16 October 2006

Validating legislation: emails to United Future and NZ First

Below is a copy of my email to Peter Dunne and Winston Peters:
Kia ora Minister I am very disappointed to hear reports that United Future will be supporting the government’s proposal to passing validating legislation for election spending under urgency tomorrow. I ask that you reconsider your party’s support for urgency. I share your concerns about the Auditor-General’s report and the way it effectively re-writes the rules after the spending took place (see my comments on: http://www.laws179.blogspot.com/). My view is that the parties have a credible basis for arguing that their understand of the rules should be preserved and should not be required to repay the money. However, passing this type of legislation under urgency is unnecessary and anti-democratic. We do not have draft legislation or copies of the advice on which it is based. Or time to assess the legitimacy of the legislation. There is no need to circumvent the usual democratic checks and balance. If the rationale for the legislation is robust, it will survive scrutiny anyway. I am particularly concerned that expediting this type of legislation will undermine the citizens’ trust in Parliament. I ask that you reconsider. Regards


Anonymous said...

Touching :)

But you can see the political imperative Labour is operating under here.

So long as they repay there is little public interest in the laws passed to ensure that no further disputes can arise over previous spending or future spending. This will allow Parliament to recast the rules in a less partisan atmosphere next year where immediate partisan advantages will be tempered with mutual self interest.

Graeme Edgeler said...

You can't be too hard on them - the option is between supporting the legislation and holding a new election...

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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