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Shop Trading Hours And The 25 Minute Committee

Margaret Wilson, Shop Trading Hours, And The Twenty-Five Minute Committee

Sunday 17 Feb 2002

Government attempts to rework Rodney Hides' Shop Trading Hours Bill have turned into yet another Margaret Wilson hash-job, the ACT Finance Spokesman said today

"My Bill attempts to fix up shop trading hours laws that everyone agrees are arbitrary and inconsistent. It does so by establishing the principle that shop owners themselves should be free to determine when their shops open without interference from busy bodies at Parliament and the Department of Labour.

"But now the Government is trying to hack my Bill for their own nefarious political ends.

"Attorney General Margaret Wilson promised Mount Maunganui businesses in her would-be electorate of Tauranga she would move a bill to let them open on Easter Sunday. She has failed. She is now attempting to piggy-back off my bill to deliver on her election promise.

"Labour's support of my Bill is a major turn-around. The Commerce Committee chaired by David Cunliffe refused to hear submissions on my Bill. The Committee explained this was because, `Labour and Alliance members consider the Bill is unlikely to proceed further in the House'. On June 30 2000, Parliament refused to accept the Committee's response and sent the Bill back to Chairman Cunliffe's Committee for them to do the work.

"Chairman Cunliffe's Committee spent a grand total of twenty-five minutes considering my Bill. They still refused to hear submissions.

"Then Margaret Wilson got in on the act. She wrote to the Committee on February 26 2001 recommending amendments. The Committee waited. Ms Wilson did nothing. The Committee wrote to Ms Wilson on June 28 2001 requesting an update. She replied that the mater was still being considered. The Committee then reported back to the whole House. Chairman Cunliffe spoke against it but then, along with his entire party (and half the Nats), voted for it.

"My Bill is set down for committee stages this Wednesday. The Government have moved a raft of amendments. The absurdity is that Chairman Cunliffe and Margaret Wilson have refused to ever let the public be heard. There has been no proper consultation. They have never discussed the Bill with me. This is the legislative process at its worst and it is all the more disturbing that the supposed keeper of correct constitutional process, the Attorney General, is author of another botched Parliamentary process.

"The ACT party looks favourably at any moves to increase the freedoms that we should all enjoy and will support all pro-freedom legislative moves. Our support is now for the final outcome - not Margaret Wilson's and David Cunliffe's botched handling of an important Bill," concluded Rodney Hide.


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