Alternate Wednesdays at Parliament are set aside for debating legislation that isn't on the Government’s agenda. Mostly members' bills - those suggested by an MP that isn’t a Minister.
The life of a member’s bill is occasionally writ large (say, gay marriage, End of Life Choice, or Homosexual Law Reform), but most of their lives are brutish and short.
Members' bills can languish for years at the bottom of the deep pile in the vain hope they will be picked in the biscuit tin ballot. Those plucked from obscurity usually flame but briefly before being promptly extinguished again after a few short speeches. It’s brutal.
But not this week.
This week four different members' bills had a brief turn in the gladiatorial spotlight and every single one of them survived to fight again.
“There are two main things. The first is to create a new offence of injuring a first responder or a prison officer with intent, which has a mandatory minimum sentence of six months' imprisonment, and also to include emergency, health, and fire service staff in the offence of assault on police, prison, or traffic officers, currently provided for in the Summary Offences Act.”
The three latter bills (which had first readings) will now go to various select committees which will call for public submissions shortly.
And because three of those bills were having first outings, three more bills got to be plucked from the famed biscuit tin of destiny to take their place.
The bills chosen were from National MPs David Carter, and Judith Collins and from Labour’s Louisa Wall (who has a lucky touch in getting bills through the ballot).
David Carter’s Bill would get rid of the waka jumping law which seeks to prevent MPs from changing party. Louisa Wall’s Bill would create a specific offence to upload revenge porn, and Judith Collins’ Bill would strengthen the law around the body corporate management of Unit Title property.
There are still two member’s days left before the election (with an extra morning session having been added to make up for Covid's lost time) but it is unlikely these bills will get a moment in the sun before the next Parliament.