So, Gerry Brownlee put forward a motion to put Parliament into urgency today saying he had to force the move because there’s “very little time to actually progress legislation”. Not what I would state to be the best reason to bypass normal parliamentary procedure, but that’s pretty much par for the course for this Government.
One thing that concerns me a little bit today is this tweet:
Govt just tabled a new copyright bill for 1st reading under urgency. Who knows what’s in it because only I just got a hard copy. Outrageous
— Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP) July 2, 2013
This bill is the Copyright (Parallel Importing of Films) Amendment Bill. This bill is pretty much removing the rights of retailers to parallel import films that have already been released in other countries for five months after the international release of the film, extending a temporary ban that was due to expire in October 2013.
Firstly, I’d like to comment that this is again this Government getting down on its knees to provide oral gratification to the American entertainment industry. Good run guys. To introduce it under urgency is just bullshit.
Secondly, not being able to find anywhere to read the bill itself, I’d like to know exactly what the definition of international release would be. There are a number of films that are held off from release in New Zealand for a number of months due to marketing concerns, if they are even released at all (The Cabin in the Woods is a big one that comes to mind right away). Even the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment realises that the original ban was only there due to the traditional method of distributing films (sending around physical prints, which of course are expensive).
Yeah, I’m a bit annoyed, mainly because I think that parliamentary urgency should only be used for things that are, well, urgent. I would support a party who pledges to change the rules about how this can be used.