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Urgency moved with regret

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Leader of the House

2 July 2013

Urgency moved with regret

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee says the Government regrets the need to put Parliament into urgency this afternoon, saying his preference was for legislation that will be covered under urgency to be debated using extended hours.

“Extended hours have been in place since the start of the 50th Parliament and were brought in as recognition that the Government should be able to progress its legislative programme, without always resorting to urgency.

“I tried to work with opposition parties to use extended hours to progress some of this legislation, but could not get their agreement.

“We have always used extended hours responsibly and rarely, and that would have remained the case had we used them on this occasion.”

Mr Brownlee says members of the public may not be well aware that Parliament only sits for 31 weeks a year on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“Every second sitting week the Government has 13 hours to progress legislation, and 8.5 hours every other week, when there is a Members’ Day.

“That adds up to 12 40-hour weeks a year to progress the Government’s programme.

“Urgency is a legitimate tool for progressing legislation through the House.

“This Government is conscious to not abuse urgency, and only rarely and with good reason opts to pass bills through all stages under urgency.

“In this motion the Government proposes to only pass limited bills through multiple stages and none will bypass the select committee process.”

ENDS

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