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Minister's Arrogance Makes Bad Law Making Worse

Minister's Arrogance Makes Bad Law Making Worse

National’s Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges’ insistence on ramming through a law which extends the controversial protest ban into the high seas is arrogant and makes bad policy even worse, says Labour Energy spokesperson Moana Mackey.

"The Opposition had little warning that the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill was going to be debated under urgency with no select committee process or public consultation.

“By fast-tracking the Bill the government made it impossible to seek any independent opinion on the legality of the changes. There was no Regulatory Impact Statement produced on this bill and no Bill of Rights vetting was carried out on this Bill or the original protest ban amendment.

"To make things worse, Simon Bridges refused to speak during the committee stages, to avoid having to answer any questions.

"On a bill this controversial, in an area of law that is highly specialised, the Minister's arrogant refusal to do his job is completely unacceptable.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website makes it clear that: ‘States do not have any special rights to the water column above the continental shelf; so New Zealand does not have special rights to the fisheries above the continental shelf beyond the EEZ or to control other activities such as shipping’.

"Labour has consistently opposed the protest ban law. Any vessel behaving in a dangerous manner should be held accountable regardless of who they are and why they are doing it.

“However under National’s law, it's only protest vessels that are covered and only if they are protesting against oil and gas exploration.

“Any other vessel behaving dangerously in the EEZ is, under Minister Bridges' watch, perfectly within their rights to put lives at risk.

"Labour supports extending the regime that exists in our territorial waters out into the EEZ. That is the law we should have passed last week,” Moana Mackey said.

ENDS

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