The Week In Parliament for 21 August 2016
Government makes a hash of what should have been a good week in the House with the Budget over its final hurdle, earlier than expected ratification of the Paris Agreement on gas emissions and the introduction of its major revamp of spy agency legislation. But failure to respond to the drinking water contamination in Havelock North left the government vulnerable in an urgent debate and an urgent question, both the work of Labour's deputy leader and Health spokeswoman, Annette King. Labour MPs also used questions to members to expose the Government's stacking of the members' bills ballot to reduce chances for MPs from other parties of having their bills drawn. Speaker upholds Opposition MPs' complaints about the prime minister's handling of a correction to an answer he gave to a question from Winston Peters. Health Committee receives a petition regarding the melanoma treatment drug Keytruda, and hears that while the Government has since decided to fund the drug, there are still concerns about Pharmac's model for approving the funding of such medicines; The committee also hears submissions on a notice of motion regarding the reclassification of the psychoactive drug N-bomb, including from Ministry of Health officials as well as the New Zealand Drug Foundation - who's executive director Ross Bell points to problems with the proposed changes; Local Government & Environment Committee receives submissions on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill and hears concerns from Hutt City Council Mayor Ray Wallace and Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman Chris Laidlaw about powers granted to the Local Government Commission and changes to provisions around council controlled organisations.