labour Government is taking in relation
to Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill.
Next week the government wants to rush the Bill through all stages in a
single debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Sue Bradford said there had
been enough debate, and it should now be passed. To shove a member's
bill through under urgency is unheard of, especially when it is
allegedly a conscience vote - but of course in the Labour Party that
means Helen Clark's conscience.
Parliamentary procedure provides for separate debate on each stage of a
Bill for good reason. It is to allow Members of Parliament to reflect,
and for the public to make their views known before the next stage is
debated. So there have been occasions when a Bill has passed the
Committee stage, but gets defeated on the Third Reading. That is because
the two or three weeks between the two stages allows an opportunity to
The only reason to terminate Parliamentary procedure is to avoid
accountability. Labour knows that many of their MP's don't want the
Bill. They know a three-week recess when the public can talk to the MP's
will mean that many of them will rebel.
The urgency tactic is designed to stifle democracy. But ultimately it is
an admission of weakness and fear. Labour may think it can avoid
accountability now, but the voters will have their say in 18 months
time, and that is a date Labour can't avoid!