• Peter Gresham
Social Welfare

The prospect of having Parliament in virtual recess for almost six months is hardly satisfactory for the country, yet it is one of the real outcomes of MMP, Social Welfare Minister and National List MP Hon Peter Gresham, said today.

"Even with the best scenario, that a Government is formed before Parliament reconvenes, there'll only be a perfunctory sitting to facilitate the Opening, a Speaker appointed, and then Parliament may not sit again until early February," said Mr Gresham.

"Come that time Parliament will have virtually been in recess for almost six months, and this situation is hardly satisfactory for the country, yet we have to recognise that under MMP this is a reality," said Mr Gresham.

Mr Gresham says the former Waitotara electorate community can hardly be blamed for the new system, as they did not vote for MMP as their choice, however the reality is that we have it, and we must ensure we get the best out of it.

"Activities such as select committees will not be functioning before the end of the year, and at best may only just be appointed prior to the Christmas recess. They will then have to attack a heavy and increasing workload immediately Parliament begins breathing again in late January," said Mr Gresham.

"Early consideration by the select committee of important issues such as the Maori Reserved Land Amendment Bill will be under a cloud because the closing date for submissions will be uncertain," said Mr Gresham.

Mr Gresham says he's not critical of the length of time the coalition talks are taking because they have been approached in a responsible manner, but if a coalition has to be formed after every election, then a significant time needs to be allocated for the discussions.

"There's no way such arrangements are going to be sorted out prior to an election, it has to happen after the event, and unless time is given the wrong result will eventuate, government's will fail, and the entire process will have to start all over again," said Mr Gresham.

"Such action could be destructive, so its better to allow the time for coalition talks to proceed as long as they need to, and hopefully there'll be a decision before Parliament sits, but as we know this is not yet guaranteed," said Mr Gresham.