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Marine Bill Labelled ``A Shambles’’

The Government’s tardiness in passing the Marine Legislation Bill cost the taxpayer millions, Labour said today.

The Marine Legislation Bill was sent to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee on a voice vote this evening.

Maurice Williamson introducing the bill on behalf of Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said it would promote maritime safety by bringing into force international agreements and conventions.

It also increased fines for breaches of the law and transferred some duties to the Environmental Protection Authority

The grounding of the Rena had shown the need for New Zealand to update its liability levels and the bill would double the current liability, he said.

Labour MP Phil Twyford said the bill showed the Government was in a shambles.

If the Government had acted more swiftly and not waited years to implement the bill’s liability clauses then the taxpayer would not be facing the ``lion share’’ of the $50 million cost of cleaning up the mess made by the Rena, he said.

Twyford also said the bill would bring in an alcohol limit for those in control of ships at the same level the Government had baulked at bringing in for vehicle drivers.

The bill also brought in 37 pages of amendments to the EEZ ACT just weeks after it was passed.

National MPs pointed out that the Labour Government had also failed to increase liability levels.

MPs began the first reading debate on theLand Transport Management Amendment Bill.

** is a breaking news source for New Zealand parliamentary business featuring broadcast daily news reports.

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