These are the bills passed by Parliament yesterday under urgency, before they adjourned.
- Imprest Supply (Third for 2019/20) Bill. This authorises further expenditure to 30 June 2020 of $52 billion to cover emergency spending. The largest blank cheque in our history Parliament has given the Government. $40 billion is for operational expenses, $10 billion for capital expenditure and $2 billion for capital injections
- COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill. Implements some minor tax changes announced last week, allows IRD to remit interest on tax owing after 14 February and to share information with other agencies for COVID-19 response purposes.
- COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill. Allows Secretary of Education to take over any school in relation to COVID-19 measures, allows local authorities to meet remotely, prevents tenants being evicted for six months in most cases and freezes rents for six months
All parties in Parliament supported these as emergency measures.
They also established an Epidemic Response Committee to scrutinise the Government’s response and use of powers in this time. The membership is: