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Greens oppose abuse of process

20 September 2001

Greens oppose abuse of process

Green co-leader Rod Donald said the Greens did not support the Government introducing a bill under urgency today to reverse a Court of Appeal decision which ruled that the Commerce Commission had not applied the right takeover rules for a corporate merger.

"The process is appalling and the outcome could be disastrous for New Zealand's small business people who will be squeezed out by the new foreign owners of Progressive and Woolworths," he said.

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that a merger between supermarket chains Woolworths and Progressive Enterprises should have been subject to the new standards for business acquisitions which were made to the Commerce Act earlier this year instead of the more relaxed standards which were originally used to approve the merger.

Mr Donald said the Greens opposed rushing through an amendment to the Commerce Act given that there had not even been time for a Cabinet meeting to decide whether this was the right thing to do.

"This action the Government is taking is an abuse of the parliamentary process and there is no need for such haste. The Greens haven't had time to read, let alone consider, the 31 page Court ruling and we do not believe the Government has had anywhere near enough time either," he said.

Mr Donald said there were serious constitutional issues raised by the Government seeking to reverse the Court of Appeal decision.

"The Government is panicking over this ruling when there is no reason to do so.

"I am not surprised that the National Party have come to the Government's rescue in supporting this bill under urgency because the merger of these two supermarket chains actually creates one huge multi-national corporation - ripe for takeover by the Walmart's of this world," he said.

"The two old pro globalisation parties are about to make it easier for a big foreign corporation to undermine the kiwi success story of all those grocers and dairy owners who are part of the Foodstuffs co-operative.

"So much for National and Labour's claims that they support New Zealand's small businesses."

ENDS

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