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If Your Bill Isn't Ready, Why Not ACT's?

If Your Bill Isn't Ready, Why Not ACT's?

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today called on Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker to say exactly when Labour's legislation, to stop the criminal payout scandal, will be ready - given the long months that Ministers have had to work on it.

"The Ministers must know the issues - the judge told them on April 7 the Government had lost, and would be liable. Over the months since then their lawyers heard all the arguments of Tony Ellis, a very good lawyer for the prisoners, about the amounts that should be awarded," Mr Franks said.

"Mr Barker must also explain just what is so complex about the law needed to stop these outrages. It has taken Labour five months, and we are still waiting for a date for introduction of a Bill - yet I have managed to produce a workable Bill after working only a few late nights.

"I have tested my Bill with one of the country's best legal minds - as well as Justice Spokesmen from other Parties, who will have to vote if the Government allows it to be debated. Like me, they consider the Bill workable.

"The ACT Bill says the clock for new claims would stop on the date it is introduced - that could be Tuesday fortnight. Why not let it kick the Parliamentary process off, to stop the filing of new claims? At least it would get the Parliamentary timetable running.

"The Government is used to clubbing its own members into line, so it'd be able to change my Bill in Select Committee. There's no risk of Labour ending up with something it doesn't like. If Mr Barker won't tell us when Labour's Bill is coming, then he must put any political resentment aside and explain just what is wrong with mine," Mr Franks said.

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