Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Honest conversation about higher standards of law making


Parliament has today had a constructive and sensible debate about David Seymour’s Regulatory Standards Member’s Bill.

“My Member’s Bill was drawn from the Ballot in April and is due to be debated in Parliament shortly. Ahead of that, Members of Parliament today had an opportunity to question me about the Bill and I’d like to thank them for well thought out and considered questions,” says Mr Seymour.

“The Regulatory Standards Bill is a long overdue addition to New Zealand’s constitutional framework.

“The first attempt to pass a similar bill was the introduction of the Regulatory Responsibility Bill in 2006. The Regulatory Standards Bill was first introduced and debated in 2011.

“These bills, and other regulatory reform initiatives, have failed for the simple reason that those in both traditional parties do not wish to be restrained when they win power. Given that politicians have a conflict of interest setting their own standards, the Regulatory Standards Bill requires confirmation by the people of New Zealand at referendum.

“The Regulatory Standards Bill would not stop the elected Parliament or the government of the day making laws and regulations, but it will shine sunlight on their activities. It would allow any citizen to get a declaration that a law or regulation is inconsistent with good law making.

“At present, there is no penalty for poor law making, and New Zealanders pay an enormous price as a result.

“We need to recognise that New Zealand has among the most anaemic constitutional protections in the world. Governments of all stripes can and do make rushed and poorly thought out laws that are divisive and chilling. Poor law making impoverishes New Zealanders in the long term.

“The questions from Member’s today were excellent. I hope my colleagues from across Parliament having heard the answers will vote in support of my Bill when it reaches first reading.”