Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

National MP defends trivial law change

National MP Nuk Korako, who wants airports to advertise lost property online.
National MP Nuk Korako, who wants airports to advertise lost property online.

The National Party backbencher thrust into the spotlight by his bid to help recover lost property at airports has mounted a spirited defence of his widely mocked proposal.

The sole purpose of National MP Nuk Korako's bill is to require airports to advertise lost property more widely than in the newspaper.

When it was pulled from the member's bill ballot last week, Labour said it showed National had "lost the plot". Yesterday Labour MPs set about picking it apart, tabling questions for the National MP.

Korako, in his most high-profile moment since entering Parliament, thanked them for the opportunity to "profile his bill". Having come from a tourism background, he said, he knew how great the inconvenience was when luggage was lost.

Labour shot back. "Isn't this the kind of carry-on that discredits this Parliament?" the party's whip Chris Hipkins asked.

Not at all, was the reply. After all, Korako pointed out, Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove regularly lost his luggage.

As National MPs around him struggled to contain their laughter, Korako reached for a Maori proverb to defend his bill.

"There is a saying: 'He iti, he pounamu' - 'It is very small, but it is quality'."

Labour pressed on. However, caught up in the heat of the moment, Hipkins forgot what his question was.

Wanting to bring the circus to a close, Speaker David Carter stepped in, asking the question for him instead.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee eventually came to the rescue, proposing that Korako's bill could be passed into law there and then without debate.

But the Opposition MP were clearly having too much fun. Just one objection could prevent Brownlee's proposal from progressing, and it was provided by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Peters then walked straight out of the debating chamber, possibly to avoid explaining why he had just ensured that Parliament will now have four debates and a full public consultation process on the weighty subject of lost property at airports.

- NZ Herald

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