Political Editor Audrey Young talks about the Easter trading legislation.

Labour was celebrating last night after yet another bill liberalising Easter trading was voted down in a conscience vote at its first reading. It was a close vote, 59 in favour, 62 against and quite a surprising defeat.

I had the sense that National had boosted its ranks last election with mainly young liberals. But their numbers were not enough to push the bill over the line - even to select committee.

National's social conservatives were still strong enough to help the pro-union Left in Labour and the Greens defeat the bill.


The bill sponsored by National 's Rotorua MP Todd McClay would have allowed local bodies in each area to decide whether the shops could open on Easter Sunday.

This is how the votes fell:


the whole caucus of 43 voted against the bill except Rotorua-based Steve Chadwick who knows what her own city wants.


all nine Greens voted against the bill.

National :

all but nine of its 58 MPs voted for the McClay Bill: Against were Shane Ardern (Taranaki-King Country), Chester Borrows (Whanganui), Bill English (Clutha-Southland ), Phil Heatley (Whangarei), Sam Lotu-Iiga (Maungakiekie), Tim Macindoe (Hamilton West), Eric Roy (Invercargill), Katrina Shanks (list), Jonathan Young (New Plymouth). Three of them are first-termers.


Maori Party:

split three to one. Co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, and Te Ururoa Flavell voted in favour; Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene voted against. Hone Harawira did not cast a vote.


all five votes were in favour of the bill.

United Future:

Peter Dunne voted in favour.

Jim Anderton:

voted against.

On past performance, Harawira would almost certainly have voted against the bill so you could consider it a 63 to 59 Parliament. on the matter at this point. It would take three MPs to change their minds to get a different result.

As I said, Labour was celebrating last night. It helped that it was their Christmas Party, too. Many of them thought it was as least going to select committee.

It's a real pity it didn't get there in my view.

Good on Todd McClay for introducing a private member's bill. Too many Government backbenchers don't even bother to put bills in the ballot.

McClay's colleague Amy Adams – one of the real star performers among National's first-termers – had better luck with her private members' bill which seeks to ensure that people who solicit donations for charities must say how much is going to be spent on administration.

Labour MP Chris Hipkins on the

has a list of all the bills in today's private members ballot.

Winnie Laban's bill, the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill, was drawn from the ballot. In her own words: "This bill amends section 7A of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 which provides for family or whänau involvement with members of their family or whänau who are being dealt with under the Act.

"These changes will:

* ensure that where appropriate families and whänau will have significant involvement with family members being dealt with under the Act and be provided with sufficient information to make informed decisions about their family member

* ensure that in all cases families and whänau will be better informed about mental illness in general and therefore better able to give support to their family or whänau member, which in many cases will improve opportunities for recovery.