Urgency for Māori Wards Bill a disgrace

The Government’s tawdry use of urgency for the legislation to make it easier for Councils to establish Māori wards at a local authority level is disgraceful and hypocritical given Labour’s constant admonitions against the use of urgency when in Opposition, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says.

“Labour’s Bill was sent to the Māori Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday evening. Submissions opened yesterday and close this afternoon, allowing less than 48 hours for people to submit on this important, quasi-constitutional change to our local authority elections.

“The Bill will be reported back on Monday 15 February, meaning the Committee has had less than a week to consider the Bill. This is appalling.

“This issue is in no way urgent. Local authority elections are not scheduled until October 2022 and there is more than enough time for the Government to go through a proper select committee process, hear from the public, and consider alternative policy options.

“The use of urgency for passing laws needs to be justified and despite being given ample opportunity Labour hasn’t been able to give a good reason for its use here.

“If Labour was truly open and transparent it would have campaigned on this at the election. But it never appeared in Labour’s manifesto, and it was never mentioned in the campaign.

“This is no way to pass a Bill, it makes a mockery of our democracy.

“The National Party encourages New Zealanders to submit on this proposed law change while they can.”

The deadline for public submissions is 5.00pm, Thursday 11 February. You can make a submission on the Bill HERE.