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Smith: Govt turnaround rightly punished

Smith: Govt turnaround rightly punished

The Greens' decision to withdraw support for the Judicial Matters Bill because of the Government's failure to honour its promise to proceed with a judicial appointments commission was welcomed by United Future, its justice spokesman, Murray Smith, said today.

Mr Smith said that last year the Government promised United Future and the Greens that it would proceed with a judicial appointments commission at the beginning of this year in return for support on the Supreme Court Bill.

United Future didn't support that Bill but the Greens did and the Government had now welshed on the deal. The Greens were therefore quite right to stand on principle and refuse to support the Judicial Appointments Bill out of select committee, he said.

United Future had been the only party to oppose the Judicial Matters Bill at its first reading and had done so solely because of the absence of a judicial appointments commission in the Bill. However Mr Smith said that he understood that National, ACT and NZ First were now all opposing the Bill as well.

What is even more of an insult to the Greens, Mr Smith said, was that there was no urgency at all for 90 percent of the Bill to proceed and the one issue that was of some urgency - an increase in judge numbers - could be separated out from the rest of the Bill and passed independently.

United Future was prepared to support that occurring, he said.

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