Tag Archives: Parliamentary scrutiny

Govt Debacle : Lost-luggage bill #universities #conscience

Lost luggage[whatifdunedin]

The sole purpose of National MP Nuk Korako’s bill is to require airports to advertise lost property more widely than in the newspaper.

### NZ Herald Online 9:15 AM Wednesday Aug 17, 2016
Lost-luggage bill has MPs in stitches
By Isaac Davison – political reporter
The National Party backbencher thrust into the spotlight by his bid to help recover lost property at airports has mounted a spirited defence of his widely mocked proposal. […] When it was pulled from the member’s bill ballot last week, Labour said it showed National had “lost the plot”. Today, Labour MPs set about picking it apart in Parliament, tabling a series of questions for the National MP. Korako, in his most high-profile moment since entering Parliament, thanked them for the opportunity to “profile his bill”.
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Students’ changing preferences have forced a difficult task on the University of Otago.

ODT Online Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Jobs must be cut now to secure division’s future
By Prof Tony Ballantyne
OPINION The proposed changes in staffing in the Humanities Division at the University of Otago have been subject to sustained media comment and critical commentary. […] The reason for the proposed changes is quite simple: there has unfortunately been a sustained decline in student numbers over the past seven years. Because of this, there is a growing gap between the division’s cost and income and it now depends on subsidies of many millions of dollars each year from other parts of the university.
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The place of humanities in a university raises issues that extend far beyond one department.

ODT Online Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Universities succeed when they produce thoughtful leaders, not technocrats
By Emeritus Prof Gareth Jones
OPINION […] We need lawyers who understand biomedical science or elements of commerce; we need doctors who have an appreciation of the medical humanities, let alone of English literature or Maori worldviews. The examples are endless but each one in its own way points away from any silo mentality and towards the notion that universities should be producing well-rounded, thoughtful and well-educated graduates.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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New Zealand: Salmond on democracy

Dame Anne Salmond [tepapa.govt.nz] 2

Dame Anne Salmond says it is imperative that New Zealanders stand up for democratic freedoms … A quiet, obedient, and docile population; a culture of passivity and apathy; a meek acceptance of what politicians say and do – these things are not consistent with democracy.

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Sat, 13 Jul 2013
Dame Anne Salmond: A warning to New Zealanders keep hold of democracy
By Dame Anne Salmond
In 2007, John Key, then Leader of the Opposition, gave a powerful speech to the New Zealand Press Club against the Electoral Finance Bill. He declared: “Here in New Zealand we often take our democratic freedoms for granted. We think they will always be there. We have a Bill of Rights which is supposed to protect our right to freedom of expression. What on earth could go wrong?”
I have a different view. I believe what Thomas Jefferson said – that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There are times when we have to stand up for our rights, and the rights of our neighbours and friends, and indeed the rights of people we totally disagree with, or else these rights will begin to erode away.
I agree with these sentiments, absolutely. New Zealanders must stand up for their democratic rights when they are threatened, or they’ll lose them.
Who could have imagined that in 2013, this same political leader would be presiding over an assault upon the democratic rights of New Zealanders? This is a matter of such gravity that last month, the Law Society felt impelled to report to the United Nations that in New Zealand “a number of recent legislative measures are fundamentally in conflict with the rule of law”.

When a body as authoritative and dispassionate as the Law Society feels forced to report to the United Nations that the Government in New Zealand is acting in conflict with the rule of law, all New Zealanders should be very worried.

Extraordinary though it may seem, this statement is no more than the truth. In its report to the United Nations, the Law Society lists a series of recent acts that have allowed the Executive to use regulation to override Parliament, that deny citizens the right to legal representation and cancel their right to appeal to the courts to uphold their rights under the law.
The Law Society also draws attention to the use of Supplementary Order Papers and urgency to avoid proper Parliamentary scrutiny of legislation. They express their concern that a number of bills formally declared by the Attorney-General to be in breach of the Bill of Rights have recently been enacted.
This report does not mention other key defects in the law-making process in New Zealand at present. These include the willingness of a minority government to pass laws that impinge on the rights and wellbeing of New Zealanders at the request of foreign corporations – Warner Brothers, for instance, or SkyCity and various oil companies. None of these deals, which amount to “legislation for sale”, can claim a democratic mandate.
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● Anthropologist and author Dame Anne Salmond is the current New Zealander of the Year.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: tepapa.govt.nz – Dame Anne Salmond

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