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The House: New Vote Count (Again) and Relitigation

The House heard yet again that a proxy vote was not cast in the vote to set the minimum drinking age at 18.

Last night, the long suffering John Carter had to announce three changes. Today it was Dianne Yates (Labour) turn to say she had not lodged a proxy on behalf of a colleague. The end result is that the overnight count of 59 to 55 has now become 60 to 55.

Debate about whether decisions made in yesterday's debate can be relitigated in the committee stages proper continue around Parliament.

Under Standing Orders decisions of the House can not be revisited in the same session. Of course that rule could be suspended by leave, but that appears unlikely.

The Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, who is responsible for the legislation, has been of the view that relitigating the decisions made in the ‘issues’ stage will be ruled out for that reason. As a note Mr Ryall voted against lowering the drinking age.

However a number of MPs believe that substantiative amendments can be made and say they intend doing so. Their opinion on the Standing Orders is that the House is still in Committee on the matter, so therefore no decision has been ‘set in stone’.

The return of the Bill will see some interesting debate on Standing Orders and their impact on the unusual method to deal with the liquor legislation.

This afternoon, the House has completed the consideration of the select commitee report on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Bill and is currently considering the committee stages of the Judicature (Rules Committee and Technical Advisers) Amendment Bill and the Interpretation Bill. These are being taken together and the third reading will also be completed by leave.

If the House has time before the 6pm rise, members will begin the committee stages of the Local Government Amendment Bill (No. 9).

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