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Members’ Bills Shot Down

No Members’ Bills survived their first debates tonight with one National MPs bill defeated because United Future’s Peter Dunne did not support it.

The vote on the first reading of the Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill was called as 61 to 60 with only National and ACT supporting.

However this will probably be corrected as the House is short one MP until the by-election in Christchurch East is completed. The correct vote was probably tied 60 to 60. In any case in a tie the status quo remains and the bill fails.

The bill’s sponsor Jami-Lee Ross said the bill would create more flexibility in the workplace by allowing employers to use of volunteers, contractors or other casual employees during a strike or lockout.

Labour’s Andrew Little said it was the bill of a “fascist” National Party which would allow employers to lock out workers and replace them with others in order to “starve them out”.

The defeat was not unexpected as a number of National ministers and employer groups have expressed disquiet about the bill being a step too far.

Earlier the first reading of the Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill was defeated by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future opposing.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2) was also defeated by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future opposing.

The bill’s sponsor Winston Peters said it was a critical piece of legislation which would benefit the public by giving the Reserve Bank for flexibility in setting monetary policy to combat things such as currency rates, jobs and exports.

National MP Paul Goldsmith said Peters was promoting policy from the seventies when the Finance Minister set monetary policy which created an inflationary environment.

Despite much publicity there was no debate on the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill with the House rising early on leave so it could be debated at a later time.

With the summer adjournment approaching and a number of local and other members’ bills at second reading stage getting ahead of it in the queue, it could be a close call for it to take place this year.

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