zeborah: Fezzes are cool.  Amy and River blow it up. (cool)
[personal profile] zeborah
A law got passed that lets the minister in charge of earthquake recovery amend other laws if it's in order to aid earthquake recovery. (This is sparking woe and lamentation and wilful ignorance of the fact that he's not allowed to change civil rights or electoral laws, and the fact that every law he changes will revert back to normal on April 2012. So yeah, maybe he could become a terrible dictator in the meantime and wreak havoc and we wouldn't be allowed to prosecute him for it, but on the other hand from May 2012 we would be able to shun him for the rest of his political would-be career, so it'd be a pretty idiotic move on his part. Also, seriously, New Zealand politicians just aren't that competent.)

Anyway, so I was reading through some of the oh-so-threatening amendations that have been made since then, and came across the Canterbury Earthquake (Civil Defence Emergency Management Act) Order 2010 which says:

An authorised person may exercise all or any powers stated in section 89 of the CDEM Act in respect of any aircraft, hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train, or vehicle impeding civil defence emergency management in a specified district [but only if etc]

and I found myself suddenly distracted from this menace to democracy by the urgent question:

Where are all these hovercraft?

Date: 2010-09-17 09:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
Such a law would be unconstitutional here, and despite the likelihood of nothing going wrong, it'd be extremely scary.

As a historical anecdote, which I'm sure is an overreaction from my part: Hitler acquired his dictatorship by getting the right to override laws by his decrees. The punchline is that he was not allowed to override certain constitutional protections, but he did it anyway. Once he got people used to the idea that he can change laws, people did not pay attention to the fine print.

The hovercrafts are probably used in areas where they are not commonly obseved by common people, being a rather specialized form of transport. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercraft#Uses

Date: 2010-09-17 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
And the interwar era Germans had gotten used to the idea that the real government happened through emergency decrees, the parliament being permanently hung by partisan bickering. Sure.

I agree the chance of things going wrong in NZ as a result of this is pretty small. Doesn't change the fact that it's an uncomfortable thing.

In Finland, they have this emergency powers act which is quite long, which is basically a long list of specific authorizations of things for the government to do in a state of emergency that would normally be illegal. I'd be fairly nervous even if that ever gets used; but it's reassuring that it's not a blanket authorization – the concept that the parliament is who makes the law is never compromised.

As for hovercrafts – http://www.hovercraft.com/ :-D
Edited Date: 2010-09-17 10:09 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-10-03 06:47 am (UTC)
ext_245057: painted half-back picture of me that looks more like me than any photograph (Default)
From: [identity profile] irinarempt.pip.verisignlabs.com
Belatedly: Where are all these hovercraft-- and are they full of eels?

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