it’s a deal
The biggest bill of the year is set to be passed under urgency this week after a jack-up between Labour and NZ First. Let's be quite clear: The select committee on the Foreshore and Seabed bill did not report back to Parliament and it is likely that all submissions to that select committee had diddly-squat influence on the final shape of the bill - as did the members of the select committee other than Labour and NZ First representatives. That’s because NZ First took over that influential role with the Government.
To be perfectly honest, the result and shape of the bill would be pretty much the same had no select committee process taken place. The difference is that NZ First's Dail Jones learnt a few things and the NZ public got an idea of the huge opposition to the bill and how the Government and NZ First ignored - and even publically criticised - some submitters. The reason this did not go to a referendum is because Helen Clark knew it would be defeated.
NZ First got all the points the party demanded in exchange for its support. The bill is not only about vesting ownership of the foreshore and seabed in the Crown, it is also about political points scoring. The only reason NZ First is supporting the bill is because it has the numbers to pass it and it was able to have its way because it has more MPs than United Future. Helengrad mentioned that on the radio this morning. NZ First is really all about putting NZ First first, not New Zealand first.
Green MP Metiria Turei said the Government was not going to release its amendments to the bill until just before it was debated. The Government is keeping not only the NZ public in the dark, but opposition parties in the dark as well. NZ First and Labour will have the advantage in the debate.
NZ First is going to lose a lot of votes at the next election over this. Await the Foreshore and Seabed Reform Bill during a parliamentary term in the not too distant future.