Since the National Government came into power in December 2008, it has used urgency for 331.5 hours - nearly double the time the former Labour Government sat under urgency in its full first term.Nearly double, and we're still several months away from an election.
Labour is spitting about the use of urgency this week. The use of urgency prior to Christmas is something most governments resort to, in order to push measures through before the break. But when you look at this Government's record overall it paints a troubling picture.
Trevett does the numbers:
Office of the Clerk figures show that in the two years since National came into Government in December 2008, Parliament has sat under urgency for 331 hours - just over one quarter of the time the House was in session.
By comparison, in its first full term from 1999 to 2002, the former Labour Government used urgency for 192.5 hours - about 13 per cent of the time.The excessive use of urgency to pass non-urgent legislation is only one example of the Government's dislike of sensible, steady legislative progress. The Government is also fond of granting wide powers to its ministers to do as they please, with minimum oversight. One needs only to think of the emergency legislation passed in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake, or the extraordinary powers given to the Rugby World Cup minister to grant liquor licences.
That increased to 385 hours from 2002 to 2005 and dropped again to 149 hours from 2005 to 2008.
The National Government went into urgency 15 times in its first full year in power in 2009 - under Labour, the most times urgency was used was nine in 2000 - its first full year in power after nine years of National.
John Key may keep smiling, and his outward persona may be one of affability and charm, but it is becoming clearer by the day than neither he nor his government really wants to hear what we think about issues of importance. All of these measures are designed to minimise consultation, oversight, scrutiny and debate.