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by Maryan Street
On 21 August, the House debated Part 2 of the EOLC bill. This was the very substantial part of the bill which dealt with processes and procedures. It was a protracted debate, with supporting MPs deliberately sitting quietly and not taking calls in order not to prolong the debate, while the opposition exhausted their arguments, the Speaker's patience and the whole House in the end. By agreement between the parties, while it did get to voting before 10pm, the House suspended voting part way through in order to avoid another late night marathon as had occurred in the previous debate.
That means that the next Member's Day on 11 September will BEGIN with the EOLC bill and the interrupted voting straight after the General Debate at about 4pm. There are no other bills ahead of it currently. There are 15 SOPs left to be voted on which pertain to Part 2, but an educated guess says that at least 5 of those will be ruled out of order by the Associate Speaker because they contradict David's amendments to the Part which have already been passed. So that leaves 10 SOPs to be voted on. I imagine that will take until about 5pm or shortly after. Then the House will move on to Part 3 which should not take very long because it is more technical in nature and should be disposed of by 10pm. That leaves Part 4 and the Schedules to be debated on the next day (25 September), and then Clauses 1 and 2 remain.
Clause 1 is the title of the bill, and there are some SOPs in to change that ("Assisted Suicide Bill" etc.) and Clause 2 is the Date of Commencement. It is in Clause 2 where NZFirst's SOP about a referendum will be debated, obviously because it will alter the date of enactment. That will be the last debate at the Committee stage. Thereafter, it moves on to its third and final reading which is a time-limited debate and will only take two hours (or a little more if the Business Committee decides to be generous and extend the time a little, as it did before). This will occur in October, all going well.
So there is not much longer to go!
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