The pre-ballot

Chris Hipkins blogs:

 Today at midday there’ll be a ballot for members’ bills, with two places available on the Order Paper. A preliminary ballot will be held to determine which of the following bills will be entered in the main ballot:

20. Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill – Hone Harawira
22. Education (Food in Schools) Amendment Bill – David Shearer

In my view, the Clerk’s decision to conduct a preliminary ballot to determine which of these two bills, which have similar aims, goes into the ballot is the wrong one. While the goals of the two bills are similar, the means of achieving them a very different. The test needs to be whether the bills are substantially the same in their ‘content’, not whether they are the same in the outcome they seek to achieve.

For example, if two bills were put up around the transportation of goods from Wellington to Auckland, and one sought to do so via rail and one via road, if we used ‘outcome’ as the criteria for determining whether they were the same, only one bill would go in the ballot, yet clearly the bills are very different in their content. We’ll be relitigating this for sure, but for today at least, only one of these bills will make it into the ballot.

You can see the full list of bills in today’s ballot after the break. I’ll post the results just after midday.

Update: Hone Harawira’s Bill made it into the ballot and the following were drawn:

Conservation Natural Heritage Protection Bill – Jacqui Dean
Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill – Charles Chauvel

Heh, no wonder Labour are annoyed. Imagine if Hone got his bill drawn on what they are trying to make their signature issue.

I wanted to look at both bills, to see if I agree with Hipkins that the bill are different enough to let them both go through. My gut reaction is you trust the Office of the Clerk who have no political motives, but they are not infallible.

But Shearer’s bill is not on the parliamentary website. I don’t know why. Maybe it was only finished this morning. Hone’s bill is here. Hopefully Shearer’s bill will go online at some stage, so we can judge for ourselves.

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