The Government allowed its backbenchers bills to pass today and killed off opposition legislation.
First up was the third reading of the Military Manoeuvres Act Repeal Bill.
The non-controversial bill repeals unused legislation allowing defence forces to use land for military manoeuvres.
Opposition MPs said the bill was a waste of time intended to slow down progress on Members’ Day and should have been dealt with in an omnibus statutes amendment bill. However only New Zealand First voted against the bill and it passed by 111 to 8.
The Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill which will regulate third party businesses making large profits raising funds for charities passed its second reading on a voice vote.
Then National, ACT, United Future, Maori Party and New Zealand First combined to defeat the Sustainable Biofuel Bill in its second reading by 69 to 51.
The bill in the name of Green MP Kennedy Graham would have allowed allowed regulations to be made to prescribe sustainability standards for biofuels sold in New Zealand, both imported and produced domestically.
Graham said the bill was needed as the public needed to be assured that biofuels were sustainable in order to have confidence in the product.
National MPs said they would not be supporting the bill as it would not work, was not necessary and the country was on track to more sustainable energy use.
They also argued that the bill would increase the cost of biofuels and act as a barrier to increased use and new products
MPs began to debate the first reading of the Crown Minerals (Protection of Public Conservation Land Listed in the Fourth Schedule) Amendment Bill in the name of Green MP Metiria Turei.
This bill seeks to prevent land being removed from the list of areas protected from mining.
Green MP Eugenie Sage said everything possible had to be done to protect New Zealand’s wilderness areas from the National Party’s desire to encourage mining
She said the bill would require an Act of Parliament to remove land from fourth schedule which lists protected land instead of the current process of an Order in Council.
This would prevent the Government “sneaking’’ through changes.
National MP Nicky Wagner said the Government would oppose the bill.
National wanted to balance economic development with environmental protection and respected the public wish that conservation land should be protected and had increased the amount of land covered, she said.
The current process to remove land required changes to be the subject of public consultation and the decision was open to judicial review. The bill would remove that obstacle and a simple majority in the House could quickly remove land from the schedule.
The bill was defeated 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future opposing.
MPs began to debate the first reading of the Environment Canterbury (Democracy Restoration) Amendment Bill.
The bill’s promoter Ruth Dyson said the bill would ensure that elections were held for the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) within three months of it being passed.
The Government suspended the council two years ago and replaced it with commissioners saying it was not working well enough and cited concerns over delays and the lack of a water planning management.
Dyson said many councils made mistakes but it was wrong that a democratically elected body was removed from office.
National MP Nicky Wagner said National would not be supporting the bill.
The commissioners had done a good job sorting out the “serious failure and mismanagement’’ by the council.
The bill was defeated by 64 to 54 with National, Maori Party ACT and United Future opposing.
MPs began the first reading debate of the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill in the name of Te Ururoa Flavell which National indicated it would support to select committee
Debate was interupted when the House rose at 10pm.
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