A reasonable request

In Parliament yesterday:

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House): When the House resumes on Tuesday, 6 March the Government will progress a number of bills on the Order Paper, including the Committee stage of the Search and Surveillance Bill, …

Hon (Labour—Hutt South): I am sorry. I missed the very first part of the Minister’s comments. I am not going to ask him to read the whole thing again. The question I have got, though, is I am seeking an assurance that the Search and Surveillance Bill will not proceed to its Committee stage until we have had the Supplementary Order Paper for at least 48 hours. I think there is general agreement across the House that it would be good if we could have at least a bipartisan approach on this, rather than have legislation that only just goes through and because I know that there is still a bit of a gap between the major parties I would just like an assurance that we will have at least 48 hours to look at that before it does come back in.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House): One of the new requirements under the Standing Orders that apply to this Parliament beyond is that the Government does indicate bills that possibly could come up for Committee stage ahead of time. I am sure that any undertakings that have been made, any understandings that relate to any of these bills, will be honoured.

It is good the Government has indicated the committee stage is next week for the Search and Surveillance Bill. However Mallard’s request for any in advance is a reasonable one – not just for Labour, but for the public also. The bill deals with fundamental issues of powers of the state and civil liberties. Any amendments which are non-trivial should be tabled as soon as possible to allow for consideration and feedback.

At this stage, none are listed on the legislation website. Hopefully they will be there by or at least on Monday.

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