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Charities Bill Lacks Proper Scrutiny

Charities Bill Lacks Proper Scrutiny

Friday 19 Nov 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Other

This week's special consultation meeting on the proposed re-write of the Charities Bill - organised by Labour for a small selected group of charitable organisations - is an indictment of New Zealand's democratic process, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The Government has decided that it only needs to consult with only 20 or so organisations over the new version of the Bill. That means that the majority of the 750 organisations who made the effort to put in submissions on the original Bill are left in the dark. If they object to this and feel they should have been consulted they should sign my petition on www.charitiesbill.co.nz.

"This problem of secret meetings and backroom deals has arisen because the Government got the original Bill so wrong, that most of 30,000-strong charities sector objected. To now ask them now to support a Bill they haven't seen and which hasn't even been written, after the last one was so bad, is deplorable.

"Our Westminster Parliamentary system of law making is based on a process that involves full consultation over new legislative proposals. This comprehensive process provides an important safeguard to the public, ensuring that, as far as possible, new laws are well designed, clear in their purpose, and that unintended consequences are minimised.

"By choosing to rush legislation through without proper scrutiny - as we have just seen in the case of the Foreshore and Seabed Bill - the Government will create problems and legal battles that could have been avoided.

"The fact that the Government wants a Bill that hasn't even been written to be reported back to Parliament by 10 December is outrageous. The Select Committee hasn't even seen the Bill.

"I urge the sector to demand that the date is extended so that all of those organisations who took the time to consult on the original Bill can be sent the proposed changes and invited to give their input," Dr Newman said.


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