Parliament has passed the wide-ranging Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act. This allows the government to override a number of laws as it desires, without public or parliamentary oversight. It will stay in force until April 2012.
Reaction to the constitutional overreach in the Bill has been strong:
- Lew at Kiwipolitico says it's an attack on liberal democracy.
- Graeme Edgeler at Public Address asks why a quake reconstruction bill gives, for example, the government the power to declare that murder should no longer be a crime in Auckland?
- Andrew Geddis at Pundit provides some useful explanation of a bill he describes as draconian, then goes on to explore the roots of it in the Epidemic Preparedness Act.
- Dean Knight, law lecturer at Victoria University, says that "Any government and legislative response must be proportionate to the mischief. This is not." He also gives possible examples of how these powers could be misused.
- Blogger No Right Turn claims we are now living under the rule of the tyrant Gerry Brownlee.
- Marty G at The Standard writes about absolute power.
- Gordon Campbell also uses the d-words - dictatorial and draconian.
- Rob Hosking in NBR says that our MPs have failed us, compares the law to those around the 1951 waterfront strike.
- The NZ Herald describes it as worrying.
And in defence: