Opinion: It’s been an extraordinary week in parliament where never before have we seen such compelling evidence that this Government is making things up as it goes.
Train-spotters will have noticed two Covid 19 response bills were introduced to the House and rammed through all stages, under urgency.
The process for passing law usually takes months. Under urgency though, the Government can just collapse debate, and pass new law within a day.
This week, that happened in order to give effect to the new traffic light system, and to provide legality for vaccine passes.
Yet, ask any business owner on the street what either of those mean for them and I’ll guarantee you won’t get the same answer twice.
It’s a shambles.
Throughout the pandemic, the National Party has played its part as Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition – suggesting alternative solutions to MIQ, questioning the lock down regime, supporting the wage subsidy, pushing for business rental support, supporting the vaccine roll-out, and advocating for new technologies like rapid antigen testing.
But in this past year, especially, the Government has become increasingly haphazard in its response, and increasingly arrogant.
On Monday night, parties across parliament were given a draft copy of these bills a little over 24 hours before being introduced – but including next to no detail about what on earth this traffic light system actually means, or what rights employees and employers have over mandating vaccinations.
It turns out the assessment tool for businesses to use in deciding whether to impose vaccine mandates will only be available once regulations are made in mid-December.
The so-called traffic light framework was due to start when every DHB hit 90 per cent double vaccinated.
That target no longer exists.
Instead, the country was told 10 days ago that everyone would learn on the 29th when the Framework would begin.
Then, a week later, the date was announced as December 3. Shambles.
A sensible government would have signalled this framework well in advance and started the work on it months ago. Instead we have a government in panic mode; largely making it up as they go and where the “plan” changes from week to week.
On such a critical piece of legislation that is fundamental to New Zealand ever opening up and internal borders coming down, the Government has waited until the second to last sitting block of the year to pass it and for New Zealanders not to be able to have any say in the process.
If any Bill needed to go to a select committee it is one like this, where the details matter hugely and where broad public discussion is needed.
Labour, though, has taken that chance away.
– National’s Nicola Grigg grew up in Mt Somers and is currently the Selwyn MP.
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