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Local Bills Progress With Some Criticism

Three local bills made progress in Parliament this evening, but made slower progress than usual due to their contentious nature.

Local bills usually get limited debate because they deal with technical or non-controversial matters, however that was not the case today.

The Waitaki District Council Reservces and Other Land Empowering Bill was given its third reading.

The bill covers some land inside the Waitaki District and allows for the removal of reservations on the Palmerston Showgrounds and Lookout Point Island in order to allow the council to take over ownership of Palmerston Showgrounds, and allow for the council to sell parts of Lookout Point Island as was originally intended for in 1885.

Speakers from both Labour and National said after much work they considered that the bill was fixing an historical error about the status of the land in question.

Green MPs said they would be opposing the bill because of the poor consultation process and the fact it would result in valuable reserve land being sold off in order to fund the restoration of buildings.

NZ First MPs also opposed the bill for similar reasons and also because there was some doubt about the status of the land which meant it should not be sold for a su-division.

National and Labour MPs said it was up to local communities to decide what they did with land they legally owned.

The bill completed its third reading by with by 98 to 22 with Greens, NZ First and Mana opposed.

MPs also completed the committee stage debate on the South Taranaki District Council (Cold Creek Rural Water Supply) Bill.

The bill allows for the South Taranaki District Council to transfer ownership of the Cold Creek Rural Water Supply Scheme to back to the community via creating a co-operative called Cold Creek Community Water Supply Limited. This co-operative will look after the scheme that provides water to around 7,620 hectares of land in the Pihama/Te Kiri area in South Taranaki.

Maori Party Leader Tariana Turia said her party would oppose the bill as local Maori had not been consulted over the transfer of the scheme and they were opposed to the sale while they were in talks with the Crown over their Treaty claims.

The Bill’s sponsor Chester Burrows said the council accepted it had not consulted properly initially, but the bill had been halted so it could take place. He acknowledged that local iwi were still not satisfied

The scheme was being put into the hands of those who had built it. It was about ownership of the scheme not the water itself he said.

The bill completed its committee stage 95 to 24 with the Greens, NZ First, Maori Party and Mana Party opposing and it was reported without amendment.

The Tasman District Council (Validation and Recovery of Certain Rates) Bill also completed its first reading and was sent to select committee

The rates were related to stormwater charges Tata Beach and Ligar Bay in Golden Bay which have faced legal challenge.

The Bill’s sponsor Damien O’Connor said he was not keen on retrospective legislation but he had agreed to take it to select committee.

MPs began the second reading debate on the Habeas Corpus Amendment Bill.

** is a breaking news source for New Zealand parliamentary business featuring broadcast daily news reports.

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