Meanwhile McQuillan traps the unwary w/ her latest tweet. Be warned.
Only a fool argues data with @keith_ng
Only a fool (like me) argues any area of law with @GraemeEdgeler
The casual reader of this post might infer three things: that MPs arrive at Parliament bringing no life experience with them (which is of course nonsensical); that in 2012 MPs generally do not get involved in work or other experiences while in Parliament; and that while in Wellington they are out of touch with their electorates.
MPs have been engaging outside Parliament for many years. Some things are short-term, less than a day. The Road Transport Association regularly teams up MPs with big-rig drivers for a day, so the MPs can appreciate issues of concern. I've seen MPs getting around their home towns in a wheelchair for a morning, so they can understand accessibility needs.
The Business and Parliament Trust every year places MPs in Business Study programmes - click a link for some recent examples.
And today, MPs are constantly in touch with their constituents. 30 years ago, communication was limited to mail and telegram. Now, with email, internet, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc, it seems that the challenge for any MP is to get time to themself. I'm surprised at the strange hours of the night that some MPs are posting / tweeting.
Certainly it is important they stay in touch. As new MPs learn every three years, Lambton Quay is not typical of New Zealand.
Problems like this one have been fixed at a National level
I don't know that I'd agree with that in practice. The Electoral Commission has published the candidates' returns from the 2011 election.
I took a sample, the first 10 National candidates, electorates Auckland Central to East Coast. They declared just over $158,000. Of that, nearly a quarter, or $37,723, was raffle proceeds declared by Bill English. (Maybe he could get those little old ladies to run raffles for Treasury and get NZ back into surplus.)
$68,976 was declared from the National Party, and a further $23,208 [edit originally and wrongly put figure as $28,188] as 'contributions' via named persons. This appears to be a lawful way of aggregating. For five of the 10 candidates, the only money they declared was from National - and those five include two Ministers and two MPs.
Only $28,188 was declared from named sources. And I am including in that $5000 from the Road Transport Forum which was declared to be 'contributions' and $6000 from 'Hauraki Chambers' to Scott Simpson. I'm assuming they are local lawyers.
But effectively anonymous money is more than triple the identified money in this sample.
The anonymous donations issue in general elections has been fixed. Looking at the returns just published, anonymous money over $1,500 has to be paid to the Electoral Commission. Haven't yet found one example yet where that has happened.
I am wondering why Corrections has not applied for an extended supervision order for Stuart Murray Wilson. He would seem to be a prime candidate. It would allow for conditions to be imposed for up to 10 years as appropriate, all the way up to and including 24/7 monitoring - meaning people with him, as opposed to surveillance.
ESOs do come with quite strong judicial safeguards - which may or may not be included with anything Collins pushes through under urgency..
it's very difficult to make them do anything
Sometimes it can work, if approached positively and with an understanding of where the right places/people to start with. Going at it like a bull at a gate is almost always a recipe for failure.
Technically, the appropriations were made in the 2011/12 Budget back in May last year, including Vote: Parliamentary Service and Vote: Office of the Clerk. The Votes are broken down into various sub-categories. As and when need arises through the financial year, the Government can and does approve additional monies which are in turn approved by Parliament as Supplementary Estimates.
Yes, it is important that public money is spent for the purposes for which Parliament appropriated it. But as #eqnz and #rena showed us, the system has the ability to cope with the new and unexpected.
Ask yourself this: if Mojo had been a National MP, would Lockwood have made sure that officials found a way to work through the issues and come up with a solution before the first sitting day of 2012? Of course.
Then there's the fourth dimension: news-os (yes, Fairfax's West Island subbies strike again.) As I was saying, newsos report on square acres / square hectares. Um, it's already a measure of area. Don't need to square it.