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National rushes to yet another blunder

National rushes to yet another blunder

Acting Local Government Minister Judith Tizard today ridiculed suggestions by the National Party leader Bill English that local government legislation was being rushed.

Judith Tizard said the only thing being rushed is the failing National Party leader’s efforts to keep hold of his crumbling leadership.

“Mr English has, once again, not done his homework. The Local Government Bill, contrary to Bill English’s assertions, has been through an exhaustive process of public and Parliamentary consultation.

“If he had the faintest knowledge of what he was talking about, he would know that the government first released a discussion paper for public consultation on the Local Government Bill on June 14, 2001. Submissions were called for over an eleven week period during which 66 public meetings were held throughout the country. The bill then had its first reading in Parliament on December 18, 2001.

“When the bill is passed in a few weeks time, a year will have passed since its introduction, and eighteen months will have passed since the discussion paper was released.

“While the Local Government Bill has been sitting on Parliament’s order paper for nearly a year, Mr English conspicuously failed to raise it as an issue during the election campaign. If it is of such burning importance now, why did he ignore it then?

“It is sad to see the National party leader stooping to attack Maori in a desperate bid to drag himself off the canvas. Georgina Te Heuheu’s conspicuous lack of support in today’s New Zealand Herald for Mr English’s latest Maori bashing attack was telling.

“Equally telling is Mr English’s haste to push aside his main challenger, Gerry Brownlee, in climbing into this issue. Mr English is also, once again, attacking a traditional constituency of National’s, this time the local government sector, which has worked closely with this government on the legislation,” Judith Tizard said.

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