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Max Bradford defeated again

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"Max Bradford's reckless plans to rush through late amendments to New Zealand's competition law have been stopped in their tracks," Labour commerce spokesperson Paul Swain said today.

"He is now unlikely to get the changes through Parliament before the elections," Mr Swain said.

He was commenting on Mr Bradford's defeat yesterday in the Commerce Select Committee. The Government had wanted the Commerce Amendment Bill and a Supplementary Order Paper containing additional changes approved by the Cabinet on Monday to be reported back by 6 September.

This would have allowed inadequate time for proper deliberation of the issues and was rejected by the committee after Labour, the Alliance and New Zealand First insisted, with the support of Act, upon a more measured approach.

"The closing date for public submissions has now been pushed out to 17 September and Labour will insist that those submissions are given full and careful consideration," Mr Swain said.

"Good governance demands it. The measures the Government is proposing - while overdue and inadequate and likely to provoke unnecessary uncertainty - are still the most significant changes to the Commerce Act in its 13-year history.

"Labour is advocating, and many in the business community would prefer, an alignment with Australia's competition regime. This makes sense because it recognises we are a single market and has the further advantage of allowing us to import Australian case law and precedent straight into our system.

"The reversal is politically embarrassing for Mr Bradford. He rushed through the reform package in a childish attempt to spike Labour's competition policy launch on Tuesday and he's ended up with egg all over his face.

"The Government's legislative programme is in tatters and Mr Bradford seems unable to learn from his mistakes. Surely the electricity reform fiasco should have taught him the dangers of rushed legislation and of making big announcements without first ensuring he can command a majority in the House," Mr Swain said.

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