I blogged on Thursday about how Labour tried to pass a law which would exempt just one company from their law to ban foreign house buyers.
Now regardless of motivation, this is an extraordinary thing to do. You don’t pass laws that say it is a crime to assault someone except for Fred Jones or that you need to pay GST except if your company is Fred Jones Ltd.
This is why the Speaker properly ruled the amendment out or order. But who made the decision to try and favour just one company, and why?
Well what is interesting is the company involved, didn’t ask to be exempted from the law. They (Te Arai) appears to have acted very properly with their formal submission. Nowhere do they say “Hey we want a special law that looks after us, and no one else”. Their submission recommended stuff such as exempting rural land of less than five hectares.
So this raises the fascinating question of who decided to give this company a special exemption. The Office of the Clerk told the select committee what they were seeking to do was improper, but the Government MPs had been told the Government wanted this exemption, so they stuck it in.
Now who in Government decided this. Well the Herald reports:
Parker said the Government wouldn’t try to put the exemption back into the bill via another route, but he confirmed it was his own office that put the exemption in.
“That was my office’s decision.
His office’s decision???
I’ve worked in a (prime) ministerial office. I have never known an office to have decision making authority.
So when Parker says it was a decision of his office, what does he mean? Did the receptionist decide? Was it the press secretary? Or did they have a staff meeting and vote to give a legislative waiver to this one company?
Or is this weasel words by Parker to distance himself? Surely he was the sole decision maker who decided to tell the select committee to ignore the official advise and try to legislate an exemption for this one company.
“We saw this and it was described in the papers as an iwi development. I’ve never met them, there was some sympathy for the position, within Government, that they were in so we proposed that exemption that’s been ruled out of order so we’re not pursuing it.”
Who is the “we”. Is this his office? Is this other Ministers? And if the decision maker wasn’t solely Parker, did he disclose his previous relationship with developer John Darby?