Nuk Korako told the House that lots of people had contacted him to praise his proposal to save Airports from having to advertise lost property auctions in their local papers. So just how many of those people earlier told the Government that his proposal was needed?
At the risk of breaking my undertaking to Gerry Brownlee, I find myself having to once again turn my attention to Tutehounuku (Nuk) Korako's frankly abysmal members bill - the Airport Authorities (Publicising Lost Property Sales) Amendment Bill. To remind you, this is all that Mr Korako's proposal (to amend the Airport Authorities Act 1966, s.9(1)(ff)) will achieve:
[I]f 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 [local] 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).
Just how important and necessary is Mr Korako's proposal? Well, he was quick to reassure the House that lots of people thought it was called for:
The evidence that I have actually received has been in the response from the many emails, and even the Auckland Airport authority has actually contacted me and said what a great idea this was.
Oh really? That sounds ... unlikely. And I've now got my own reason for saying that. For in an earlier post on Mr Korako's proposal, I made the following observation:
There's one more point before I drop this. It turns out that the Ministry of Transport has, for the last couple of years, been running a review of the Airport Authorities Act 1966 and whether it needs updating. It tells us that "feedback received will inform advice provided to Cabinet on potential changes to [that Act]."
Now, the very existence of this Government review of the Airport Authorities Act might make you ask why exactly Mr Korako felt the need to introduce a members bill to deal with one small paragraph in it. Why not just let the review take its course and fix the "problem" of having to put notices in the newspaper before auctioning lost property as a part of any legislation that comes out of it, rather than tying the House up in debating and voting on a separate Bill just on this issue?
But let's put those thoughts to one side. For, as I continued in my post:
It also appears that there were 31 submissions to the review's consultation document. So I've put in an OIA to find out how many of those submissions mention the s.9(1)(ff) requirement to advertise lost property auctions in the newspaper. Because if this really is an important issue that has been repeatedly raised with Mr Korako (as he claims is the case), then surely a substantial number of them will.
Indeed, given Mr Korako's allegedly "passionate" feelings about this issue, I assume one of the submissions to that review will be from him - and his concerns will feature strongly in it. Otherwise one might be forgiven for suspecting that he is misrepresenting his level of interest in this matter somewhat.
Well, I've now received a response to my OIA asking how many submissions raised s.9(1)(ff) as an issue to be fixed, or complained about the necessity of placing ads in newspapers before auctioning lost property, or made any suggestions that this obligation be removed. Here's what it says:
The Ministry of Transport did not receive any submissions on the review of the ... Airport Authorities Act 1966 that related to section 9(1)(ff) of the Airport Authorities Act. The Ministry of Transport also did not receive any complaints or suggestions in submissions that related to the obligation of airports to advertise lost property auctions in local newspapers.
So. There we go. No-one involved in the airport industry who submitted on the legislation review thought that this "problem" of having to advertise lost property auctions in a paper was even worth mentioning. And Mr Korako, despite his protestations that the issue is one he is "passionate" about, obviously didn't bother to tell the Ministry of Transport about his feelings and call for it to be addressed.
These are things that you might like to bear in mind when Mr Korako's Bill comes up before the House and takes up some hours of your elected representatives' time that could have been spent on something else.