Space opens up in Parliament lottery

By Amelia Romanos of APNZ

Which of the more-than 53 bills submitted by MPs will be pulled from the ballot today? Photo / Thinkstock
Which of the more-than 53 bills submitted by MPs will be pulled from the ballot today? Photo / Thinkstock

Gay adoption, new give way rules for buses and stricter standards for landlords are among the issues that could be up for discussion in Parliament after a member's bill ballot is held today.

Three spots for new member's bills opened up last night after the Crown Minerals (Protection of Public Conservation Land Listed in the Fourth Schedule) Amendment Bill and the Environment Canterbury (Democracy Restoration) Amendment Bill had their first readings, and the first reading began for the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill. A ballot to select the new bills will be held at noon.

Each MP, other than ministers, may submit one bill to the ballot. Fifty three bills had been submitted by 10pm last night. MPs have until 10am to submit bills.

Among those in the draw is Labour MP Jacinda Ardern's Care of Children Law Reform Bill, which would require the Law Commission to review and update adoption law.

Ms Ardern said she expected a review to fix inconsistencies in the current laws that meant a gay person could adopt but a gay couple could not.

All 14 members of the Green Party have put forward bills, including several that have been in previous ballots.

Gareth Hughes has put forward an Energy Efficiency Conservation (Warm Healthy Rentals) Amendment Bill, which would require landlords to meet certain standards for rental properties, and set penalties for those who did not.

Fellow Green MP Julie Anne Genter has a Land Transport (Give Way To Buses) Bill, which would require drivers to give way to buses pulling out from bus stops.

Other bills include National MP Nicky Wagner's Family Proceedings (Paternity Orders and Parentage Tests) Amendment Bill, which would enable a man who had grounds to believe he was, or was not, the father of a child to make an application for a paternity order.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell's Oaths and Declaration (Upholding the Treaty) Amendment Bill, which would give the option of including the Treaty of Waitangi in sworn oaths.

The ballot is frequently referred to as a lottery, with luck being the determining factor in what legislation goes on to Parliament's business agenda.

The last ballot was held in February, and resulted in Labour MP David Clark's Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill being pulled out.

If passed, Mr Clark's bill would ensure that if future Waitangi Days or Anzac Days fell on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday would be a public holiday.

- APNZ

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