This article is about the tale of two parties, one bill and a stunning piece of hypocrisy.
The purpose of the Bill of Parliament was to combat youth crime by establishing a training camp programme inside the Defence Force by amending the Defence Act, 1990, and the Education Act, 1989. It would also enable participants who graduate from it to enter the Defence Force.
It was the brain child of a New Zealand First List Member of Parliament, former soldier and teacher Darroch Ball. Mr Ball’s anger in Parliament when the Bill he had sponsored was defeated was as understandable as it was palpable. Here was a Bill of Parliament that had been worked out, costed and drawn from the ballot. It might not have been what New Zealanders wanted, but all credit had to go to Mr Ball, who is ex-military himself and was a teacher prior to joining New Zealand First and going to Parliament, for at least making an honest effort to address a serious and growing problem.
His anger was understandable because when listening to the National M.P.’s speaking against it, it became obvious that not only had none of them bothered to read the Bill, they also had not a clue what they were talking about. It was palpable because a party that did not want to admit it had been upstaged, was sabotaging the chance for some good to become of it.
As for the cause of the Bill…
I am talking about a problem that I have blogged about several times over the last several months, about which there has been a surge of across the nation. I am talking about a problem that has become increasingly violent with the use of guns and knives – a situation where I am concerned, and I am sure Mr Ball is too, that will sooner or later cost a life.
And so we might say that the claim by New Zealand First that other parties steal their ideas has truth in it – and not for the first time either. Both National and Labour are guilty as charged of doing it. I recall how a N.Z.F. member came up with free health care for under 13’s in 2014, talked to the spokeswoman for health M.P. Barbara Stewart, whose office then went to work on the costings. They found that it would not make any significant change to the party’s proposed health spending only to have National announce equivalent policy just days before they did.
All because the New Zealand First Bill was not dreamt up by National first. Nothing else.