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Government SOP will strengthen Inquiries Bill

Hon Chris Tremain

Minister of Internal Affairs


19 August 2013 Media Statement
Government SOP will strengthen Inquiries Bill

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain has confirmed that the Inquiries Bill will be changed to incorporate lessons learned from the Pike River and Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commissions of Inquiry.


“The Inquiries Bill was put on hold in 2010 while these two inquiries were underway. This allowed for a review of the Bill once the Royal Commissions were completed, says Mr Tremain.


“During this process the Department of Internal Affairs identified a number of changes that could be made to improve the Bill. These changes incorporate feedback from key participants in the recent inquiries.”


The changes will be made by Supplementary Order Paper, and include:


• Providing more flexibility and planning time during the establishment phase of an inquiry, in order to confirm the terms of reference, a reporting date, and likely costs;

• Clarifying the process for appointing counsel;

• Enabling more flexibility around the application of principles of natural justice;

• Ensuring that inquiries are able to obtain information that contains expert opinion as well as fact;

• Ensuring that an inquiry has the discretion to recompense participants for their expenses, without the cost of issuing a formal summons to those participants.

“The Supplementary Order Paper will also ensure that more than one appointing Minister can be responsible for a government inquiry, “says Mr Tremain.

“This Supplementary Order Paper has been in development prior to the whey protein concentrate contamination incident. It makes a number of sensible changes which will lead to clearer and more workable legislation.”


ENDS


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