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Mining And Legal Aid Reform Progresses

The Government made progress today on legislation including passing into law mining law reform and completing the second reading of legal aid reform.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Billwould improve the management of the Crown’s mineral resources by enabling mining under stringent conditions.

Mining was the backbone of many communities’ economies and could contribute more as New Zealand had extensive resources which were underutilised.

Moana Mackey said there were some measures that Labour welcomed such as the improvement to the health and safety regime, but could not support the bill because it was badly flawed.

In particular the new clauses targeting protests on the high sea against oil production were objected to.

The bill divided into five bills completed its third reading by 61 to 60.

MPs then debated the second reading of the Legal Assistance (Sustainability) Amendment Bill.

Judith Collins said the bill was to ensure effective legal aid continued on a sustainable basis.

Legal aid costs had increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010 placing the legal aid budget under intense pressure.

Changes had been made in some areas, but the bill contained the legislative changes still required.

Labour’s justice spokesman Andrew Little said the bill showed the Government was intent on cuts at any cost and would reduce access to justice for many who could not afford a lawyer.

The bill completed its second reading by 61 to 60 with National, ACT and United Future in favour.

MPs began the second reading of the Immigration Amendment Bill, which had been deferred since August last year while Ministers negotiated with Peter Dunne for his support.

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

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