Democracy At Risk In Flawed Marriage Equality Process
New Zealand First is dismayed that the Government denied more than 200 people the opportunity to make oral submissions on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.
Social Policy spokesperson Asenati Lole-Taylor says complaints were sent to the Speaker of the House, the Prime Minister and the Chairperson of the Government Administration Committee regarding this issue.
“We agree with those who have raised concerns that the time frame of just six months was inadequate for the committee to consider – not merely receive – more than 20,000 submissions, hear oral submissions and then report back to Parliament.
“In comparison, the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill was introduced a month before the Marriage Amendment Bill, yet the committee report is not due until August 2013.”
Mrs Lole-Taylor wants to know why the submission period for the Marriage Amendment Bill – a contentious proposal – was not as long as some less controversial Bills.
“Today we heard in Parliament that there were 21,533 submissions to the Committee and that the Chairperson acknowledged the public’s disgruntlement over other submissions being denied.
“Excluding citizens from the democratic process has never been the Kiwi way even though it is a favoured practice of the National Government,” says Mrs Lole-Taylor.
New Zealand First believes the Marriage Amendment Bill should go to a binding public referendum.