Audrey Young writes:
But largely, in terms of parliamentary opposition, it is down to a triumph of process by the minister in charge of the GCSB and Security Intelligence Service, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.
After the 2013 experience, it became clear that the Prime Minister needed to delegate legislative detail to someone else and future reforms needed to be collaborative.
Finlayson was born to the role.
The tributes flowing from other parties to him in Thursday’s first reading debate were incredible. He has clearly given parties a sense not just that they have been consulted but that their opinions matter.
He has deliberately left undecided the most important definition in the bill, “national security”, for the select committee to debate.
And he is sending it to a select committee of Parliament, not the statutory intelligence committee chaired by Key that heard submissions on the 2013 changes.
This is quite significant that it has gone to the Foreign Affairs and Defence committee rather than the Intelligence Committee which is National and Labour only. A sign of good faith. The FADT Committee also has Greens and NZ First on it.
Finlayson’s meticulous preparation for the bill goes well beyond the respectful treatment of other parties.
Seven Cabinet papers have been released, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has issued myriad fact sheets on the proposed changes.
In 2013, it was near impossible to get an official answer to my many questions about what various parts of the bill meant; this time there is information overload.
Which is good.