INDEPENDENT NEWS

Re: Employment Relations Bill - Report Back

Published: Fri 28 Jul 2000 03:26 PM
28 July 2000
Graham Kelly MP
Chairman
Employment and Accident Insurance Select Committee
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON
Dear Mr Kelly,
Re: Employment Relations Bill - Report Back
This letter is to record that the Employment and Accident Insurance select committee unanimously agreed that the Employment Relations Bill be reported back by today; Friday 28 July.
The committee further agreed if the Bill could not be printed by 5pm today, that it should be printed over the weekend so it could be tabled first thing Monday, that is: 9am, Monday 31 July.
This is not privileged information as it was confirmed by the Government to opposition whips at the business committee this week.
Relying on this assurance, the ACT party has organised seminars on the Employment Relations Bill for Monday.
Over 3,000 people have registered for ACT’s Monday seminars on the Bill. This is indicative of the huge public demand for more information about the Bill.
I learned from the media that you have unilaterally decided not to report the Bill back until 12pm Tuesday 1 August.
This is an abuse of your position as Chairman.
The reasons you give are not valid.
When the Bill is tabled it can be posted on the Government’s webpage, it will therefore be available to the New Zealand public from one end of the country to the other. Indeed most people receive their information on Government Bills from the webpage, relatively few still go via a bookshop.
Hence, to delay publishing the Bill to help bookshop sales, is not an appropriate reason.
As you know Parliament resumes on Tuesday, making Monday the only day MPs have available to explain the Bill, the amendments, and their implications, to employers and employees.
I believe your real reason for delay is to make it difficult for opposition MPs to counter the Government’s spin and propaganda about the Bill.
Your actions in threatening MPs of breaching parliamentary privilege if they divulge information about the Bill prior to Tuesday, is itself an abuse of the parliamentary system.
This letter is to demand that you adhere to the democratic decision of the select committee and table the Bill today. I am also giving notice that I do not intend to allow you to continue censoring public debate.
If you persist with your actions you are just bringing Parliament into disrepute.
I would like conformation from you today that you are going to publish the Bill today, or Monday 9am at the latest, as agreed.
Yours sincerely
Hon Richard Prebble CBE
LEADER, ACT NEW ZEALAND

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