Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogs that he believes the Government’s amendments to the Crown Minerals Bills to make it an offence to interfere in drilling operations at sea should be vetted against the Bill of Rights Act.
I support the amendments, and believe that the right to protest doesn’t extend to actually interference in a company going about its legal business.
At present Standing Orders requires the Attorney-General to report to Parliament if a bill ins introduced that may not be in compliance with the Bill of Rights Act. That opinion is advisory, but can be influential. The AG did a video on this process which I blogged a while back. SO 262(1) states:
Whenever a bill contains any provision which appears to the Attorney-General to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the Attorney-General must indicate to the House what that provision is and how it appears to be inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
But this only occurs upon introduction in SO 262(2):
An indication by the Attorney-General to the House concerning the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is made by the presentation of a paper in the case of a Government bill, on the introduction of that bill, or in any other case, as soon as practicable after the introduction of the bill.
The solution here is to amend SO 262(2) so that there is an obligation to report on any inconsistent provisions prior to each reading of a bill. Possible wording would be:
An indication by the Attorney-General to the House concerning the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is made by the presentation of a paper at least 48 hours prior to each reading of a bill.
The first reading captures the bill as introduced. The second reading captures any amendments made by select committee and the third reading captures any changes made by the Committee of the whole House.
Standing Orders get reviewed towards the end of each term of Parliament. Hopefully one or more parties will support such a change.Tags: Bill of Rights Act, No Right Turn