My dream parliament by Susan Grimsdell

Sometimes we have to dream.  My dream is that members of parliament would show up in the House with one purpose in mind:  to work out a way to make New Zealand a better country.

Bad behaviour

John Bercow, recently retired as Speaker of the UK House of Commons.

By that I mean all of them, not divided into parties who in reality spend most of their time and energy trying to tear down each others’ ideas and make fools of one another.  Anyone who has listened to Parliament Live comes away shocked at the stupid level of so-called “debate”.  They’re like school kids, naughty, obstructive school kids.

This applies to the UK Parliament as well as to that of New Zealand.  Half the time the Speaker is shouting to be heard over the din – “ORDER!  ORDER!”  Sometimes someone is sent out, a bit like being told to stand in the corner – naughty, naughty!  Perhaps they should bring back the cane, that might get them to behave.

Working for the common good

Alan Paton, South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

Now please dream along with me for a moment.  The first task in the new transformed Parliament would be for MPs to decide what policies they should introduce in order to meet the basic needs of the people who live here: New Zealanders.  As a famous NZ prime minister once said, “All people really need is somewhere to live, something to eat and something to love.”  Well, government can certainly supply the first two, if they put their minds to it.  It’s not hard.

If all MPs were in agreement on, let’s say for a start, “We need to make sure everyone has a place to live”, they would soon work out how to make that happen.  It would require, for example, the introduction of regulations to make sure rents didn’t soar out of reach of the average person as they have done today in our country.

Working together

Cooperation without party priorities.

If MPs no longer had to worry whether introducing a particular policy would mean they wouldn’t get elected next time, then they could simply do what’s right.  No one would lose votes because they would all be in it together.

This joint cooperative approach could be applied to policies affecting all the basic needs of life.  There are enough good brains in parliament for them to come up with very good solutions if they would only put their heads together and stop putting their own election prospects first and foremost above all other concerns.

What a transformative idea – MPs put in parliament in order to work out how best to meet people’s needs.  Talk about radical!

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