Nuk Korako either doesn't understand what his own members bill would do, or he is misleading Parliament. 

At the risk of appearing to be a slightly unhinged obsessive who is fixated upon the trivial, I cannot help but respond to Tutehounuku (Nuk) Korako's attempted defence in Parliament this afternoon of his frankly abysmal members bill, the Airport Authorities (Publicising Lost Property Sales) Amendment Bill.

Here's how Mr Korako justified the measure in answer to Labour members:

The other part is that when we looked, I also received an email, actually from a person in Wainuiōmata, and that email actually said—if I could quote: "I congratulate you on producing this bill because the fact is that there are so many of my friends and relations that have lost luggage and could never ever find it through the normal channels."

And later;

Travellers often do not live in the same area as the airport where they have lost property—that is the first thing—so advertising in the local newspaper is not the most effective way of communication. This bill gives airports the flexibility to better serve their customers, and, especially, the Port Hills constituents, who have contacted me about my bill and think it is a great idea.

Here I really have to reiterate, with a tired roll of my eyes and an exasperated sigh, something I have said many times before.

Mr Korako's Bill will do nothing - nothing - to better help reunite people with lost luggage (or even lost property). It simply doesn't apply to luggage lost by airlines - only to property left in airports. So if Air NZ lose your suitcase after you check it in with them, this legislation doesn't apply in any way, shape or form. It only applies if you forget your umbrella or sunglasses in the terminal, or drop your scarf in the airport carpark, or the like. 

Second, if airports wanted to advertise the existence of such lost property using the internet or other means, they can do so already. The bill doesn't give them any new powers to help travellers beyond those they already possess. If airports aren't advertising such property, it's not because the existing law is stopping them from doing so - nor will the proposed law force them to start doing so.

Third, here is all the bill does. It says that if those very few airports with bylaws in place want to auction off lost property (with it not being at all clear whether any airports actually even do this in practice), they no longer have to put a notice in the paper to say that an auction will be taking place. There is then no requirement to say what property is being auctioned. Just as there is no requirement to tell the world (including those who have lost property) if lost property is disposed of other than by auction (say, by giving it to charity as Auckland airport does).

In concrete terms, if three months after you leave your umbrella in the terminal the airport wants to auction it off, at the moment it must put a notice in the paper saying "we will hold a lost property auction" (as well as putting that notice on its webpage, if it wants to). Under Mr Korako's bill, it only has to put a notice on its webpage before holding the auction. That the the sum total of the effect of his Bill.

Consequently, the arguments Mr Korako is using in the House to justify his bill mean one of two things. Either he just doesn't understand the current law and what his bill will do to it. That suggests an element of incompetence, especially given the repeated explanations provided on this blogsite and elsewhere.

Or, alternatively, he does understand that his bill is a pointless waste of time that will do nothing whatsoever to help reunite people with lost luggage (or even lost property), but he insists on telling Parliament that it will do so anyway. That suggests an element of something worse than incompetence.

I guess Mr Korako may choose which badge he wishes to wear.

Comments (6)

by Graeme Edgeler on August 16, 2016
Graeme Edgeler

I figured you'd finally done your dash on this bill, and thought to fill in the remaining gap, and you've beaten me to it!

But my attempt at an explanation might as well remain anyway. Is this the most scrutinised piece of legislation this year?

by Alan Johnstone on August 16, 2016
Alan Johnstone

Do you think he even thought of it himself or has a party hack knocked it up and had him sign it?

by Eszett on August 16, 2016

As the old adage goes: never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence

While I can't be certain, I assume that MPs can't just put anything they dream up in the ballot. Someone somewhere in caucus apparatus must have a glimpse over the proposed member's bills, at least to check the basics. Does it align with the party's strategy and values, is this something the party can support, can this bill cause some embarrassment to the party?

Would be interesting to know who that person was and what he thought of this bill.

by Peter Grant on August 16, 2016
Peter Grant

Some are born stupid, --- some are just stupid, --- some are all of that all of the time and just can't see it  !!, despite the evidence to the contrary.

by BeShakey on August 18, 2016

Do you think he even thought of it himself or has a party hack knocked it up and had him sign it?

According to the Herald "[Chris] Finlayson has a stockpile of laws that need tidying up which are doled out as members' bills to MPs".

And according to Matthew Hooten on Nine to Noon an (unnamed) MP produces a lot of them. He could have been talking about Finlayson, but from the context I'm guessing not. Either way, my guess is that Korako's passion for this is pretty newfound.

by Rich on August 18, 2016

So this explains why the government doesn't do something genuinely useful and use a statutes amendment act (or even a private members bill) to substitute *all* the places where advertising in a newspaper is required with 'on a website'.

Of course, that would make a big hole in the pocket of the state-supporting newspaper monopoly which owns all those little free 'newspapers'.

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