And they can scrap away, because (it's worth noting) the Representation Commission is a statutory body and political parties have no more standing than anyone else.
Other than guaranteed representation for the government and opposition due to s28(2)(e) of the Electoral Act
I can't see Queen Elizabeth getting her head chopped off (or the GG for that matter). The worst that might happen is that Key might resign and call a snap election, assuming he was willing to push his luck.
Constitutional Guillotine. Which means a law removing any purported right of the head of state's stooge to refuse to assent to legislation (and/or replacing such head of stage and stooge with a president, but that's strictly speaking unnecessary).
A normal formulation is to say that laws are passed when signed by the HoS, or after X days. IIRC, we used exactly this sort of provision when designing the constitutions of Niue and the Cook Islands when they became independent of us.
There is something lurking deep at the seat of all this evil.
Nothing we don't already know about: a deep-seated belief that its not the state's job to make sure that everyone gets a fair go.
As I understand it the GG is actually appointed by the queen, albeit on the PM's advice. So Key would not be able to replace him if HM refused to play ball.
They're also sacked by the queen on the PM's advice. For the monarch to refuse to act on such advice would be unthinkable, and time to roll out the constitutional guillotine.
I have lived outside NZ for a long time now so it's very possible that I've lost touch with these things, but isn't $65 million a very small amount as far as budgets go? Among the various billions listed in national budgets, roughly $40 million in savings seems like such a small amount for the government to be making such a high-risk move as suspending the normal law-making processes.
Its not trifling, but its not exactly large either.
Conceptually, I rank government policy costs like this:
$1 million: pocket change
$10 million: piddly
$100 million: your basic, bog-standard policy
$500 million: big
$1 billion: Huge (Kiwisaver, etc)
Also, when governments plead "poverty", what they are almost always saying is "we don't give a shit". Its not really about unaffordability; it is about priorities : about whether to trim some other policy, or just spend some more money (whether by raising taxes, borrowing, or when you have a Labour government, running a slightly smaller surplus). In the case of so many policies national is rejecting ATM - food in schools, extended paid parental leave, or non-discriminatory home-care for the disabled - the costs are not unaffordable. Its just that these things rank behind irrigation subsidies to farmers and low taxes on the rich in National's queue. They are therefore deeply illustrative of the difference between National's elite values, and those of the vast majority of New Zealanders.
That's not that odd. We're not a party to the optional protocols allowing complaints to UN bodies about a bunch of the international treaties to which we are party.
Its odd in that it sits badly with our supposed support for human rights and international law.
Clare Curran usually hyperventilates a bit much for my liking, but her Pundit column on Geddis, the Crown Minerals Act and various other elisions of democracy is worth reading
That would be Claire Browning.
Not even the Ombudsman can do anything? If worst comes to worst, what possibility of going to the UN Human Rights Council or the World Court?
The Ombudsman is not a court or tribunal, and so still has jurisdiction. They might very well find that a family care policy was improperly discriminatory or simply wrong - but at best they can issue a recommendation. It is unthinkable for government to refuse to obey such recommendations, but so is ousting the jurisdiction of the HRC and courts...
As for the UN, they're the ultimate fallback. We're oddly not a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which allows international complaints), but the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR could be used instead. However, international complaints require the exhaustion of all domestic remedies first, and they're quite strict about this, so a case would have to be brought and kicked back by the Supreme Court first. Even then, if a complaint succeeds, the decision is not binding on the government. Its embarassing, but that's not an effective remedy.
Does anyone know why the redacted parts couldn't be got by an OIA request?
You can try, but they will likely withhold it as legal advice. That withholding ground is one of the stronger ones, and it would take an exceptionally strong public interest, or an implicit waiver of advice by Ministers discussing its contents (difficult if they don't give speeches on the bill) to winkle it out of them.
Bonus points: Actually, the Governor-General is the other check in the system.
The GG is not a check, and nor are they meant to be - they are a rubberstamp. The idea of an unelected representative of a foreign power acting against the advice of the elected government and purporting to veto our legislation is at least as troublesome as what Parliament has done here.