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Bill unlikely to proceed

31 March 2005 Media Statement

Bill unlikely to proceed

Obstructive behaviour by the National and Act parties mean it is now unlikely the Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill will be able to pass before the election, Leader of the House Michael Cullen said today.

“As the Bill’s passage has been eagerly anticipated within the legal profession, I am sure the great majority of them will share my disappointment,” he said.

“The obstruction is also a disservice to the public as the Bill will protect consumers by offering a new complaints regime and providing greater competition in the conveyancing area.”

Dr Cullen was commenting on events last night when Parliament began to consider the committee stages of the Bill which has some 12 questions in a part by part debate.

“National’s Justice Spokesperson, Richard Worth, promised a “marathon debate” and, already, over 300 Opposition amendments have been moved.

“In this situation where the committee stages will take many days of sitting time, it is unlikely the Bill will be proceeded with at this point. There are only about 30 sitting days left for government business before the House must rise for the elections.

“Much of that will be taken up with the budget debate, the estimates debate and legislation which needs to be passed,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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