ACT New Zealand Tertiary Education Spokesman Hon Heather Roy today condemned the Labour Party's filibustering of her Education (Freedom Of Association) Amendment Bill, saying it denies backbench MPs the right to have their issues debated and is costing taxpayers over $453,000 – the same cost as a Hone Harawira Te Tai Tokerau by-election – every hour that Parliament sits.
“My Bill, known by most as the VSM Bill, reached the Committee stage of the whole House on 8 December last year. Since that time Labour MPs have wasted Parliament’s time, and taxpayers’ money, by engaging delaying tactics such as proposing spurious amendments to non-controversial Bills,” Mrs Roy said.
“Hone Harawira has been rightly condemned for costing the taxpayer half a million dollars by forcing the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, yet Labour’s filibustering is costing taxpayers the equivalent of one such by-election every hour.
“Delaying my Private Member’s Bill also denies backbench MPs on both sides of the House the chance to have their Bills debated. Member’s Bills are the only mechanism backbench MPs have to raise issues they feel strongly about.
“I'm not opposed to any party delaying a Bill they strongly disagree with but Labour MPs are delaying Bills they already support. If Labour continue to debate each of the Royal Society Bill’s 23 clauses – which they openly support – in their entirety this could take 23 hours of the House’s time and cost taxpayers over $10 million. It is this sort of churlish behaviour that demeans our nation’s Parliament.
“Labour should realise that the writing is on the wall, the VSM Bill has the numbers to pass, it has been debated at length for over 18 months and by delaying it they only make themselves more irrelevant to the voters they claim to represent,” Mrs Roy said.