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The House: Crime Card Trumped Temporarily

The Government's attempt to play the crime card was temporarily trumped by procedural maneuvering in the House this afternoon.

The Government planned to debate the report back from select committee of the Crimes (Home Invasion) Amendment Bill with a roar and a charge that painted them as protectors of the home and Labour and the Alliance as playing politics because they were soft on criminals.

Instead at the outset, Labour's Phil Goff took the initiative and put an unusual motion requesting the House send the Bill back to select committee.

He then launched an attack on the Bill's arbitrary definitions of a home and said the committee had not been provided with Ministry of Justice papers and views until after it had completed the report. Attempts on the Government's side to restrict the scope of the debate failed.

Mr Goff called on MPs to support a bill he was proposing that would make home invasion an aggravating factor at the time of sentencing.

(SeeDeclined with regret in the politics wire.)

Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, dismissed the motion saying Labour was trying to play politics as it wanted to delay having to vote against a bill that "got tough on criminals".

There was much discussion of the Bill's rocky progress in the select committee, which is split 50/50, varying versions of who said what and whether they supported the Bill or not.

When the vote was taken Mr Goff's motion was defeated by 61 to 58, indicating the Government has the numbers to push through the controversial legislation. There is extensive comment on the legisaltion in the headlines, Parliament and Politics wire.

The report back is currently being debated.

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