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The House:Members' Time Used For Government Bill

This evening MPs will get a chance to debate one of the issues that divides MPs on all sides of the House gambling and casinos, however the early stages of members' night has seen the unusual event of a Government Bill taking up members' time.

First up was consideration of the Select Committee report on Pete Hodgson's Animal Welfare Bill, which has now become tied up with a more comprehensive Government Bill (Animal Welfare Bill (no2).

The move caused some frustration amongst Opposition members as Members' night is one of the few opportunities for them to set the legislative agenda.

Pete Hodgson said their had been a gap in legislation for many years and he offered to promote the Bill for people who like himself thought there was a need. The Bill in his name had spurred the Government to finally introduce a new Bill, which was the piece of legislation that was considered by the select committee.

There had been fears that the Government's Bill would become a 'cuckoo' members' bill and take up a considerable part of the time available for members' bills. However the House agreed after considerable confusion that the reports on both Bills would be considered together and then the matter would become part of the Government's business.

Later this evening, the House will move to the controversial Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill (consideration of select committee report). The Casino Control Authority today approved two licences for Queenstown under a process that would not have been legal if tonight's Bill had been law.

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