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Don't panic! Mad scramble to cover botch-up

Tony Ryall National Commerce Spokesperson

20 September 2001

Don't panic, don't panic! Mad scramble to cover botch-up

The Government was today in a mad scramble to fix its botch-up with the Commerce Amendment Act, a stark contrast to its 'don't panic, don't panic' message 24 hours earlier, National's Commerce spokesman Tony Ryall said today.

"The Labour-Alliance Government can't do business. It spent three months doing 'due ditherance' on Air NZ and in a panic to look decisive on this issue, have stuffed it up completely.

"Business want the Government to make decisions. But not five different decisions on the same issue in the space of 24 hours.

"There was no comment from the Government when the Court of Appeal judgement was first announced at 10am yesterday.

"At 3pm, when National asked an urgent question, Mr Swain said he would call for a report.

"At 7pm, Mr Swain's press statement said the Commerce Commission would seek clarification from the Court.

"At 10pm he said he would move an amendment to the Statutes Amendment Bill.

"At 9am this morning he changed completely. There would be a separate bill passed through all stages under extraordinary urgency.

"At 2pm today we discovered that a separate bill would be passed under urgency and sent to a select committee.

"Paul Swain used to be the Government's business pin-up boy. Now he is the laughing stock of the business community.

"The Government ignored submissions from companies and the advice of National that transitional provisions should be expressly included in the Commerce Amendment Act. If the Government had taken notice then, this issue would not be embarrassing it now," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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