Of all the legislation that could have been brought forth, the PLP opted for pushing cannabis reform and reducing late fees. Cannabis reform is inevitable and at this stage it is nothing more than a political football. The statutory interest rate adjustment seemingly only impacts interest rates where none are defined by contract, in essence, late fees. It seems people are largely confusing the statutory interest rate with mortgage rates when they don’t seem to be the same. So of all the legislation that could have been brought forth to take advantage of the minority government, why these? Is it purely playing politics or is there more to it that isn’t apparent?
All the PLP has done by pushing cannabis reform is race ahead to be the ones who can claim credit for implementing it. Let’s be frank, the OBA have dragged their feet on it and the PLP caught them off guard by introducing their own bill in January. The OBA’s response of “oh, we’re already working on it” was seemingly an effort to save face. The OBA’s subsequent tabling of their own decriminalization bill that the opposition wasn’t made aware of was facepalm worthy. Cannabis reform is certainly important, but is it really so important that it needs to be rushed thorough when both parties seemingly already support it vs. other possible pieces of legislation?
Then there’s the statutory interest rate adjustment. People seem to be getting excited thinking that this will impact mortgage rates. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I don’t see how they’re related. The statutory interest rate as defined in the Interest and Credit Charges (Regulation) Act 1975 seems to only apply to interest rates charged in the case of where one was not stipulated in a contract. In layman’s terms, if you hire me to mow your lawn and then you take months to pay me and we didn’t stipulate our contract what late fees would apply, then the statutory interest rate applies. I can’t find any correlation between mortgage rates and the statutory interest rates as mortgage rates are clearly defined by contract. To be honest, I’m rather confused what the benefits are of this being changed. Thus, why is this legislation so important vs. all other possibilities? People seem to be very excited thinking this will bring down mortgage rates when that doesn’t appear to be the case.
When the OBA ended up with a minority government I saw it as a great opportunity. It was the PLP’s chance to demonstrate better governance by pushing forward crucial legislation. As an example, strengthening good governance like forcing fixed term elections or right of recall of MPs, two promises the OBA have yet to deliver on and don’t look terribly likely to do. Perhaps borrowing limits or deficit restrictions if they wanted to send a clear message that they mean to chart a new course different from their spendthrift ways of the past. There were so many possibilities of what the PLP could have pushed through to demonstrate that they’re a new and different party ready to lead the country. How is pushing through cannabis reform and changing the statutory interest rate among them? If anything, these changes seem highly politically motivated, quite possibly capitalizing on people’s ignorance to claim a win on cannabis reform and the mistaken belief that mortgage rates would come down. What is missing here? Why are these pieces of legislation the ones the PLP chose to push before all others?