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Government Abuses Constitutional Process

Media Release

12 June 2003

Government Abuses Constitutional Process

New Zealand First justice spokesperson Dail Jones says the Government’s intention to suspend Standing Orders to introduce minor legislation such as an Amendment of the Distress and Replevin Act 1908 is a gross abuse of the constitutional process.

“The suspension of Standing Orders, when it is a contested matter, is a very serious matter indeed.

“It has been suggested in the past that it should be used for serious and important matters such as saving a banking institution.

“Instead, the Government is using its power to amend an obscure 1908 Act which was overlooked by Parliamentary counsel and the whole of Parliament when the Personal Property & Securities Act 1999 was passed.

“As well, the Bill itself is in gross breach of the report of the Standing Orders Review Committee of 1995, which on page 51 did not support a Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which is effectively the type of legislation intended by the Government.

“The Government clearly has no regard for reports of Standing Orders committees and this makes me wonder whether there is any point in continuing to attend such select committee meetings.

“The Distress and Replevin Act 1908 is an archaic piece of legislation. It has stood since that time like a 1908 year old house complete with scrim, outside toilet and poor sanitation and the Government’s amendment is like trying to repair a broken window.

“It is a totally insignificant amendment and a gross violation of the parliamentary process,” said Mr Jones.


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