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The House: Estimates Debate

Members used the Estimates Debate last night to sharpen up campaign speeches and tactics.

When the house resumes this morning there will be about an hour left before the House gets on with legislation as set under the urgency motion yesterday.

See "The House: Urgency And Estimates" for details of the urgency motion in the headlines wire.

The estimates debate is a technical debate examining spending plans for the year in question - in this case the 1999-2000 financial year. However a broad-ranging debate was made more wide- ranging by the speaker who said after question time yesterday that the estimates debate would allow wider questioning of the spending of Work and Income NZ in particular.

But even this failed to fire as the Government shoved back the WINZ debate to miss the TV six o'clock news.

The Opposition instead tried to open old wounds and see if they still tingled, INCIS, prison escapes, vabinet's meeting times and general gummint gaffes were all explored.

Government members meanwhile practiced reciting records of achievement and how awful the members opposite would be in their seats.

The jousting before the House continues today at 9am with one hour of debate till completion of the estimates debate.

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