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New Register Just More Red Tape

Thursday 2 May 2002

ACT Leader Richard Prebble confirmed today that he had not been consulted by the Prime Minister prior to Helen Clark's announcement of the introduction of an MPs' register of pecuniary interests.

"Changes to Standing Orders are by convention done by consensus and not by a decree issued by the Prime Minister.

"We are still a Parliamentary democracy.

"If the Government was sincere, all the parties would have been consulted and we would have been informed what the problem is.

"To the best of my knowledge there has never been a problem in the New Zealand Parliament with MPs' private interests.

"I believe the Government is concerned about the exposure of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister's ethics in signing works of art they did not paint and this is a crude attempt to divert attention.

"In Britain, where the British Labour Party has introduced a register of private interests, the most prominent MP caught by it ironically was a Labour MP and close friend of Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson. His case illustrates the problems with registers.

"The second time he was forced to resign he simply forgot to register an interest.

"Forcing MPs out of Parliament because they have failed to register that they own a house shows the absurdity of creating unnecessary red tape.

"The only thing that can be said in favour of the register is that the Government is being consistent.

"Having tied up small business in red tape, compliance costs and savage penalties for minor administrative errors, Labour is now applying the same philosophy to themselves. I predict that a Labour MP will be the first to fall foul of the rules. It is Prebble's law, " Richard Prebble said.

Ends


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